Hello, and sorry for my absence, and lack of notice of that fact. I'm afraid that Christmas ended up being a little busy, and I just had zero energy/ time to blog. Also, I was preparing to pack up the family and leave straight after Christmas for our beach holiday on Kangaroo Island, which is a 2 hour drive from Adelaide, and then a 1 hour ferry ride.

Kangaroo Island is probably one of my favourite places on earth. It is really, properly, stunningly beautiful, and still has a remote and wild quality to it, despite being firmly on the tourist agenda these days. We had a fabulous week, but due to the remoteness, I wasn't able to blog, or check in on the blog as I was out of reception for almost the entire week (thank you Vodaphone, yet again).

Kangaroo Island was always a remote destination - half was chartered by an English Exploration lead by Matthew Flinders, and the other half by a French exploration (almost at the same time, they met at Encounter Bay on the main coast of South Australia and swapped information) by Nicolas Baudin. This means that half the place names around the coast of Kangaroo Island are French, and half are English. The expanded settlement of KI was fairly recent, mostly post WW1 when soldiers were given blocks of land to clear of scrub in the centre of the island to start farming. Prior to that it had been Fur sealers and lighthouse captains and their families.

We stayed at D'Estrees Bay, which is on the wild South Coast - there are shipwrecks dotted all around the South coast of the island. I had booked into the little beach cottage we chose as we were promised seclusion, and it truly was secluded - we had a 30 minute drive down dirt roads to get to our cottage, and were surrounded by native scrub up to the beach. We had the beach pretty much to ourselves most days - just miles of sand. As we were staying in a remote location, it meant that I had to be very prepared with food. Imagine my horror on the morning of our departure to find that the esky had been filled in my absence entirely with alcohol (enough for the two of us to drink over a period of a very alcoholic month, rather than a week), instead of the milk/ butter/ meat etc that I had planned. Mr AV grandly assured me that we would be "living off the land". He had big plans with his new fishing line (a newly acquired hobby, as of last week to be precise). We would not, apparently, be needing to bring other provisions. Fortunately I ignored him, and removed most of the alcohol. The final tally was Mr AV- 0. Fish - 3 bags of (expensive) cockles purchased for bait. Here's the view from our place



The weather on KI is quite a bit cooler than in Adelaide (thank God, as it was 44C (111 degrees F) today in Adelaide, and has been hellishly warm all week - I have arrived home to find my garden is looking quite fried), it gradually warmed up during the week, but our first morning it was cool and cloudy, so we headed to Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch to look at seals and enormous eroded prehistoric rock formations. Here are my oldest two children running excitedly up to look at the Remarkable Rocks.




And we visited different beaches all week. Here is Emu Bay (one of the few beaches you can drive your car on in South Australia), which was a stunning beach, enclosed by high sand dune/ cliffs and with the powdery white sand that is a specialty on KI.


Another day, another beach. This is Stokes Bay, which was a lovely hidden cove. You reach it by walking through a winding path in the rocks at one end of the bay. After squeezing along the 5 minute long tunnel-path in the rocks from an unpromising looking carpark and rocky bay, you are struck with the glory of a perfect little cove, with a large rockpool shallow enough to keep small children safe, and a surf beach to keep the older ones occupied.





Another day, another beach, this one Vivonne Bay which is on the South Coast and has been declared "the Best Beach in Australia". Not sure by whom, but it is a pretty spectacular beach. It has high sand dunes surrounding it, pure white sand, and perfect surf (but is safe in the shallows).




And here is Island Beach, which we have stayed at before with friends. It's really hard to pick a favourite beach, as they're all so good, but Island beach is lovely - calm, warm, and really beautiful as well. We used one of our Christmas presents quite a lot on the holiday - our Sombrilla beach shade. Despite lathering my children in waterproof 30+ sunscreen, neck to knee sunsuits, hats etc they still all came back tanned, with sunstreaked hair and new freckles on their faces. The children roaming around the beach naked/ in skimpy swimming attire are invariably European, and I feel sorry for the poor little things as they inevitably go home looking like little red lobsters from the unexpected strength of the Australian sun.




