Kangaroo Island ( known as Australia’s Galapagos) is one of the most unique spots in the world.  Secretly (or not so secretly) this was the place that I most wanted to see during our Australian adventure because of the opportunity to spot kangaroos ( lots of them) in their natural habitat.  The closest I’ve ever gotten to a wild animal in their natural environment was Angel the cheetah, who was the first large cat ambassador for the Cincinnati Zoo.  There’s nothing like feeling your heart beat like crazy because one of the fastest animals on the earth is sprinting towards you,  then feel her hot breath and sharp, sandpaper tongue as she starts licking your leg.  No, she wasn’t washing me before taking a bite…she was just saying “hello.” Angel was a gentle, beautiful animal and this was one of my “all time best” life experiences.  Jeff and I “met” her before a photo shoot we were preparing to do.   The shoot never happened, but the experience has always stayed with me.  You can read more about my friend Angel, here.

So, when I heard that we were going to visit fields of kangaroos and get “up close and personal” with them, I was very excited.  As you can see from this pic, they’re pretty close, but I was expecting a different experience.  As I said a few posts ago, my chance encounter with a kangaroo on Hamilton Island was much closer and more spontaneous, but I still will cherish all of my time with these beautiful creatures.

Every foot of this area was covered in “roo pooh.”  Really, I kid you not…you could tell where they had been just by looking at the ground.

We took every opportunity to view the natural flora and fauna on the island.  We went “bushwalking”  along the steep trails of the coast with a naturalist guide.  It was incredible to see how the plants and animals have adapted to their surroundings.

In an area where fresh water can sometimes be scarce, these plants funnel water towards their roots.

While these plants “sacrifice” some of their leaves to survive the harsh conditions.

I’m glad that we didn’t run into this “critter” on our walk, but we did see the dens where the Goanna lives.

We traveled to the wildlife sanctuary to visit koalas, birds and the occasional kangaroo.  Koalas are VERY picky eaters. Of the 20 plus species of eucalyptus found on the island the koala only eats 6.  The blue eucalyptus is their fav.

Next stop: the Remarkable Rocks.  Formed 500 million years ago from granite that has eroded from the corrosive effects of sea spray and wind. These boulders balance on a  large lava dome.  We may not fully understand how they got here, but we can all understand their grandeur and beauty.

Then off we went to Flinders Chase National Park and Admiral’s Cove where the New Zealand fur seals live.  Can you spot them basking on the rocks?

After our morning adventures, it was time to stop for a proper tea and admire the view.

The New Zealand seals are not the only seals on the island. Later we visited the Seal Bay Conservation Park to get a glimpse of Australian sea-lions.   We visited them as they were waking up from their naps and heading out for dinner with friends and family.

I think this little guy just wants to stay close to his mom and have dinner at home.

Kangaroo Island is also home to Ligurian bees.  They were brought to the island in 1881 and in 1885 Kangaroo Island was declared a bee sanctuary.  It’s now the oldest bee sanctuary in the world. The bees on Kangaroo Island are extremely special because they are genetically pure due to their isolation.  If you would like to read more about the Ligurian bees, Native Food and Wine has done this knowledgeable post.

Due to their purity, these bees are actually helping stabilize the rest of the world’s bee population and are also involved in cancer research.  I’m a big proponent of honey, and Dana will soon be writing a post explaining some of honey’s benefits.

We were still plagued with bad weather, but right before sunset the sun came out to play and Jeff grabbed these wonderful shots.

Flora, fauna and fun in a very special and beautiful place.

This week’s recipe has to include some of the golden, sweet Ligurian honey, right?  This is what we were served as an entree (remember that’s Australian for appetizer).  Fresh, local ingredients served in simple Sunday Supper style.

Kangaroo Island is  truly one of the most magical places on earth…I’m so glad that we went and that I got the chance to take you there with me.

Crostini with Blue Cheese, Honey, Walnuts and Figs Recipe

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

A sweet, savory and crunchy appetizer of toasted crostini, blue cheese, honey, walnuts and figs.

Ingredients:

6 thin slices of baguette grilled or toasted
4 oz. good quality blue cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 figs, sliced in quarters
6 tablespoons honey (local if possible)
Micro greens for garnish

Directions:

Grill or toast 6 thin slices of baguette and place on plate. Sprinkle blue cheese then walnuts evenly on top of bread. Add 2 slices of figs per plate. Drizzle with honey and top with a dash of micro greens. Serve.

Enjoy!