Saturday, November 30, 2013

Albers Down Under: Kangaroo Island and the Beauty of Local

There is something really special about Kangaroo Island (KI) in Australia.  It may be the perfectly quaint size, beautiful bays and beaches, or the abundance of wildlife.  But I would be more willing to bet it’s because of the local people and their absolute pride in everything KI.  They love to showcase local honey, eucalyptuses oil, wine, fish, and wildlife.  The local pride is amazing- like sweet, normal pride.  Not the beer guzzling, cutoff jean shorts, ‘Murica type of pride that we’re used to.

As most people know, I am hugely passionate about supporting a local economy.  Being on vacation is no exception.  Kangaroo Island is a great example of how staying local creates more than just a memorable vacation.  It creates an adventure.

For example, KI’s climate is perfect for bee keeping.  We visited a bee-ery (??) where a local bee keeper discussed what makes KI so great for honey.  The local flora creates different tasting honey based on the different types of flowers visited by the bees (I’m sure other people know that… I didn’t).  So the bee keeper moves his hives around the island to create different tasting honeys.  The honey (particularly the honey ice cream) were ah-maz-ing.

Side note- if you suffer from seasonal allergies, honey from local hives can help alleviate those allergies.  Since local pollens are present in local honey, ingesting it acts sort of like a natural flu shot (without all the questionable side effects).  Raw honey works best, but any would be beneficial. 

On the topic of local flora, KI is full of Eucalyptus plants.  These plants produce a very powerful, potent, and perfectly beautiful oil and KI is home to a perfectly local and sustainable Eucalyptus distillery. 

Now, those people who have been with me on this crazy wellness journey over the past several years know that I am completely nuts about making my own cleaning and beauty products.  Some experiments have worked out better than others, but most homemade products call for essential oils.  Eucalyptus oil is a powerful additive to homemade cleaners, as well as anti-septic and cleansing agent for the skin.  So when I walked into the gift shop my head almost exploded.  Good thing there are weight limits for checked bags, or else I probably would have rolled out with as many 2 liter bottles as my suitcase would hold (at the expense of bringing any of my clothes back). 

The last, and most fun part about KI, is the abundance of native and introduced wild life.  As the name suggests, there were Kangaroos everywhere (I mean everywhere).  Our visit included several wildlife sanctuaries and a beach full of seals for some up close and personal time with wildlife.   

We pet and fed Kangaroos. 

(I mean seriously, I’m like a Kangaroo whisperer.)

We cuddled with some Koalas.  Warning- your head may explode with a cuteness overload.  

Held a baby Wallaby.

Hung out with some kookaburras. 

Met an Owl

Went all Brittany Spears with a snake (I didn’t catch the name of this snake since I was trying not to cry with its’ slithery and disgusting snakiness around me). 

And had a close encounter with some Australian fur seals.

Joel and I tend to fancy ourselves adventurers when we’re on vacation.  We’re not the type that can stick to a resort for a week (or even beyond a day) and be happy.  In reality we’re probably no better than the rest of the camera clad, map wielding tourists at which we scoff.  But in our minds we’re the Lewis and Clark of the tourism industry.

KI is beautiful and I’m so glad we got a chance to get out and explore.  I can understand why the locals take such pride in their home.  And whether we’re far off explorers or zinc covered camera jockeys, KI made for some awesome memories and even better pictures.


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