ENROUTE KANGAROO ISLAND SA

Bleary eyed, the morning after Margie and Ben’s beautiful wedding celebration, we headed to a post wedding breakfast of egg and bacon rolls, hair of the dog champagne and orange which greatly satisfied our hangovers.

Margie and Ben's wedding celebration

Margie and Ben’s wedding celebration

We said our goodbyes, and got on the road, meeting Mike and Kathy (Dan’s parents) to begin our adventure down South to make it down to Kangaroo Island for Christmas.

We came upon a very cute road side store picking up some onions and garlic and putting our coins in the honesty box.

onion and garlic road side store

onion and garlic road side store

Our first stop was at our favourite camping spot in the world- Mimosa Rocks National Park. This divine spot on the New South Wales coast is between Bermagui and Tathra and is where our dream and inspiration began of driving around Australia. The spot is on a headland amongst banksia scrub nestled beside two beaches with a pristine estuary behind.

The happy campers

The happy campers

our camping setup

our camping seaside shanty setup

We shared the site with a few campers, a flock of glossy black cockatoos feeding on seeds of the casuarinas and sweet doe-eyed swamp wallabies feeding on the native grasses at dawn and dusk.

It was lovely to catch up with Em, Rob, Jarvis and Francesca who used to live next to us in Castlecrag and have now moved down to an idyllic property at Bermagui with a beautiful citrus orchard, lots of chooks which provide the local cafes with fresh eggs and some sheep.

our visitors- Em, Rob, Jarvis and Francesca

our visitors- Em, Rob, Jarvis and Francesca

The area is very famous for delicious creamy Sydney rock oysters which we swear are the best of the best. The oyster leases at Wapengo are the first certified organic oyster farm due to sustainable farming methods.

http://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/1588111/wapengo-producers-pearl-in-the-crown/

Lake Wapengo the home of the beautiful oysters

Lake Wapengo the home of the beautiful oysters

few oysters we collected

a few delicious oysters we collected

We had a terrific few days at Mimosa Rocks NP- Mike, Dan and I went snorkeling for abalone amongst the leathery bull kelp while Kathy kept watch to see if there were any unusual dark shadows. We sipped on G&Ts, and sparkling white to accompany our succulent oysters and cooked up fish in the camp fire and abalone in a pan which we sliced up and snacked on.

Dan got some abs

Dan got some abs

oysters and sparkling!

oysters and sparkling!

cooking fish in the camp fire

cooking fish in the camp fire

HOW WE COOK ABALONE

Not for the faint hearted, but easy, delicious and no tenderising needed, this is how Tetsuya told us how to cook them

1. Place the abalone straight from the sea in a pan shell side up with a little oil

2. Cook for 10mins

3. Take out of pan and run knife around the flesh and the flesh should pop out easily, then clean away from the guts

4. Finely slice abalone and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime

5. EAT just as is or can be place over buckwheat soba noodles dressed with soy, ginger and lime

abalone sizzling away

abalone sizzling away in the pan

If you are ever passing through Eden (near the boarder of NSW and VIC) remember to stop at the wharf and to buy fresh mussels from the boat- they are as fresh as you can get and are A M A Z I N G!

We hugged the coastline and entered Victoria making our way down to Wilsons Prom the most Southern most point on mainland Australia. The afternoon we arrived was warm and steamy and we dove in to the cool water of Bass Strait with no hesitation. The winding road gave spectacular vistas of the wonderfully grand landscape. Huge granite mountains surrounded the beaches, orange lichen grew on the granite boulders creating beautiful colour contrast with the aqua coloured water and the squeaky white sand at aptly named ‘Squeaky beach’. Delicate fairy wrens hopped around the campsite and wombats wombled around at dusk; one almost crawled into bed with Kathy for a goodnight cuddle.

Wilsons Prom winding road

Wilsons Prom winding road

view of southern ocean

view of southern ocean

Squeeky beach

Squeeky beach

Squeeky beach with its beautiful boulders

Squeeky beach with its beautiful boulders

We came upon a sweet little town near Wilsons Prom called Fish creek. We stopped in for a fantastic coffee at a lovely store called 9acres which is a coffe bar, bookshop and foodstore. Check them out: www.9acres.com.au They had enormous free range eggs, bulk whole foods and delicious biodynamic rainfed rice grown in NSW. In the community hall nextdoor locals were setting up for their Christmas concert and Dan gave them a helping hand moving stage chairs. The old ducks were most happy!

Fish Creek

Fish Creek

9 Acres

9 Acres

The thought of driving through Melbourne with pre-Christmas traffic was not very appealing so we drove to the Mornington Peninsula driving straight onto a car ferry to start our journey along the Great Ocean Road. We drove through Barwon Heads where our much loved ABC show ‘Seachange’ was set. As we sang the Seachange theme song we continued to Anglesea to bunk for the night. Dinner at a boring looking local Italian restaurant, ‘Locanda del Mare’ over shot expectations being truly delicious. Never judge a restaurant by its facade! The rest of the Great Ocean Road was driven in the freezing cold rain, pulling over, and getting out of the car for a short time with the rain falling from the ominous black clouds with the wild sea thrashing before us. We picked up some fresh berries from local markets which kept our taste buds happy and spirits high in the horrible weather before our last stop along the Great Ocean Road- Port Fairy.

fresh berries bought at the markets

fresh berries bought at the markets

stormy 12 Apostles (well I didn't count 12?)

stormy 12 Apostles (well I didn’t count 12?)

