Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Little Adventure #19: January 2024 – Kangaroo Island. (Episode 5.)

Ok, we’re back on my Little Adventure to Kangaroo Island.

For those who may be new here and are wondering my I’ve used capital letters for ‘Little Adventure’… I decided that after I retired I was going to go somewhere new or do something new every month. When I go on big trips like Antarctica, North Korea or England, then obviously it’s a bigger adventure and they don’t count. But 4 nights in Kangaroo Island?

Little Adventure.

So where was I?

Oh yeah! I jumped in the car, rattled my way along over 20 km of dirt roads and got back on the main road to Penneshaw, which is where the ferry comes in. My goal was to see the sculpture walk, whatever that is.

I forgot to post this photo yesterday. It was on the toilet doors at the Honey Farm. Not exactly the sort of thing that makes you feel warm and fuzzy – tiger snakes are one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

I vowed to walk loudly along the trail in case any of them were hanging around.

As you can see, it’s set out in loops, with a ravine running right through the centre. I picked the left-hand path and set off.

The paths were lined with white rocks that made it easy to see which way you were meant to be going. The sculptures were arranged alongside the paths.

The sculptures range between your traditional types and haikus like this one. Some are made by professional artists and others are by the Kangaroo Island community.

Here’s one where passers-by are encouraged to add something to the nest.

There was no one else around, though I could hear a saw working somewhere in the middle of the area. Other than that, all I could hear were birdsounds.

My footsteps crunched on the path as I walked, casting my eyes around for the next sculpture or poem.

There was a section along the top of the sculpture walk called ‘The Orchid Garden.’ This is only part of it. One of the founding families on the island donated the money for it.

This was my favourite sculpture. It’s a Boobook owl made from forks and spoons. I didn’t take a great photo of it, so I’ve changed it to black and white so you can get a better idea of what it looked like.

He was just up in a tree by the path. If you were looking the wrong way you’d miss him.

I was walking around and I could hear somebody working. As I came around the corner there was a guy there putting together what was obviously going to be the base for another sculpture, so I stopped and talked with him.

And it turns out that the town has clubbed together to raise $35,000 for a 5-metre-tall sculpture representing the island’s pioneering women, the strong women of Kangaroo Island. It’s going to have big skirts that as the wind blows, they will move. It sounds amazing.

They put all this together in grief because one of the women who organised the sculpture park had died in a car smash a couple of years ago. This woman was his wife.

She was instrumental in setting up this whole park.

“I don’t know how many ute-loads of rocks she dragged up here to line the paths,” he said.

This made me blink. I’d never thought of how the rocks would come to be here… I’d just walked along the paths, oblivious. It’s a shame I was too early to see her memorial sculpture. It sounds amazing.

After a while, I asked if there was anything else that I MUST do while I was here.

He told me about a beach at the top of the island called Stokes Bay. I’ve seen it on the maps, but I wasn’t going to go because… well… a beach is a beach is a beach, yes?

“It’s always on the top list of best beaches in Australia,” he said, “and a lot of people drive there. They see a little beach and go, “Ok that’s it,” and then they drive away, but they’re missing out on the actual beach. You’ve gotta go through a tunnel of rocks,” he went on, ” and then you see the beach.”

A beach that you have to go through a tunnel to reach? That sounds intriguing. I thought I might do that tomorrow. Anyway let’s see if I do or not, but it sounded interesting.

This is the first suspension bridge to be built in South Australia for over 100 years. It goes over the ravine that slices the sculpture walk in two. I tell you what – they’ve done a good job with this bridge. It’s sturdy as.

This is the view I could see on the other side of the bridge. Kangaroo Island is a pretty place. But then I had a bit of a thrill…

I was walking quietly along a track, completely forgetting about tiger snakes, when suddenly there was a noise to my right. I turned to see a wallaby crashing through a little tunnel under some shrubs.

Yay! I saw a live kangaroo (or wallaby) on Kangaroo Island.

The same thing happened to me when I went to the Aussie Botanical Gardens at Cranbourne on another Little Adventure. It’s crazy that we can be so close to wild animals and we’d never know it if they didn’t move.

The Sculpture Walk is only 6 years old, so over time it’ll fill up with more artwork. It was a lovely way to kill some time without having to pay for a tour.

Then I decided to take a look at the town. I found a lovely shop where I bought some linen clothing and a wind chime. It sounded beautiful, but when I got home and unpacked it I realised that it was big. Too big to hang from one of the fruit trees. It’s now waiting for Tom32 to come over and drill a screw into the front verandah so I can hang it. I may have been carried away when I bought it…

Anyway, that was all well and good. I had a lovely time buying the clothes and had a great chat with the woman who runs the shop.

After this, I decided to set out to see the other lighthouse on the island, because why not?

I drove for miles, again on unmade roads. After a while I felt like I should turn back, but I then thought, ‘You’ve come this far, Frogdancer! You might as well see it through to the end!’

I finally reached the car park. The lighthouse was poking out from the top of some buildings. I felt a bit thirsty, so I reached over to grab my faithful Antarctica Pee Bottle. The one I had to buy in case I needed to pee when I was out on the ice. I never used it as a receptacle for urine, so when I got home it became my water bottle.

I’ve taken the Antarctica Pee Bottle every day to work, to England, to Ireland. I left it in a shop in England and the woman came running to hand it to me just as I realised I didn’t have it. I left it hanging from a toilet door at Tullamarine airport, was nearly out of the terminal before I noticed I didn’t have it and I retraced my steps for nearly 20 minutes to retrieve it.

That Antarctica Pee Bottle and I have been through a lot together. How could I have been so stupid as to leave it in the shop???

