Australia’s Joey De Vivre

Shubh-yatra.in

, Travel
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Kangaroo Island is not just about wildlife. There is n easy charm, a gentle elegance, that gets you hooked the moment you set foot on the island, says Vijaya Pratap

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I woke up to birds singing, as the golden sun streamed inside in a beam. I looked out to see slender lavender stalks swaying in the breeze and yonder, behind the rose bushes, the sea painted in a pretty blue. Snug under a quilt and drunk on the beauty around, I hummed an old English folk tune: “Through bushes and through briars/ I’ve lately made my way/ All for to hear the small birds sing/ And the lambs to skip and play…”

The magic of Kangaroo Island – and that of Seascape Lodge on Emu Bay – is hard to define. There is a quiet elegance to the lodge interiors and a beautiful opulence to the surroundings. Sniffing roses and admiring exotic succulents in the garden is how I spent my days in this tiny paradise on Kangaroo Island.

It was Lynn, my chauffeur – who’s also a sheep farmer – who introduced me to the wonders of this paradise, from the golden pennants lining the dirt roads to Rosenberg’s goannas basking happily on the rocks. We walked on the long boardwalk at Seal Bay that meandered through limestone cliffs and dunes, watching sea lions lazing around on the sand or napping in the sun, exhausted after a long swim.

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We braved a long walk against the wind to see the stunningly beautiful Admirals Arch, a stalactitefringed cliff with a sweep of rock that forms the perfect niche for New Zealand fur seals to play. Later, the Remarkable Rocks, wind-sculpted rock formations that sit atop a smooth granite dome, transported me to a surreal landscape of dramatic sunsets and prehistoric Aboriginal living.

Kangaroo Island is a place where you can see native Australian animals and birds the way they are meant to be seen – without disturbing them. At Flinders Chase National Park, which covers 74,000 hectares of untouched bush land, kangaroos, koalas, tammar wallabies and the endangered Cape Barren geese roam free.

As we lingered, a shy wallaby appraised me from behind a bush, retreating as soon as I came close. I spotted an echidna in the undergrowth, foraging for ants with its sticky tongue. I followed the creature with my camera deep into the bushes, curious for a peep into its life.

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The Kangaroo Island coastline is long enough to bestow a sense of peace, wild enough to hold secrets and small enough to tour – be it through wildlife watching or recreational activities such as surfing, scuba diving, fishing, snorkelling, swimming and sailing. I went kayaking with Kylie, of Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action, on Harriet river. Chatting softly, we enjoyed the quiet, meandering river as it snaked gracefully through the landscape. It was a memorable 90 minutes spent in the company of the gentle sound of oars lapping on silk-smooth waters.

The land where lambs prance around, roses smell the sweetest, birds sing all day and beauty envelops every corner, Kangaroo Island is a little slice of Australian paradise. Between playful sea lions and surreal rock formations, you are sure to come away with a rich memory bank.

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