So, after lots of fishing and swimming and body boarding and beach cricket and games of scrabble and books read, I'm feeling very relaxed and ready for the New Year.

Hope you've all had a great start to the year too. xx

29 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Heidi :)
    What gorgeous holiday pics! I have fond memories of visiting friends from the island many times growing up (especially Stokes Bay). I am still dreaming of indulging and staying at the Southern Ocean Lodge, although that might need to wait a while :)
    K xx

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    1. Happy New Year K! It's my dream to stay at Southern Ocean Lodge too.... aside from the price (!!!) the fact that they don't allow children means it's definitely off the agenda for a few years! Loved Stokes Bay, we nearly turned around at the carpark because the beach you arrive at is so unpromising. xx

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    2. Oh the price is completely over the top! I didn't realise they don't allow children either...
      That's the great part about Stokes Bay, it's so unassuming when you arrive (complete with the little take away place in the caravan if that is even still there....) x

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  2. Stunning, Heidi. It sounds like it's done you a power of good - you sound very zen-like! Happy new year, my friend. J x

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    1. It's been a great contrast to Christmas Jane (which was great overall, but I really missed my mum) - I feel like I can tackle the year now. xx

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  3. Aaaaaaah ! I make it a point to never ever envy anybody but I may make an exception for you in this post ! Kangaroo Island and blue skies, things we won't be seeing any time soon here.... Happy New Year to you, and thank you for that moment of serenity !x

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    1. If you ever do make it down to Australia, definitely go to KI for a visit, it is a stunning place. Happy New Year Silver Bunny xx

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  4. We were going to go to Kangaroo Island when we stayed with Hubby's grandmother at Aldinga Beach 12 years ago but were put off by the price to actually get there! It looks stunning though! Love the Sombrilla they look fabulous!

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    1. Agree Deanne, the ferry is quite expensive, especially for a short trip. The Sombrilla is fab, we had the most brighly coloured beach protection around! xx

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  5. It looks gorgeous Heidi. My parents have a holiday house on the south coast of Western Australia and the beaches are incredibly similar. So beautiful and the silvery sand squeaks when you walk on it.

    Just been at our own beach house in a crayfishing town on the WA western coast. My kids are like yours -stacks of sun protection but still came back brown and with incredibly white blonde hair. I just love how relaxing a beach holiday is with kids.

    Glad your Christmas went well but it is a bit wearing and I would imagine so hard for you with your Mum not being there.

    I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you and yours.

    xx

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    1. There's a lot in WA that is similar to SA geographically speaking - funny given how far distant we are. Your beach holiday sounds idyllic. Beach + kids is the best holiday to have - they actually leave you alone for at least half an hour while they paddle/ sandcastle build etc. Bliss! Happy New Year to you and yours as well xx

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Elle, I'll be popping by your blog today too! xx

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  7. Dear Heidi

    What a wonderful place to go with small children! The beautiful beaches, almost to yourselves alone! Idyllic! It looks as though you had a wonderful time exploring and enjoying the sand and the water! It must have done you all a power of good.

    Interesting about how Europeans (and some Americans) allow small children to run around naked at the beach. I remember reading one of Garance Dore's posts that discussed this. But the issue seemed to be whether it was acceptable from a modesty point of view. As an Aussie I sent a comment saying modesty wasn't the issue for Australians, skin cancer and child health was. The few who agreed were all Aussies. The others mostly all wrote about how wonderful it was for little children to have the freedom to run around naked on the beach. I guess when you've known people who've died from skin cancer you think differently about these things. Our DIL always insures our little girlies are always in their sun protection clothes and sunscreen and big hats. It's great too that at primary school the teachers are very focussed on sun protection for the children and they all have to wear wide brimmed hats when outside.

    Hope your garden recovers quickly! It's the difficult thing going away for holidays at this time of the year, a necessity of course if you have young children. The gardens really suffer during heatwaves and it's also very difficult to find someone to come in and water for you because so many people are away. We've had to pass up going to Sydney to see an old friend who's visiting because we can't leave the garden in these temperatures - 39 here today. But we'll catch up another time and they understand because they live in Perth and have had very high temps as well.

