Yes, it is a real place!
We are currently living on Kangaroo Island, just a forty five minute ferry away from the mainland of South Australia. We were lucky enough to find paid work here on an abalone farm which counts towards our second year visa. If you don’t know, to be able to stay a second year in Australia on a working holiday visa, you have to do 88 days rural work to show you are contributing to Australia in a beneficial way. I had no idea what abalone was when I originally accepted the job but we took a chance and it has turned out swimmingly.
If like me you have never heard of abalone, it is basically a type of snail that kind of looks like an oyster. Truth be told I have been working here on Kangaroo Island for a good four weeks now and I am not 100% if that description is right, so please correct me if I am wrong. We found the job on Gumtree, and as we had the spent the majority of our money in Adelaide on James’ birthday, we both had our fingers crossed that it wasn’t a scam.
Starting out on Kangaroo Island
So we drove from Adelaide to Cape Jervis where we boarded the SeaLink ferry with our trusty Kia Sportage. When we docked on Kangaroo Island, we were warned over the tannoy about the importance of driving safely on the island due to the amount of wildlife roaming on the roads. Not surprisingly, Kangaroos being a chief suspect. We docked in Penneshaw while the caravan park we were staying at was in Brownlow, a short drive from the Islands “capital”, Kingscote. It took around forty minutes to drive there which didn’t bother us as it gave us a taster of what the island had to offer.
Not only did we have to pay three weeks rent up front (around $300 aus each), but we had to pay $90 each over for the ferry. I have heard that the ferry over to Kangaroo Island is the most expensive per kilometre in the world, but how much truth there is to this I don’t know. You can drive from the east side of the island to the west in around two and a half hours, so a car is definitely a necessity if you visit. There is not one taxi company on the island and I have also been told there is only five police cars but again, I am not sure how reliable my sources are.
Our work basically involves taking care of the abalone in their water tanks. They are bred there and it is our job to ensure they are cleaned, counted and fed daily. We don’t have to read to them or anything like that, just a little tlc. We work 7.30 a.m until 4 p.m Monday to Friday. While it is hard work we have definitely landed on our feet. I have heard horror stories about backpackers getting screwed over while doing there farm work. We have friends who worked all the hours under the sun, got paid buttons and were treated like rubbish. So I am extremely glad it turned out to be legit.
Kangaroo Island is stunning and what I would describe as “the true Australia”. It is a wildlife sanctuary with epic scenery and beautiful coastlines. It is home to Kuala bears, gazelles, wombats, seals, and pelicans to name a few. After living in Perth, WA for so long (and Liverpool, UK before that), it is really nice to be in a rural, quiet area away from bustling city centres.