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Words & Photography by Kylie Bell
Remarkable Rocks Kangaroo Island (IMG_3302) Watermarked (Kylie Bell Photography)-min.jpg

Remarkable Rocks (Kangaroo Island)  Photograph by Kylie Bell

Arriving at Remarkable Rocks, on the edge of Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island, and after a long, five-year break in what would usually be an annual pilgrimage back, I felt like I was finally home. The collection of peculiar granite boulders, balanced atop a much larger granite boulder protruding up and out of the ocean, holds a special place in my heart. It’s a place of grounding for me, nostalgia and inspiration. It’s also my second home, part of my identity, alongside my family; a place of anchoring. Standing beside this geological wonder, and looking out across the landscape, it was healing to take in the regrowth after the havoc that had occurred just a few years prior; when Kangaroo Island, its wildlife and the local community experienced devastating fires that swept over two thirds of the island, starting here in this national park. The impact was extensive, taking lives and destroying the natural habitats of the island's wildlife, as well as destroying homes and livelihoods on the island. This was further compounded by the outbreak of COVID19 shortly after, with elements of post-recovery still felt today in the local community. Everywhere we went since we arrived back to Kangaroo Island, we heard the stories of the islanders' experiences, the sadness and the impacts that occurred. 

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Kylie Bell at the Remarkable Rocks (Kangaroo Island)  Photograph by Kylie Bell

Fires were not new to this island; I had grown up listening to stories from my parents, family, and the stories told from generations before them, who all volunteered, and some still today, on the islands volunteer firefighting brigade. Unfortunately, the geography, terrain, vegetation, climate and the occurrence of lightning strikes all make the ingredients for fire on this island, particularly out here on the western end. Yet this time, there was no doubt, this had been the worst. It shook the community to the core. For me, coming home, and standing here at the Remarkable Rocks, surveying the landscape that lay before me, I felt amazed at the power of nature. In the years since, the regrowth was incredible; nature emerging from the ashes, repainting the landscape, as I recall the contrasting photographs, post the 2019 fires we had seen from family the day prior. I felt filled with a sense of rebirth and hope; all the more reason to return, and in my small way, among other travellers, support the local community. In turn, visitors will be able to experience and marvel at the natural beauty of Australia’s third largest island. 

Kangaroo Island is home to an array of Australian wildlife, birdlife, aquatic mammals and sea life. As well as stunning landscapes, numerous empty white beaches, delicious local cuisine and glorious South Australian weather. It’s a place that has grown and continues to grow and evolve. It's the place where my family decided to come to and settle, first in Adelaide shortly after its founding in 1836, then moving to Kangaroo Island in 1851; leaving their homelands abroad on the news a new settlement was being planned in the new colony of Australia. It is a place of tenacity, strength, perseverance for the islanders here. It’s the Australian ‘hard-yakka' across the generations and a place my family have loved across that time. 

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Come on the journey, as we explore our island state of Tasmania and beyond, through the medium of photography and travel stories. Lost Oar is my travel and photography journal, through which I hope to inspire you to seek out your adventure too. Lost Oar is fuelled by an insatiable passion for adventure travel, hiking, geology, and landscape photography.


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Remarkable Rocks (Kangaroo Island)  Photograph by Kylie Bell

Returning to where I stand, I spin to soak in the vast Southern Ocean, then back to the peculiar, but stunning collection of Ordovician granite boulders standing here with me, watching over the landscape – only they had been here much, much longer than I. I can understand why the Remarkable Rocks remains to this day one of our continents most recognizable natural icons; drawing visitors from across the globe every year. So much so that to my family’s excitement a handful of years ago, when we all purchased our tickets, popcorn in hand, and piled into the movie theatre to watch the Hollywood film, December Boys. The lead role was cast to Daniel Radcliff (known for playing the character of Harry Potter) and filmed on Kangaroo Island, which included the Remarkable Rocks as one of the shooting locations. 

Many wonder, as do I, why are these boulders here? These giant pieces of Ordovician granite, sculpted and carved out by centuries of erosion, being poised beside the huge expanse and prevailing winds of the Southern Ocean. Or, as my creative mind muses, they appear as though giants had once placed them here; emptied from their pockets and left here to balance on the edge of the landscape, much like rocks found on hiking trails today, marking the route for future explorers.  

Beyond this point, I glance west, across the bay towards Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse, which has protected sailors for many generations. Then down to where Admiral’s Arch lies, just tucked behind the sea cliffs; our next stop and where the Long-Nose Fur Seals put up their flippers, sunning themselves on the beautiful coastline. Flinders Chase National Park is Kangaroo Islands jewel in the crown as they say. On your visit, make sure you put aside a full day to explore the iconic Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, but also Weirs Lookout and Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse.  

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