Kangaroo Island. Day 5

Dudley Peninsula
Itinerary: Prospect Hill - Emu Ridge Distillery - Cape Willoughby - Antechamber Bay - Penneshaw

The last day on the island was gloomy, windy, and grey. It felt like it was going to rain and it was weather for bidding farewell without too much regret! There was plenty of time before our ferry in late afternoon, so we ventured out for the last few hours in KI.

We climbed a steep wooden staircase leading to Prospect Hill. Captain Flinders used this spot as a lookout to map out the coast. This hill top offers panoramic views towards American River and Pennington Bay.

The view from Prospect Hill

In 4 days in KI I had noticed that eucalyptus oil had a cult status with the locals. Once a sprawling industry on the island, eucalyptus oil production employed over 600 people when it reached its peak in the 1930's. Today Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery is the only commercial distillery in South Australia. It is the epitome of the KI spirit: the business is self-sufficient, operating on solar, steam and wind-power with all by-products being recycled. The process follows the same principles as decades ago - lots of manual labor.

A distillery employee walked us around the property that had been purchased by a sheep farmers' couple in 1991 who re-invigorated it to become KI's success story. The oil is distilled from the leaf of the indigenous bush - Narrow Leaf Mallee. One tonne of leaves make a 2-5 litres of oil that goes through 2 rounds of purification. The final result is transparent pungent liquid which can be used in countless ways (or so we were told)! Who knows maybe I'll join the ranks of the oil worshipers!?

We drove through Penneshaw having lunched at Marty's - a no-nonsense home-style cafe with great coffee and headed to easternmost point of KI - Cape Willoughby. Its light house was the first to be built in South Australia (1852). The isolation, ruggedness and beauty of this part of Kangaroo Island, is striking. Standing 27 metres high with 102 steps to the lookout tower, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse offers a stunning panoramic view across Backstairs Passage and the Kangaroo Island coastline. The Visitors' Centre is also a museum with artifacts and stories of shipwrecks, lighthouse keepers' families, etc.

Cape Willoughby

At Antechamber Bay in Lashmar Conservation Park that has long sandy beach perfect for swimming, the strongest in our family went for a swim. In Penneshaw we visited Dudley Wines cellar door, had a coffee and wine break at Penneshaw hotel, and finally, got on SeaLink to cross the 11km passage back to the mainland.

I felt mildly tired and very relaxed from having taken in so many sights unusual to a North American eye, having crossed KI's many roads, walked quite a few trails, and seen, tasted, and heard so much! We had enough time for exploration without being pressured to hurry. I'm sure there are places that we have missed and / or ran out of time to get there - it is hard to cover such a vast territory in 5 days, but even these 5 days were incredibly fulfilling.

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