South Ausitralia Coast
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South Australia is the hottest and the most arid states in Australia. Record temperature is 50.7 deg C (123.3 deg F), the highest ever in Australia. To avoid being deep fried in the outback, we drove along the coastline, which is known as the Limestone Coast for the thick limestone deposition from coral and other sealife. Our destination: the Kangroo Island. To our delight, there were quite a few agreeable towns along the way.
Here is a typical little South Australia coastal town, Beachport. Drove up to a vista point that overlooks the ocean, we were instantly charmed by the view of the endless cerulean Pacific slowly changes into turquoise at the shallow and is greeted by the verdant vegetation along the beach. This is one of those moments that invites you to sit there for hours, doing nothing, thinking about nothing, but just enjoying the breeze. It's unbelievable, such gorgeous coastline and beaches are shared by merely 346 individuals, the town's entire population (2006 census), plus a handful of tourists like us. Mind you this is not even remotely a famous tourist town -- when is the last time you heard of Beachport, South Australia, if ever? Yet along the tens of thousand miles of Australian coastline, there're countless hidden treasures like this.
The 775-m long jetty (first pic) is about the most famous thing in Beachport. It's reportedly a great fishing spot. The lighthouse was erected in 1878 when the town officially become a port.
Lake George, a saltwater lake nearby. A group of Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) were enjoying the sun.
Other interesting creatures around the town. The pinky little bird is a Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), a highly social and long-lived bird that is frequently kept as pet. In the next pic is a Mask Lapwing (Vanellus miles), easily recognized by a bright yellow wattle "mask" on the face.
Coorong National Park is a long a narrow lagoon along South Australia coast. To access the park we had to ride on these little cable-operate ferry boat (1st pic). The park is popular for fishing and bird watching. However, when we drove in to the park around noon, there're not a thing around except these rich green salt water vegetation, plus millions of flies chasing us around. You know what's the two most persistent creatures on earth? I'll tell you, Mosquitos in Alaska and flies in Australia. These flies, if they like a particular spot on your face, they'll devote their lives to settle on it more or less permanently. You shake your head, wave your hands, and even slap yourselves like a lunatic; they hover for a second, and fly right back, usually to the exact same spot... that's until we pull out our ultimate defensive weapon. See that mosquito net Qing's wearing, don't go to Australia without one. It'll save your life.
So we thought this is it, bad timing, an empty Coorong National Park and two millions flies were all we're gonna get. Then all a sudden we spotted two dark giants ermging from distant tall grass. That's a pair of Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), the second largest bird in the world! They can grow up to 2m (6.5ft) tall and weigh up to 55 kilo (121 lbs). In a hot day like this, emus can pant to cool down their body temperature; by increase their breathing rate, moisture in the lungs evaporates rapidly to maintain body temperature.
Felt encouraged, we drove on to the Pelican Point. Finally we found a group of Australia Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus), plus some shore birds such as Sandpipers and Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa, last 2 pix).
Victor Harbour is one of the more popular tourist town along the coast.
The local attraction is the Granite Island, connected to the town via a long causeway. A public horse-drawn tram runs through it (2nd pic).
On the Granite Island are of course full of granite -- giant boulders eroded into peculiar shapes. We got King Kong here looking down at Qing (1st pic); then we turned a corner and the rock turn into a gaping mouth with fangs.
A Seal was teasing us on the harbour, making all kind of showy moves.
Shorebirds. A group of Mask Lapwings (Vanellus miles) and a Black-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscescens, last 2 pix).
More birds. A pair of Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa, 2 pix); an Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen, 2 pix); a Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys, last pic).
End of the road. We've reached the tip of Fleurieu Peninsula, a small town called Cape Jervis with population of 300. I shall mention that the Cape Jervis Station, where we stayed for one night, is an exceptionally cozy B&B that really made us feel being home. The next morning, we arrived at the Sealink terminal, where we'll take a Ferry boat heading to the Kangaroo Island.
Birds we spotted in the Cape Jervis Sation. The white cockatoo is called Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea, 3 pix); a Crested Pigeon (Microgoura meeki, 4th pic); a pair of Welcom Swallow (Hirundo neoxena, last pic).
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