Monday, April 5, 2010

Wild coast, rocky headlands, and some very thirsty times

Three hikes along the southern coast of Kangaroo Island. Two treks, a day hike. Wild coast, rocky headlands, and some very thirsty times.

Flinders Chase Coastal Trek, Hanson Bay hike and Cape Gantheaume Coastal Trek, Kangaroo Island

On the final of the three walks, the Cape Gantheaume Coastal Trek, I discovered some seven kilometres into the two day trek that I had brought along six litres of salt water for the ride. Mmm. Sure I had filled up with fresh water back at the water tanks at Vivonne Bay. Not so, clearly, as I spat out the water and contemplated my immediate future. I had even assessed the roof of the picnic shelter at Vivonne Bay to see if it looked clean, and hence the water would be good. Forgot to taste it though. It had been supplemented by water from the river outlet, very salty, much too salty to contemplate drinking.

I set the water free into the great southern ocean, and rather thirstily returned to the trailhead at Bales Bay. I sat at the bbq shelter at Bales Bay, plenty of fresh water here, but my feet would not allow me to return that seven kilometres, my day would have been some 30 kilometres long. I wouldn't be arriving at the end of the hike at the scheduled time, nothing to do but wait where I was. Safer, waiting somewhere known and easily accessible. I had phone reception the whole time, so tried calling and sent an sms to my friends. They had joined me for the first two hikes, but had piked on this one. Enough with the trail-less bush bashing.

The following day they had not shown, so I wandered up to the Seal Bay visitor centre a few kilometres up the road to discuss my quandry with the park rangers. They were stunned to hear the water I had collected from the well known spot wasn't fresh. I had seen a group of seven trek cyclists merrily refilling their water containers from the same tank. The rangers were very helpful, the duty ranger wasn't able to get out to where my friends were picking me up from to let them know, but one of the rangers asked a nearby friend if they could drop past! Excellent.

Will return to complete this walk at another time.

The Flinders Chase Coastal Trek was only open south of West Bay. We camped out here. Tim volunteered to drive the car south and ride a bike back. It was a two day hike to the Cape du Couedic lighthouse. No trail as such, following the coast. The first day was hard, we camped at Snake Lagoon, settling into our campsite after arranging for the local ranger - whom we had met on the hike - to evict the backpackers who were squatting in our booked campsite. Rocky headlands, coastal heath, the occasional beach or rock platform. Spectacular.

Also walked the Hanson Bay hike, from the free 40 Great South Australian Walks. It starts at the Kelly Hill Caves visitor centre, a return hike through scrub, past a large salt lake, beside a broad (for KI) river, and finally through sand dunes to the secluded Hanson Bay.

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Flinders Chase Coastal Trek
Saturday Sunday
3/4/2010 4/4/2010
West Bay to Snake Lagoon Snake Lagoon to Cape de Couedic
Distance 20.9km 15.8km
Start Time 11:54am 7:57am
End Time 7:27pm 1:30pm
Moving Duration 5h35m 3h35m
Stationary Duration 1h57m 1h51m
Moving Average 3.7km/h 4.4km/h
Overall Average 2.8km/h 2.9km/h
Oodometer 20.9km 36.7km


Hanson Bay hike
Kelly Hill Caves to Hanson Bay
Distance 8.38km one way
Start Time am
End Time pm
Moving Duration 1h47m
Stationary Duration 21m
Moving Average 4.7km/h
Overall Average 3.9km/h

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