Kangaroo Island, Australia
In July, 2007 we made an extended trip Down Under. The impetus for making the trip was to attend the Festschrift of my good friend and colleague Dexter Irvine who was a long-time professor at Monash University in Melbourne. We first flew to Melbourne and took a bus to Lorne, a small resort town where the Festschrift was scheduled. After the conclusion of the three-day affair, we took the bus to Adelaide where we rented a campervan and explored Kangaroo Island for 4-5 days. This blog is primarily about the sights on Kangaroo Island. Afterward, we flew to Perth for an overnight stay and then a flight to Broome in the Kimberley region of the Northwest Territories of Australia. From Broome we joined a safari tour of the Gibb River Road which is detailed in the ‘Kimberley, Australia’ blog.
Dexter’s Festschrift was a joyful and joyous affair, notable for the number of participants who had traveled long distances to attend. Primarily this showed how much the auditory neuroscience community world-wide respected and loved Dexter. Of course I’m sure there were also many like us who took the opportunity as an excuse to visit Down Under to see the wonderful native flora and fauna. This was actually the fourth trip for us to go to Australia, which included a year-long sabbatical in Brisbane, so we had seen most of the famous sites This time we wanted to see some places that even the natives rarely saw: Kangaroo Island and the Kimberleys.
The Festschrift itself was held at the pleasant resort town of Lorne which is at the beginning of the famous Great Ocean Road where the 12 Apostles are found. As part of the gala affair, the group had a trip to see some waterfalls in an Australian rainforest. At that time the country was in the midst of a long drought so waterfalls were not as impressive as usual but the rainforest seemed unscathed.
At the conclusion of the Festschrift we boarded a bus that took us down the scenic Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. There we rented a camper van to allow us to explore the nearby Kangaroo Island without having to worry about accommodations. This worked out well except that along a narrow road the top of the camper van hit an overhanging branch which was more substantial than I had estimated. The resulting dent in the top of the camper van resulted in a substantial surcharge when we returned it. Otherwise the trip went well.
The reason for going to Kangaroo Island is the chance to see many of the native fauna up close. It is a small island but being isolated from the mainland has promoted the development and sustenance of many rare native animals. The government has also worked to make the island a sanctuary for wildlife as 1/3 of the land is protected in nature preserves. We took the ferry to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island and drove around the island in a clockwise direction.
Kangaroos and wallabies
As one would suspect, the island has an abundance of kangaroos and wallabies. They are wild but can be found grazing pretty much anywhere. Judging from the size of the animals we saw, I would guess that they are mostly wallabies, but I can’t tell the difference.