We also toured the South Australia Museum, which has a great display of aboriginal history and artifacts. Then as we headed back to our hotel, we were swept up in a parade of kids about 6-10 years old carrying protest signs
. They were marching to City Hall to take their 'demands' to the Mayor. They carried signs asking for things like, "No more peas", "No more homework", "I want more lego", and "Give peas a chance". Once they arrived they sang a song enmasse for all the city dignitaries and at that point we finally figured out from people in the crowd that it was the kickoff for the 'Come Out" festival in Adelaide. Nothing to do with gay rights and all to do with kids and embracing fun. The City had also placed pianos all over the downtown, on street corners etc and people were invited to just sit down and play, for free. So we heard everything from Mozart to many versions of chopsticks! South Australia is known as the festival state, so we just happened upon one.
At last the dreaded time came when we rented the car and set out on the Wrong Side of the Road. Phil did very well leaving Adelaide - only about 6 close calls and no actual collisions. Keep left...keep left...keep left...
We took our time on backroads down to the ferry to Kangaroo Island - a rough windy crossing of about 45 minutes but we made it in one piece. Kangaroo Island is south of Adelaide, and is the southmost part of the state. Only the Antactic lies south of the island. We spent one night in Penneshaw and then checked into our wonderful B and B, called The Lookout, highly recommended by friends
. We stayed in a cottage in an enormous garden overlooking the ocean, being fed gourmet breakfasts and three course dinners complete with local wine. The Island is quite large (over 2 hours to drive from end to end) and is full of amazing birds and wildlife. Thanks to Malcolm, our great guide, we have been introduced to wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, and lots of great birds. Some of the wonderfully well named birds we added to the list include the superb fairy-wren, the red wattlebird and the Cape Barren Goose (threatened species).
Ruth summoned up her courage and took the wheel on the island, a perfect place to practice because there is hardly any traffic. Only misadventure was narrowly missing a kangaroo hopping across the road. However the trip to the west end of the Island was worth it - sea lions on the beaches and some amazing geological formations called the Remarkable Rocks, aptly named!
Tomorrow we head off to the mainland on a two day trip to Kyneton, northwest of Melbourne. for more birding and a trip to the wine country with Bea and Joel, from Calgary!
Our last 6 days have been full of adventures. We flew two hours west from Sydney to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, for a distinct change of pace. People describe Adelaide as a great place to bring up children - it has over a million people but looks and feels more like a big version of Red Deer. It prides itself on being the only place not established as a convict colony and as a result seems very genteel and calm. The University of Adelaide, in the centre of the city looks like a mini Oxford and the whole of the downtown is surrounded by green parkland. We did some more leisurely birdwatching,seeing our first black swans and lots more parrots of various species.