Remarkable Rocks – Helicopter Ride – Seal Bay Tour Challenge – Echidna Tracking Challenge – Penneshaw Bay – Farm – Stokes Bay – Back to Sydney – Psychological Tests – Night in SYD
Day 08 – June 17th
Today we arrived on Kangaroo Island which is an absolute gem of a location off the southern coast of South Australia. KI (as the locals affectionately refer to it as) is a 150km long by about 80m wide island with a population of 4,000 people, 100,000 kangaroos, 1,000,000 Wallabies, and countless other species of endemic Australian wildlife, including Koalas, Echidnas, Australian Sea Lions, and the elusive Little Pygmy Possum. It is the perfect setting for the Wildlife Caretaker.
Upon arrival we got picked up by Craig Wickam the owner of Exceptional Kangaroo Island and local expert on everything KI. Craig is a legend on the island and I have been picking his brain with a whole ton of questions during the time we’ve been touring the island. Right off the bat we transferred 115km to the exact other end of the island and Remarkable Rocks, which is a main landmark of the island and for a reason, it is Remarkable. Pun intended.
After about an hour of remarkable snaps, we packed up from the rocks and headed over towards Hansons Bay to take a small helicopter tour of the Western Coast of the island. It was amazing!!! I have always wanted to learn how to fly small planes, but now I am thinking small helicopters is the way to go. Such a cool experience and some really great video footage, here are a couple of photos of the trip.
Once we touched back down, there was a perfectly set up picnic lunch chalked full with incredible fresh foods from all over KI, including locally grown and produced wines (yum). From there we also set up the briefing for our third Wildlife Caretaker challenge in South Australia, we were to run a professional grade tour of Seal Bay with two supervising conservation park rangers. We decided to split up the information of the intended tour into three parts, the history of the area and the sea lions, the present situation and fun facts, and the future of the colony and their habitat. I was deemed to be the third speaker of our group tour and focus on how the locals, tourists, government, and even sea lions, can work together to help sustain the future of the colony. The challenge went really smoothly and we all made the most of the opportunity to share the info we had been learning for days.
From Seal Bay, the whole crew transferred back across the island to Penneshaw. We dined together then decided to call it an early night after a long first day on KI jam packed with awesome new adventures.
Day 09 – June 18th
Today we woke up early and headed straight out after to breaky to the Pelican Lagoon Research Centre to meet with Dr. Peggy Rismiller. Peggy is the leading world expert on Echidnas. Echidnas are endemic to Australia and prevalent around Kangaroo Island. They are a monotreme and have been around for millions of years, millions. Peggy introduced them as survivors. An incredible animal the more you learn. Our challenge that morning was to track toy echidnas that Peggy had hidden in the bush nearby. We were geared up with radio tracking antennas and off we went. All three of us found our individual Echidnas within ten minutes and were back to the group for tea within the hour. It was a nice start to the day and awesome to meet Peggy. Check out their website here. http://www.echidna.edu.au/
From there we moved on to Penneshaw Bay for some snaps and interviews and a bit of morning coffee. The bay is perfectly scenic and really good for surf. It is the locals hang out and a great place to spend an afternoon.
The afternoon took us to one of Craig’s friends farm for a nice lunch under the Eucalyptus followed by some tree planting and additional interviews with the film crew that has been travelling with us around South Australia. The farm was a really scenic spot and a great place to pass a couple of hours.
From the farm we headed out to Stokes Bay to see the beach and get some snaps before heading to the airport and catching our flight back to the mainland and Adelaide. Stoked Bay is one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen. I know Australia is famed for having some of the nicest beaches in the world, and now I can attest that to be absolutely true! Check this out!!
It was a perfect way to finish two awesome days touring Kangaroo Island and fulfilling our individual and group Wildlife Caretaker challenges. I am hoping very much that I get the opportunity to return and return as the next WC for South Australia. That evening we took a small chartered flight back to Radeliade (!!) and set up shop in a hotel for the night. We had an amazing dinner with all of the wonderful staff from Tourism Suth Australia. They have done so much for us over the last number of months and to meet them all was an honour, if maybe a bit surreal for them, meeting us after following our guest to win for so long. Overall though it was amazing to meet them and they are truly kind warm hearted people. If you are reading this, thank you for all you have done so far! It means the world.
Day 10 – June 19th
Wake up!!! 04:00am and my iPhone alarm dings its forever annoying melody to awake me from a melancholy slumber. Here we go again. The crew is set to fly back to Sydney leaving SA behind. It was truly sad to leave Adelaide, not knowing when or if I would be back. However, if everything works out I will have a solid amount of time to navigate the city.
We flew on the red eye back to SYD arriving for 08:30 back in New South Wales. From the airport the three Wildlife Caretaker candidates and Nicole (our TA representative) headed for Bondi beach to meet with the other finalists. At Bondi we set up with a consulting company that Tourism Australia (TA) works with. They are professionals in physiological assessment and we were set up with two tasks, one group and one individual. For the next three hours we were put through the tests of which decision you would make in whichever situation. It is actually really fun stuff. There is no wrong answer, you get assessed on the quantity, time, originality, difference in answer, etc. Interesting stuff.
From there we were transferred back to the hotel and had the afternoon off to catch up on whatever it was we wanted to catch up on. For me it is this exact post. So I hope you have made it this far. 🙂 From here we have only two days left. Crazy right!!! Tomorrow is the final interview and Harbour Bridge walk and Friday the winners announcement. To say I’m not nervously excited would be an understatement. The next two days will forever change my life. So stay tuned if you’re interested. This is a trip and in my mind, just the beginning of something that represents so much more. There’s nothing like Australia. This Canuck has the chance to prove it. The time is now. Let’s do this.