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Black Swamp Trail

Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroo Island Links:

October 22nd, 2000

1.9 miles
105 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:32

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Before we left the parking lot, we saw crows picking at our car's tires. Jean threw a stick toward one. It actually bounced off the ground and hit one of the birds gently, but it wasn't fazed. It slowly walked away. We hoped our tires were okay when we came back.

Jean and the Cape Barren Geese

The trail starts out as a bunch of poles stuck in the grass, about 20 or 30 feet apart. Jean and I walked from one pole to the next, through a wide grassy area, all the while surrounded by Cape Barren Geese and kangaroos. It was Cape Barren Geese on the right and kangaroos on the left. Once in a while a goose or two would soar through the air majestically before returning to earth to feed on the grass.

Jean observing some kangaroos

We walked slowly, not because we were scared of anything, but because we were in their realm. It's like when you walk in a museum or a library -- you don't want to disturb anything. We could get fairly close to the kangaroos and we didn't seem to bother them. We kept walking and walking. At first we only saw a handful of kangaroos. But when we reached a point where we could see a large field off to our left, we suddenly saw dozens and dozens of kangaroos, all quietly feeding and hopping.

Kangaroos as far as the eye can see

We passed some eucalyptus trees and obediently looked up like the signs told us to, to see if we could spot any koalas. Unfortunately they're a bit more shy than the kangaroos and Cape Barren Geese. The whole time we were in Australia we never did see a koala. From what we've heard, though, perhaps that's best. We've heard that they smell, and if they get in your tent they piss and poop all over the place and you can't get them out. So perhaps it's just as well...

Mother and child

The trail soon joins an old dirt road. We walked along, past small ponds in the road and past more eucalyptus trees. Kangaroos hopped along in front of us, behind us, and on either side. It was quite amusing.

Soon enough we came to the Black Swamp. There are wooden walkways on one side of the swamp, and we made our way over to them. The point is to sit there on the planks, silently, and hope that you're lucky enough to spot a platypus. At one point it was feared that they would become extinct, so 40 of them were placed on Kangaroo Island in the early 1900's. They're still on the island, but they're a rare sighting. We were not so lucky today. All we saw was the very dark water of the Black Swamp. It was actually quite eerie, seeing water so dark bubbling and gurgling past us.

The Black Swamp

The sun was setting. It shined brightly through the eucalyptus trees around the swamp, creating a beautiful reflection in the swamp. We made our way quickly back the way we came, managing to make it back before sunset and verifying that the crows hadn't made any progress on our tires.

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