Monthly Archives November 2014

OUTBACK SOUTH AUSTRALIA ★&#9733

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South Australia is the driest state in Australia. This becomes quite apparent once you ^ leave behind the parklands of Adelaide and head into the interior. The Outback is as

< harsh as it is beautiful. Much of it consists of stony desert, salt pans, and sand hills,

h roamed by kangaroos, emus, dingoes, and wild goats. After spring rains, though, the area

^ can burst alive with wildflowers.

<

x It was always difficult to travel through these parts, and even today only four main э routes traverse it. One of them, the Birdsville Track, is famed in Outback history as the

2 trail along which stockmen once drove their herds of cattle south from Queensland.

Another, the Strzelecki Track, runs through remote sand-dune country to Innaminka 2 and on to Coopers Creek...

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Swimming with Sea Creatures

The Eyre Peninsula offers plenty of ways to get up close and personal to the wildlife, but nothing beats swimming with wild sea lions ★★★. The puppy dogs of the sea, these endangered marine mammals are insatiably curious, and love to play. The sea lions are never fed, and all interaction is initiated by the animals. They come to you. But the more you interact with them, the more they like it—after all, no one likes a boring playmate who just stares! The more you splash and duck dive, the more they respond, often mimicking your actions, circling when you do, diving and surfacing with you. Believe me, making eye contact with a wild animal in its own habitat, on its own terms, is an experience you’ll not soon forget.

Ocean Eco Tours, between Streaky Bay and Port Lincoln (& 08/8626 5017; www...

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THE EYRE PENINSULA ★&#9733

Wild, beautiful, uncrowded, and undeveloped, the Eyre Peninsula—the triangle of land jutting into the sea between Adelaide and the Great Australian Bight—seems to be the place that tourism has overlooked, at least for now. But with one of the country’s most dramatic coastlines, fantastic wildlife-watching opportunities and incredibly good sea­food, it won’t stay forgotten for long. In fact, it seems set to become the new holiday hot spot, thanks to several new hotel developments. Not the place to go if you like to cram your days full of museums and attractions, the Eyre Peninsula is all about taking it slowly, getting out into the countryside, meeting the wildlife (swimming with sea lions is a must- do activity while you’re here; see p...

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Culling Koalas—A National Dilemma

Koalas are cute. They also eat an awful lot. In the early 1920s, 18 koalas were introduced to Kangaroo Island. Over the years, without predators and disease, and with an abundant supply of eucalyptus trees, they have prospered. By 2001, there were an estimated 27,000 koalas, and their favorite trees were look­ing ragged. Some of the koalas were already suffering; some people even claimed the animals were starving to death.

The state government decided that the only option was to shoot Australia’s ambassador to the world. The public outcry was enormous; Japan even threatened to advise its citizens to boycott Australia. But what could be done? Some scientists maintained that the koalas could not be relocated to the mainland because there were few places left to put them...

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EXPLORING THE ISLAND

At seven times the size of Singapore, Kangaroo Island is bigger than you might think, and you can spend a fair bit of time getting from one place of interest to the next. Of the many places to see on the island, Flinders Chase National Park ІТІгк is one of the most important. Your first stop should be the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre, where you can purchase park entry, view the interpretive display, dine at the licensed cafe, buy souvenirs, and obtain parks information. After 30 years of lobbying, reluctant politicians finally agreed to preserve this region of the island in 1919. Today it makes up around 17% of the island and is home to true wilderness, some beautiful coastal scenery, two old lighthouses, and plenty of animals. Birders have recorded at least 243 species here...

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KANGAROO ISLAND ★★&#9733

110km (68 miles) S of Adelaide

Kangaroo Island is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. While lots of people overseas sing its praises—it was ranked the Best Island in the Asia Pacific region in the U. S. magazine National Geographic Traveler in late 2007 and was also voted Best Australian Experience by 8,500 North American travel agents at the industry’s 2007 Opal Awards—it’s a place that seems to have slipped under the radar of many Australians. (When they consider an island holiday, they tend to automatically think tropical sun, sand, and sea and head to the Northern Queensland islands.) Which is a shame, because KI, as the locals call their island home, is the best place Down Under to see Australian marsupials in the wild.

Close to half of the island is either natural bushland or n...

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PENINSULA HIGHLIGHTS

The Cockle Train ^Ids Take a ride along the oldest public railway line in Australia between the towns of Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, and Goolwa aboard the historic, iconic Cockle Train. Built in 1887 to ferry goods from the last navigable port on the Murray River (Goolwa) to the seaports of Port Elliot and Victor Harbor, the 30-minute steam – train trip quickly became a popular trip for tourists as well, earning its rather quaint name from the large cockles that the sandy surf beaches of Goolwa are famous for. The train only runs on Wednesdays and Sundays (daily during school holidays), so a good alternative if you’ve got bicycles with you is the 30km (19-mile) Encounter Bikeway, a dedicated bike path between the Bluff and Signal Point at Goolwa Wharf...

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THE FLEURIEU PENINSULA ★★&#9733

Practically on the outskirts of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is one of South Australia’s most popular holiday destinations, famous for its wine, gourmet produce, breathtakingly scenic coastline, and wildlife—expect to see plenty of kangaroos, sea lions, seals, dol­phins, whales (whale-watching season is June—Oct), and Little Penguins, the world’s smallest penguin species.





The heart of the wine-growing area is McLaren Vale, where olives and almond groves

are scattered amongst the 50-plus vineyards, although you’ll also find some very good wineries in and around Currency Creek and Langhorne Creek on the southeastern side of the peninsula...

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Tips The Riesling Trail

An hour’s drive to the north of Angaston is the Clare Valley, another of Austra­lia’s great wine–producing areas. But whereas the Barossa is famous for its reds, the Clare is best known for its whites, in particular, Riesling. The best way to explore the area is along the Riesling Trail, a 27km (16.5-mile) walking and cycling track that follows a unused railway line between Clare and Auburn that passes several cellar doors and historic attractions. There are three loop trails along the way for those that want to park and ride. Parking is available at Clare, Sevenhill, Watervale, and Auburn. Bike hire is available from Clare Valley Cycle Hire (& 08/8842 2782) and costs A$17 for 4 hours and A$25 for all day (9am – 5pm); baby seats are available for A$6...

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THE BAROSSA ★&#9733

More than a quarter of Australia’s wines, and a disproportionate number of top labels, originate in the Barossa and Eden valleys—collectively known as the Barossa, 70km (43 miles) northeast of Adelaide. While its reputation in the wine world may be larger than life, in the real world the Barossa Valley is a snug collection of country towns surrounded



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Wasleys



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Marananga



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Seppeltsfield



Angaston



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Tanunda,



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Mengler Hill Lookout



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Orlando and Jacobs Creek Visitor Centre



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