    Best wishes, Pamela

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    1. It was a really lovely holiday Pamela, and I have come back feeling like I'm on an even keel now.

      That's very interesting re the Garance Dore post. I tend to think that visitors to Australia just want to go home with tans to show what a wonderful time they had in the sun here.....to me a tan = too much sun, and I do worry with the colour my children develop (and me too) just from being in the sun, even with sunscreen on. Fingers crossed on the garden front - my Dad came and watered my pots, and most of the garden is on a watering system, but the sun has scorched the camellias quite badly, along with the magnolia tree. Stay cool! xx

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  8. Wow. It looks sensational! My sister recently went to KI but her photos of the beach didn't look anything like yours which put me off a bit. But after seeing your photos I definitely want to go!

    Love the Sombrilla shades <3
    Does it provide enough shade for 2 adults and 2 little ones?

    B

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    1. You should definitely go B - it's so close to home, and is just beautiful. The Sombrilla provides enough shade for 2 adults comfortable and probably 2 kids as well, but the children were never under it, just Mr AV and I! They were all busy in the water or sandcastle building instead! xx

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  9. And thank you so much for all those landscaping suggestions!!!

    <3

    B

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  10. Dear Heidi... what beautiful photos... I am struck by the clarity.. the colour of the sky and the sea... ie... no pollution! What an escape with your young children... away from all the technology and noise invasion we are all so used to. The sound of the ocean is so good for the soul. Happy New Year to you and your family and fortunately for all your common sense prevailed with the esky re-adjustments!! ... Jenny xxx

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    1. It is a very pure environment Jenny - the produce from KI is just lovely (and the fresh fish is amazing). As for the esky readjustment...I'm sure we would have had a very fun week had I not repacked....it would have passed in a somewhat hungry blur! xx

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  11. Happy New Year, Heidi! Your sojourn on Kangaroo Island looks idyllic...how lovely to get away from it all in such gorgeous surroundings. Love that Sombrilla! Rx

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    1. Happy New Year to you as well Romy! xx

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  12. No doubt you were thinking of poor me H, slaving away at work, temporarily stashed in the back of the less than salubrious warehouse while Bob the Builder made a huge amount of noise & dust building my new office up the front. Glad KI worked its magic on you all!
    Millie xx

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    1. Goodness Millie - that sounds awfully grim! I hope the warehouse was at least air conditioned with the horrendous temps? Hope you get a holiday soon....I always hated working over the Christmas period, even if it is a little quieter and you can keep summer hours. xx

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  13. Oh I love this post! We stayed at d'estrees bay this time last year with the boys. From the looks of it at the same holiday house!!! Glad you loved it I have been recommending it to friends. We are at our shack at black point at the moment and it is wonderful but I did love the seclusion on KI. xx

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    1. What a funny coincidence Letitia! The cottage was called Blueseas. One of the reasons that I love Kangaroo Island so much is that it reminds me of Black Point - we used to have a shack there, and would go for weeks every Summer, but it's changed so much since the lease holds all went to free hold, and the shacks were mostly knocked down. It just doesn't feel the same to me now. Kangaroo Island feels a lot like BP back then - same shells, same sort of beaches, just less people. Hope your enjoying the hot weather at the beach xx

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    2. Yes that is the one! I remember the old days of BP too. My husbands family knocked down and rebuilt about 10 years ago. They bought in the 80s. You probably used to stroll along the beach past where is am sitting now! Luckily it's not too busy this week. Only about 50 kids at vacswim this year. x

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    3. Things have definitely changed at BP - there was no phone reception when I was last there around 12 years ago, just before they went freehold. We used to have to row out in the dingy to just over the blue line to get a phone signal! We had shack 99, it's now a duplex with lots of tinted glass and granite benches in the kitchens. Very different to the concrete floored shack we had!

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    4. Ill have to check out the spot of 99 tomorrow Heidi. I would have been hanging out here during summer 12 years ago too at the old shack. We used to have to sleep out in the caravan it was so small! x

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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