Port Fairy is like a little time vortex- lines of charming stone cottages, a fabulous antique shop and the oldest licensed inn in Victoria. We escaped the cold weather and had a lovely evening meal at Merrijig Inn who change their menu daily taking inspiration from the seasons and use locally sourced produce, some from their own garden out the back- What a special treat! www.merrijiginn.com

Merrijig inn

Merrijig inn

Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 7.34.19 PM

The Sky started to lighten up as we crossed the border of South Australia and entered the lobstery grounds of Beachport , Robe and Kingstone SE where lobsters are plentiful. Of course they have ‘The Big Lobster’ where you buy fresh lobster sandwiches at the service station.

Lobster holding tank Beach Port

Lobster holding tank Beach Port

'The Big Lobster' Kingston SE

‘The Big Lobster’ Kingston SE

The landscape felt and looked a lot dryer in South Australia especially as we drove along the Coorong (where the Murray River mouth is located), the huge chain of salty lagoons were hot and desolate in areas. Sand dune vegetation backs on to vibrant salt marsh vegetation and the intense smell of decomposing seaweed filled the air and stuck to the back of our sinuses. Then there was the memory of watching the film Storm Boy (set in the Coorong) which brought back memories of Mr Percival and the lonely life living in the remote and harsh environment.

Coorong

Coorong

Coorong dunes

Coorong dunes

Salt flats in the Coorong

Salt flats in the Coorong

windmills in the Coorong

windmills in the Coorong

colours on the salt marshes

colours on the salt marshes

Salt marsh- sundew species?

Salt marsh- sundew species- does anyone know what this is?

Then BANG WOBBLE WOBBLE!! What was that? SHIT! We blew a tyre outside of Port Elliot. The tyre was changed quick enough and then we were enroute to Cape Jervis to get on the Ferry to Kangaroo Island.

Tyre blow out!

Tyre blow out!

We embarked the car ferry as the sun was rising and watched a southern right whale wave good morning to us with his flipper while a mother and baby dolphin played in the bow wave of the ferry. It was Christmas Eve, we headed down to the Kingscote wharf where Dan caught scallops for the festive lunch the next day. My parent’s arrived (Janice and Bruce) and Dan’s brother Josh arrived from Sydney and for a few days over Christmas we stayed at a house at Island Beach- which was luxury.

Scallop gathering

Scallop gathering

While we were staying at Island Beach we explored the surrounding area fishing at dusk at American River and checking out the local wineries. My faviourite winery was Chapman River Wines run by the vibrant owners Diana and Bruce who converted an old aircraft hanger into a eclectic bohemian paradise. Their savoury platters with local cheeses, produce and smoked lamb were out of this world, especially with a glass of their ‘happiness’ wine.

Chapman River Wines cellar door

Chapman River Wines cellar door

Delicious platter at Chapman River Wines

Delicious platter at Chapman River Wines

After Island Beach we headed to the Hanson Bay cabins, which had the most amazing position on the headland overlooking Hanson Bay. When we arrived the weather was wild and The Southern Ocean was heaving. When the weather settled down Hanson Bay was the most spectacular clear and aqua bay where we swam and snorkeled. We walked along the headland amongst the low lying cushion bushes and then looked down into the clear water from the cliff’s edge watching the waves pushing the seaweed back and forth on the rock platforms.

Hanson Bay headland plants

Hanson Bay headland plants

Cliff line walk- Hanson Bay

Cliff line walk- Hanson Bay

Hanson Bay- SPECTACULAR

Hanson Bay- SPECTACULAR

The limestone rock caves and geology of the island was very intriguing and we visited the Kelly Hill Caves admiring the array of stalactites, stalagmites. The caves were discovered in the 1880s when a horse named Kelly fell into them through a hole, which is a funny story.

Kelly Hill Caves

Kelly Hill Caves

A local gave us some tips on maroning in the creeks and we were overly successful catching an abundance of maron in the pots using dog biscuits in a stocking as bait. Maron are a pest species on the island so you have to keep them if you catch them as they have escaped from the local maron farm. With our freshly caught maron we created delicious meals. A maron pasta for New Years Eve with gathered wild rocket and split and barbequed maron another evening.

Maron catching

Maron catching

Maron on the table

Maron on the table

Maron pasta with wild rocket

Maron pasta with wild rocket

At dusk the sunsets were spectaclar, pinks, purples and oranges filled the sky as we watched Tamar (small wallabies only on Kangaroo Island) hop around and feed on the pig face. When Dan and Josh were going to check the maron pots one evening they saw a koala running up the embankment of the road and then into a tree and became very aggressive as they approached the grumpy character and growled at them.

Sunset at Hanson Bay

Sunset at Hanson Bay

Tamar watching at dusk

Tamar watching at dusk

Tamar

Tamar

Grumpy koala

Grumpy koala

We explored the Flinders Chase National Park where we saw remarkable rocks which reminded me a little bit of Wilsons prom with sculptural granite boulders covered in orange lichen creating elegant forms. We then headed along the boardwalk amongst the pig face to Admirals Arch to watch the seals playing and rolling around in the rock pools. The views, beauty, nature and environment around us was dreamy. What a special place you are Kangaroo Island.

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Seals rolling and lolling

Seals rolling and lolling

Admirals Arch

Admirals Arch

That is all for now. We will keep updating you where we are and what we have been up to! Keep following us at huntergathererdiaries.com!

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