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Eleanor Barbour's Pages

FOR COUNTRY WOMEN  

DEAR 'CHRONICLE' READERS— Just more than a year ago I had a short trip to Kangaroo Island and, as 1 told you at that time, I had just enough to whet the appetite for more. 1 was indeed fortunate then to accompany the mail man oh his bi-weekly round-the-hland trip, and was captivated by what I saw, but naturally there

was. .no time to loiter and explore a little cove, or a patch of wildflowers, or some other inviting attrac tion. There were so many places, too, which I had to try to imagine from the mailman's descriptions when we passed a side road, with or without a sign post. I was never backward at asking questions, and he certainly hod more than his fair share of them from me that day. Some time in the future, I thought, I will go to the island, wonder just where I want to go, and move on just when I want to move on, but I did not Think the opportunity would come so soon. It did come, however, and o recent fortnight's camp ing holiday, spent mainly along the 500-odd miles of coastline, more than justified the response to the island's silent coll. Those of you who enjoy camping need not go interstate for interest and en joyment and comfortable travel. Try Kangaroo Island. The main expense is getting oneself, one's vehicle, and one's passengers across from the main land, so the longer the stay, the cheaper becomes the holiday comparatively. A little over £8 return was the cost of Our vehicle, and £2 12/6 for each passenger. By paying a higher unaccompanied freight charge for the vehicle, one can take a return air ticket for just over £4, fly across in less than an hour and be in Kingscote when the boat arrives, ready to drive away along the jetty with the car and its camping equipment.. This might suit those who do not like sea travel but the old Karatta was very kind to us. Freicht charges, of course, would vary with different types of vehicles, too. Another important summer advantage, fey the way, is that the temperatures on the island ore always much lower thon those on the mainland. The weather, like the boat, could not have been kinder to us.

Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island, at die mouth of the South-West River. The two baby penguins were in the cave at water level in the foreground.

Driving, walking, bathing, fishing, delving into the study of flora or fauna or rocks, or just lazing under ideal conditions — which do you prefer? You have them all on the island. Most of the roods are lined with fresh-leaved native gums so wisely left after clearing the land, or through virgin scrub, and they yield continuous glimpses of picturesque coast or highlands, so driving is pleasant. Smooth, white beaches and easily traversed scrub country are grand for walking, while for the more energetic .there are hills to explore for extensive views, sea side rocks to scramble over, cliffs to scale, caves to explore. Bathers may have pounding surf or quiet,

caressing waves, rock pools of varying depths, or rivers. The island abounds in rivers. I am no fisherman, but ask anyone who is, and you will heor the never-ending*stories of types and sizes and weights, from both river and sea. It was a little late for the ground carpefs of multi-colored flowers in November, but there were still enough of bright yellow varieties and masses of tiny star-shaped blooms in shades through a range' from white to deep pink to delight the nature lover. Flowering gums arid many shrubs — thousands of vivid scarlet hakeas or bottle brushes, lime-colored proteas, titrees bearing the purest of white flowers,

and mauve blossoms unknown to me — were among the colorful higher growth. Fauna abounds — kangaroos and wallabies in all parts of the island, wild pigs to the west, wild goats, opossums, koala bears in the sanctuary, sea birds of many types, land birds large and small, including many of the bright plumaged parrots — but no foxes or rabbits. In a cave on the shores of Hanson Bay we found two baby penguins. At our camp in Flinders Chase we had on echidna — or anteater or porcupine — : which lived under the tarpaulin and buried himsqlf defensively when it was lifted. Snakes? Only one, brown in color, fat and more than three feet long, which slid out of a shaken rug at 6 o'clock one morn ing! A little too close, you think, but he was cold and showed no animosity at that hour. I was told later he might have been more energetic if en countered in the midday sun ! There ore seals about the coastline, too, but we did not see one. Almost as interesting as the animals and birds themselves were their footprints and, in the case of kangaroos, tail prints, on isolated, unfrequented beaches. We tried to interpret them but, except in the most ob vious cases, were too lacking in knowledge to be able to do so. ' ? Then you must add to all these inviting assets of Kangaroo Island the friendly welcome of the people and their almost overwhelming coopera tion. Nothing seems too much for them to do to make one's stay enjoyable, especially in the 'out- back' areas. Later I want to tell you of two women who had interesting stories to tell of many years of living 'far from the madding crowd,' and also 1 would like to give you some of our experiences -of good camping spots. It is almost like looking for needles in haystacks to find bad ones! No more for this week. Best wishes to all -from

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