The only problem with a multi stop holiday is the number of times that you have to say goodbye to the place that you have grown to know as home. We packed up the car once again after our last breakfast watching the sun wake up and get heated up over Emu Bay. We dropped into Kingscote to do some last minute gift shopping and to pick up some treats for the long journey ahead. We had the morning to spend exploring more of the island and we were going to take in the south side that we had only briefly touched upon when we arrived, what seemed like a life time ago, but was only a few short days.
The kids were struggling today, I think we were all a bit sluggish and slow, and the weather was relatively poor but still probably better than 95% of all British summers days. One of the shop owners that we were chatting to about our upcoming journey warned us that this weather may make for a tricky ferry crossing and suggested that we pick up some Kwalms tablets at the pharmacy to ease any sea sickness as the locals swore by them. All stocked up on sickness tablets we set off for our packed lunch (made from leftovers from the accommodation fridge) we were planning to eat at a picnic site at a place called American River.
There were no burger chains or school shootings that we could see but the name, instead, came from a group of whalers that settled at the site many moons ago. We ate in the shelter of one of the many public cooking shelters that we saw on the island. It looked like the sort of place you see on a motorway service station that you eat your lunch at, but it was fitted out with a huge outdoor barbecue. All of the bits and bobs that were needed were there, even the stuff to clean the grill down afterwards and it seemed like a great community spot. Once we had emptied the food bags and swigged our fruit juices we let the kids burn off their excess energy on the play park as we looked out over the bay and chatted.
We then jumped in the car and headed to get warm drinks at a spot called Dudley Wines. There was a cafe attached to the vineyard and a tasting area with lovely views across the straights to the mainland. It had started to rain just as we arrived and the wind was picking up and it was getting chilly. We settled at the cafe and, again, the kids ran about in the play park as we settled down to chat and take in the view of the straights. Unfortunately they didn’t do hot drinks so as we shivered in the wind drinking cold drinks, it was more like an English beach holiday now as we huddled together and pretended it was warm enough to be outside.
We quickly packed up and made our way down the steep hill to Penneshaw where we were booked on the ferry back to the mainland. We still had lots of time spare and so we wandered about the streets and around to the park that overlooked the harbour below. We looked over at the mainland and took our final group photographs as we would all be going our separate ways within the next hour. It was all very emotional and reminded us all that the holiday was drawing to a close soon. I wandered over to the war memorial that sat on the lawn overlooking the sea below. It was hard to imagine that this little island on the other side of the planet had sent their boys to Europe to two wars, never to come back home again.
I made a commitment to look up some of the names on the memorial when I got home to try and find out more and picked what I assumed to be two brothers, a C Lashmar and A Lashmar. My search was very easy as I found them on this website http://ww1sa.gravesecrets.net/lar—laz.html. They were indeed brothers and one was born in American River where we had taken lunch earlier that day. Both had fought in Gallipoli, one died there and the other surviving to later be killed in action in France. The ultimate sacrifice that isn’t forgotten, and never will be, here on Kangaroo Island or where they fell in Europe.
We said our goodbyes and left Titchy’s Australian family behind, waving at us as we made our way down to the ferry with tears in our eyes but love in our hearts. The sea did look a bit choppy as we got closer but there weren’t too many white tops so I think the seasickness tablets were maybe overkill on reflection. As driver, I had to play another game of car Tetris to squeeze the car into the bowels of the boat while the rest of the party went on as foot passengers. In what seemed like half the time it took to get there, we were back on the mainland and ready to depart. Once I unloaded the car it was time for more farewells as Titchy’s mum, sister and niece in the other car were heading to Glenelg while we were heading for Victor Harbour. With heavy hearts and watery eyes, we pulled away from the car park at Cape Jervis and we were, once again, on our own and on the road.
It was about a 50 minute scoot over the farmlands towards Victor Harbor, driving through slightly greener farmland that we had seen on the island and with much less roadkill at the side of the road. It wasn’t too different to Northumberland to be honest, just a bit drier and with much more weirdly shaped trees. Eventually we dropped down into the town and, compared to our week on the Island it was a bit weird to see such a big old town. It had a McDonalds and a main shopping street! It was a lovely place, it felt like a proper seaside town, a tourist destination rather than a nature reserve if that makes sense? We drove down the main street to the motel we had booked and it was right in the middle of the town centre, perfect for us. We checked in and drove down to the parking space right outside our room which looked to have been either recently built or recently renovated as it looked very clean, neat and new. The kids were in a room with a bunk bed and a single and we had a double bed with a big old TV and plenty of space for suitcases and kit. There was even a little kitchen with a fridge and kettle! It was simple but perfect for what we needed for our one night stay over.
We got changed and partially unpacked and then set out for dinner and adventures. As we stepped out of the room the rain stopped and the skies turned brighter but left behind a double rainbow. It made me feel like we were special guests that that they were putting on a show just for us.
We walked through the busy and bustling centre that was full of seaside shops and bars and they all seemed pretty busy and lively. We made notes for where we wanted to eat dinner on our return, but we were heading to Granite Island. Granite Island sits about a mile off the harbour, connected by a wooden walkway that, during the day, is crossed by a horse drawn tramway but as it was early evening, we had to walk it.
On the island we were promised a Little Penguin colony and that is little in both senses of the word. They are little in stature and little in numbers too. About half way across the walkway it started to get dark and we quickened our pace so that we had the best chance of seeing the little penguins pottering about before bedtime. We had just committed to taking the full lap of the island when the heavens opened and caught us on the hop.
It lashed down with rain that bounced off the pavement and back above sock height. We were drenched to the bone and no longer remotely interested in penguins but, conscious of the mile walk back across the wooden pier, only interested in self-preservation. It was getting late, it was getting dark, it was raining and we had some very tired kids that had not yet eaten……it was going to be a difficult evening. Trying to get the kids to decide what they want to eat is a fight at the best of times, add in their wet socks and shoes and a late night and we didn’t get anywhere fast. We made their minds up by forcing them to eat pizzas at Nino’s at the bottom of the Main Street. It looked busy and full of atmosphere and sold ice creams with which we could bribe them so it ticked all the boxes. It was an inspired choice as the food was terrific and the staff were excellent. I had a gyros pizza, the kids had their ice cream and we all wobbled home happy and a little drier.
One of the biggest regrets about this holiday is that we were not able to spend more time in Victor Harbor, it seemed like such a beautiful place. An excellent excuse to come back one day and finish off the rest of the country? Here’s hoping!