SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA - On the Road From Melbourne to Kangaroo Island
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria State, has a lot to offer both architecturally, with its historic buildings in the Old Town, both from a recreational point of view, with beautiful parks near the sea and wide beaches.
Start your city wanderings at Federation Square, home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores; have a look of the Flanders Street Station; then cross the Yarra to check out the futuristic shapes of the Arts Centre's beacon-like spire and Eureka Tower with its highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. North of the city center, the majestic Royal Exhibition Building is surrounded by Carlton Gardens. The building is one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions and was originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1880. The enliven Victoria Market is a treat for every palate, inside you can find many delicacies, most of which are typical of the Italian cuisine. This community, in fact, is very large and its culinary traditions are well rooted. In the afternoon you can relax with a walk in the Marina of St. Kilda or stop to dine in one of the renowned fish restaurants in the area.
The ride to Kangaroo Island is long but punctuated by amazing sceneries and picturesque villages where you can stop for a break. After a few hours of driving, for example, you should make a stop at Kennet River, where, with a short walk, you can see some koala families between trees or feed some curious and colorful parrots. The Great Ocean Drive can be completely reached in a day from Melbourne and offers unforgettable views at every curves untill to Port Cambell, the sound of waves breaking along the coast will take you along the way, within numerous seagulls flying over your heads.
The famous Twelve Apostles and London Bridge, await you. These rock towers, 45 meters high, were formed between 10 and 20 million years ago. Erosion has separated them from the coast and the wind and the natural elements are mutating continuously its shapes, so do not be surprised if you will count only eight rocks, because unfortunately others have already dropped, but in any case the view is wonderful. After resting in one of the many hotels along the way, we recommend you to take a look at the Blue lake in the Mount Gambier, then you can continue for the Coorong National Park, a large marshy stretch of coastline managed by Aborigines and home to many migratory birds. Crossing the Murray River with the car, on a barge that runs every ten minutes, you will save valuable time for Cape Jervis where you'll embark with the last ferry to Kangaroo Island, in the late afternoon.
Once in Penneshaw, you'll immediately land in an Australia in miniature, where they concentrate all the wonders of this great Continent: from the many Kangaroos in freedom which cross the road to the indescribably beautiful Natural Parks or its stunning beaches. We booked a beautiful house in Emu Bay, but there are fantastic houses and hotels in all the island's coves. The ideal is to find one accomodotation near Kingstone, because it is one of the few towns to offer also nice restaurants, a supermarket and some leisure for the evening.
The activities that you can do on the island are many, from simple observation of the varied local wildlife, composed not only by the Kangaroos, but even from Possums, koalas, wallabys, Platypuses, Echidnas, pelicans, seals and sea lions; up to strenuous treks in the middle of the island; by the visit of Marrons Factory (giant freshwater crayfish), with a glimpse into Marons Cafe, up to glide with your Sandboard in the high sand dunes of Little Sahara. There's something for all tastes and all ages!
The beaches are fantastic, our favorite is Stokes Bay: clear water and sand that looks like talcum powder. Just ask the locals because the beach is hidden behind the promontory and to reach it you have to pass through a narrow opening in the rocks. A must-do is a trip to the Flinders Chase N.P. to admire the charming Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks, although it is on the opposite side of the island, that is 95 km from Kingstone, you will not be disappointed.
You could also combine this adventure with a walk along the Snake Lagoon Track to reach a part of the park where you will be, most likely, completely alone. Once back on the Continent, a hundred kilometers divide you from Adelaide, where you can fly up to your next destination or rent a 4x4 jeep to continue your journey on the road: the Red Centre and the Australian Outback await you!
Written by Sarah Falchi - Photos by Paolo Castellari
WHERE TO STAY – SOME ADVICES AND USEFUL LINKS:
Melbourne: Apartment Ink St Kilda
Kangaroo Island: Emu Bay House
Ferry to Kangaroo island: Sealink
For more infos about our Australian trip visit our blog: http://paolocastellari.com/icastell