Here it is in happier times, when Jenna’s parents and I were having lunch a few days before in Adelaide.

I grabbed my phone to look for the number of the shop. I tried to call, but there was no reception for calls in this isolated spot. I walked up to the buildings in front of the lighthouse, hoping that there might be a landline or something. It was getting close to 4 PM, when I assumed she’d be shutting up shop for the day.

The very bored man behind the counter said, “You’ve missed the last tour. Feel free to look around at the exhibits, but if you go out the back door there’s a $5.50 charge.”

“What’s out the back door?” I asked.

“You can walk around the base of the lighthouse,” he said.

Well, you and I both know that I wasn’t going to waste that money. I walked around the base of the other lighthouse in the national park only the day before!

I looked at the (dull) photos and decided that my time would be better spent racing back to see if the shop was open. I needed to be reunited with that Pee Bottle. It has so much history attached to it.

I drove. And drove. That road seemed never-ending.

When I got back the shop was shut. Of course it was. I peered through the window at the little table in front of the cash register where I knew I’d left my precious. There was nothing there.

There was a phone call and an email on the front window. I called and left a voice message, then left an email as well. I was really annoyed at myself. I wanted to look at an entirely different part of the island on Wednesday, and instead, I’d have to backtrack to come and get my Antarctica Pee Bottle. Assuming the shop owner hadn’t piffed it in the bin.

I was leaving on Thursday morning…

Then, just as I was trying to find something to write on so I could shove my phone number under the door, a car pulled up next to mine. In it was a Great Dane, a chihuahua and the woman from the shop.

omg.

She got out of the car with a dozen eggs in her hand, saying, “Well, its lucky I needed to buy eggs for the dop!”

Ten seconds later my beloved and I were reunited.

Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again!

Before I finish this post, I thought I’d talk about how I’ve been keeping my food and laundry costs down on this holiday. As a Valuist – a person who ruthlessly cuts down on expenses that aren’t important to me in order to be extravagant with the things I truly value – food and laundry is waaaay down the list of things I want to spend money on when I’m on holiday.

Usually, when I travel in Australia I use my holiday club, where every place has a kitchenette at the bare minimum. I’m used to taking a box of groceries with me to save on having to buy expensive meals. With a stovetop and microwave, it’s easy to whip up food when I’m back in the room.

Clearly, I’m not a foodie. I don’t travel specifically to try exotic food… I’m more into the sights and the wildlife a place has to offer. Obviously, you don’t come to a place like Kangaroo Island without trying the seafood, but basically… all I care about is keeping my stomach full without going overboard on price.

I figure that if I buy myself a nice lunch, then who really cares what I eat for the other two meals?

This room I was staying in, even though I used timeshare points, is not part of the timeshare properties. All I had to work with was a mini fridge, 2 teaspoons, 2 cups and a kettle.

I decided I’d have Vita-Weets and vegemite for breakfast, without buying butter. I didn’t want to have to buy 25g of butter to use for 4 breakfasts and then have to throw it away because it wouldn’t keep in the car on the long drive back.

One thing I forgot to think about was cutlery. I didn’t have a knife to spread the vegemite on the crackers. A little quick thinking and the spoon handle became my ‘knife.’

I did bring a plate (because I left for this holiday so early in the morning I ate breakfast as I was driving) and a big coffee mug that fits my Aeropress. A proper coffee first thing in the morning is a must. I brought my Aeropress with me and my morning brew was assured. All in all – the breakfast of champions.

Though I prefer to have butter with my crackers and Vegemite. Still, I can live without it for 4 days.

But what about dinner?

Sandyg from Simple Savings came up with the answer. She and her husband take a jaffle maker with them when they go on holidays. If you’ve had a lovely lunch, you don’t need something spectacular for dinner. A jaffle fills you up, can be cooked in a motel room and is yum.

What’s not to love? All I had to buy was a loaf of bread and a couple of tins to fill the jaffles with. And the amazing thing? I had a brand-new jaffle maker stored in the top shelf of my kitchen.

I was set!

And it worked like a charm. I used to like egg and cheese jaffles, but I couldn’t risk the eggs overflowing and causing a mess. I bought a tin of baked beans and a tin of braised steak and onion (as an experiment. Never had it before.)

The baked beans lasted me three nights. I actually enjoyed eating the jaffles at night while I was watching Australian Survivor. Felt like I was roughing it with the cast.

On the fourth night I used the braised steak and onions. This was NOT a pleasurable experience. Most of them got flushed down the loo. Definitely can not recommend.

One brilliant thing about my room was that I could open a window to let the sea breeze in. I brought three wire coat hangers with me and I was able to manoeuvre them to hang over the curtain rod. I’m so pleased I thought of this, as most places have the type of clothes hangers that can’t be removed from the wardrobe.

Pictured here are my blue linen trousers drying in the breeze. I washed shirts and underwear too, just making sure that I only hung things in the window when the pool area was empty at the end of the day.

Things to include next time I’m staying in a non-holiday club place:

  1. Some basic cutlery and a couple of plates.
  2. Some pegs to make sure things are held securely on the clothes hangers. I was worried things might fall off the hangers and out the window.
  3. An appetising filler for jaffles that isn’t just baked beans. I may not be a foodie but it’s still nice to mix meals up a bit!
  4. My portable battery for my phone. I always forget one thing when I pack, it seems, and this trip was spent keeping an eye on my phone battery.

I have one more day on Kangaroo Island… this holiday is going so fast!

Dad joke of the day:

2 Comments

  1. sandyg61

    I’m enjoying you trip and taking note of places to visit as we will be heading that way in March next year after we follow the Murray River from the high country to the ocean. Glad you liked the jaffle maker. 🙂

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