At the end of the cove are the Remarkable Rocks; a series of standing stones of various unusual shapes that have eroded in a way that really doesn’t make sense. Some are larger than others, all are very solid and stable, yet many look like they should just tumble and fall. I’m rather glad they didn’t while I was there.
We were warned several times about walking too close to the edge and slipping down. No guard rails are in place to protect the stupid… as one German tourist found out several years ago. He thought he knew better than the tour guide and went too far to get a photograph. And slipped. And fell. And landed on the rocks below being battered by heavy seas.
The tour guide and another tourist who jumped in after him, however, were not so fortunate. Both perished. A plaque to them both is situated near the information point in the car park.
What I regard as the worst part of the story, however, is that the German returned to Australia some months after his ordeal and attempted to sue the tour company for not keeping him safe enough, going so far as to blame the guide who gave his life for not providing enough warning.
Fortunately, every single other member of the tour group stood up in court and said he was full of… lies. His case was dismissed and hopefully it cost him dear financially. It obviously didn’t weigh heavily on his conscience that his own stupidity had cost the lives of two very brave people, one of whom he tried to besmirch.
The rocks are cool. We took a group shot on one of the larger ones. If I can get my photo up here, you can play “spot the Iain” on it.
All rocked out, we were next driven to Cape du Couedic. This part of the coastline features an old – though still operational – lighthouse. Originally it burned kerosene, then acetylene and now runs on electricity and is pretty much unmanned except for maintenance.
A wooden boardwalk zig-zags down towards the Admiral’s Arch – a stunning natural arc decorated with a gazillion knobbly stalactites – past some astounding scenes of saltwater violence. The coastline here is craggy and rocky with a small island maybe 200 metres offshore. Watching the waves batter at both provides a real respect for the power of water.
On the way down and underneath the Arch itself it is possible to see many New Zealand Fur Seals resting up (or growing up). The occasional one even slips into the stormy waters. Rather them than me.
We spent almost an hour around here before David “COOOO-EEE”‘d to round us up and we jumped aboard our Kanga-Coach to the picnic ground near the Flinder’s Chase visitors’ centre. Here we rattled up a lunch of chicken wraps while throwing rocks ate magpies to stop them stealing the food.
Two kangaroos, a mother and a joey, hopped around nearby fairly tamely. Neither was in the best of health as they were used to being fed scraps. The thing is, a lot of food that’s good for us is unhealthy for them in the same way that feeding bread and milk to a hedgehog can kill it. Still, it’s easier for them than foraging and the stuff must taste nice as they keep coming back for more. And people keep ignoring the rules and feeding them.
Bellies full, Dave dropped us off at the start of the Platypus trail. No promises were made, as platypus are usually nocturnal, but daytime sightings had been made in the area.
Not when we were there, they weren’t. Still, you can’t set your watch by mother nature. Real animals don’t act on demand. It was still a lovely walk through some interesting vegetation with some nice birds to spot.
Final stop of the day was back at Little Sahara, this time armed with sandboards! These are more similar to wheel-less skateboards than snowboards. The technique is the same as for the others, though. In the case of our group this involved parking your bum on it and sliding down the hill.
Except me, of course. My bum didn’t touch the board once. OK, it did slam into the ground hard on my third run when I hit a bobble and fell off, but the other three runs were perfect two-footed ones from top to bottom.
Snowboarding’s still better as a) the hills are higher and b) you have a lift to get you back to the top. Still, I missed out on sandboarding in Vietnam so I’m glad to have tried it!
Evening, by now, was closing in. We had two drop two people off at the airport as they’d opted for the 26-minute flight back to the mainland. After that, the rest of us were taken back to the dock to catch the ferry, and then the coach into Adelaide.
I snoozed on the coach and woke up as if I’d been on a flight – that is, my contact lenses dried out and uncomfortable.
I was exhausted, but sleep didn’t come as easily as I’d hoped predominantly because of some drunk kids in the room next door. They’re now on a final warning – one more complaint and they’ll be searching for a new hostel at 3am…