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Kangaroo Island, Australia

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.

Festschrift

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.

It was an impressive array of participants and their spouses, most of whom had flown from the USA or Europe to attend.

It was an impressive array of participants and their spouses, most of whom had flown from the USA or Europe to attend.

Scenic view on the Great Ocean Road to Lorne

Scenic view on the Great Ocean Road to Lorne

Dexter and Rob Shepherd at Sheoak Falls

Dexter and Rob Shepherd at Sheoak Falls

Erskine Falls

Erskine Falls

Kangaroo Island

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.

Sleeping koala

Sleeping koala

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Fairy penguins at the Kangaroo Island Penguin Center in Kingscote, taken with a flash at night

Fairy penguins at the Kangaroo Island Penguin Center in Kingscote, taken with a flash at night

A rare sight: echidnas in the wild!

A rare sight: echidnas in the wild!

Echidna

Echidna

At Seal Bay

At Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Naptime at Seal Bay

Naptime at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Coming in from the surf

Coming in from the surf

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lions at Seal Bay

Sea lion at Seal Bay

Sea lion at Seal Bay

Seal Bay

Seal Bay

Fur seal colony near Admiral’s arch

Fur seal colony near Admiral’s arch

Admiral’s arch

Admiral’s arch

Fur seals at Admiral’s arch

Fur seals at Admiral’s arch

Remarkable Rocks from a distance

Remarkable Rocks from a distance

Nighttime visitor to the campground

Nighttime visitor to the campground

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

In Flinder’s Chase National Park

In Flinder’s Chase National Park

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.

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Echidna alert

Echidna alert

On the ferry back to Adelaide

On the ferry back to Adelaide

Kimberley, Australia

Kimberley, Australia

Southern Portugal

Southern Portugal