Sunday, February 23, 2014

Australian South Coast: Kangaroos and Beaches! Together!!!

When most of us think of Australia, we imagine beaches and kangaroos. Much to my surprise and delight, you can actually have both at the same time. For some reason, I never put the two together. I just thought the 'roos would be bouncing around on some grasslands in the Outback, far from the coasts. I was wrong. It turns out, if you go to Pebbly Beach, the kangaroos just chill at the beach with you.
  But let me rewind a bit. This chapter began when Annette, Krista, and I were on tour of the South Coast region of Australia (which is really the southern part of the West Coast...) We had planned this portion of the trip to mostly involve the beach. There is a place called Jervis Bay that allegedly has the whitest sand in the entire world - as in Guinness Book of World Records whitest sand. We were obviously excited about that, so swung through to check it out as we made our way south. This is what we saw when we got to the world's whitest beach:

Maybe it's whiter when the sun is shining on it really hard???

So that was a little bit disappointing. Our white sand wasn't actually that white. Oh well. We had an entire day of beach bumming planned for the following day. Disappointment numero Dos was that the next day was freezing cold. Not just cool for the beach. It was actually cold. We all started the morning going to a market in t-shirts and shorts, and all decided to go back to the hotel and put on jeans and jackets... so we were foiled again. I guess it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe there was a shark attack with our name on it that day, and we avoided it thanks to the frigid weather...  So plan B was to just drive somewhere until we found something to do.  On our drive, we stumbled upon this Winery:

I don't remember the name of this place.
I will admit that I was not excited about stopping at the winery, but it ended up being really fun. First we met a group of wealthy Cougars that talked our ears off for the first hour we were there. They were full of suggestions for things to do in the area, and they were pretty entertaining. One of them gave me her card, in case I ever need to publish a book. Annette got some digits to see if they could arrange a lunch date back in Sydney the next week.  
The next few hours at the winery were spent visiting with some awesome Aussies that were there just chilling. If I lived in Australia, these would be the people I'd be friends with. There were two couples with their young children, and they were just generally cool people. We talked with them for a really long time. They felt bad the weather was not cooperating with our plans, and gave use the tip of going to Pebbly Beach to see the kangaroos. After looking at some pics on one of the guys' iphone, we agreed that we had to check it out. So when we left the winery, we went straight to the beach. We got there at dusk, which was not good for taking pictures, but it was prime time for kangaroo spotting.
How many 'roos can you spot? Isn't it amazing that they just hang out at the beach?

That 5th Leg can be a little perplexing, I know, but it is the baby kangaroo's leg poking out of the pouch!

They got really close to us. I was a little worried about getting kanga-kicked in the guts, but they were nothing but welcoming.

Just hopping around, eating some grass.

Check out the baby, eating grass from the pouch! 

Look at him putting his foot down on the ground.  adorable.


Standing on the beach with kangaroos bouncing around all over the place was seriously one of the coolest experiences I've had. 

  We wanted to relive the magic the next morning, which was the day we were supposed to be scooting back to Sydney as early as possible, so we decided to get up extra early and go back to Pebbly Beach to see the kangaroos again. As luck would have it, the weather was absolutely perfect for a beach day (since we were driving all day, of course). The beach was gorgeous, but the kangaroos were sleeping in, apparently.
Pebbly Beach

Same view with pretty flowers in front.

Annette looking easy breezy beautiful at Pebbly Beach.

We went back into the woods to try and spot some kangaroos. This is the best we got. Still pretty awesome, really. 

So on to Sydney we went, and rushed around to get all our arrangements made with hotels, rental cars, markets, etc so we could have time to hit up Bondi Beach before dark:
The waves here were awesome to play in. The water was a little chilly, but I had a blast body surfing for a couple hours while the girls soaked up the sun (and got exfoliated by the sand-blasting breeze) on the beach.

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