Totally wild by bnmbgtrtr52


									8 LIFE & ARTS                                                  ★                                                                                                                                                                                  FINANCIAL TIMES MAY 15/MAY 16 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Left, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rocks form
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              part of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Inset, a sea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lion at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seal Bay
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Corbis, Alamy

                                                                                                Totally wild
                      Australia’s remote Kangaroo Island offers a pristine environment for some thrilling species. By Andrew Jefford

                         ky House, my home for the night,                                        that’s one reason why deputy mayor Craig             along the roadside like furry bollards, and                           forest is still recovering from a fire in 2007.
                         is perched high on a hill, its                                          Wickham doesn’t object to the high cost of           lolloping through the scrub. Wedge-tailed                             The Remarkable Rocks (abstract forms cut
                         rammed earth walls in Moorish                                           the ferry. “It’s an effective filter of low-         eagles do their best to control them in the                           by rain, wind and salt) prove that granite
                         style, all lanterns and arches. The                                     grade tourism. We tend not to get people             absence of foxes; the piles of bleached                               can be moving, while the fur seals by Admi-
                         hillside grasses had silvered at                                        doing dumb things. We don’t get drunks,              bones testify to their efforts.                                       ral’s Arch at Cape du Couedic, where the
                summer’s end, dropping down to a bay                                             fights, graffiti. It’s still a challenge, as 2,500     Rarer and so more thrilling are glossy                              Great Southern Ocean pounds caves, act
                whose waves, on this windless evening,                                           ratepayers have to try to maintain the               black cockatoos, of which Kangaroo Island                             out a blubbery soap opera.
                unfurl languidly over the shell sand. Din-                                       infrastructure for around 180,000 visitors a         once again has its own (endangered) sub-                                 Most precious of all, though, is a small
                ner is served on white linen under a cav-                                        year, but it keeps the place special.”               species. If you creep carefully through the                           19th-century immigrant: the Ligurian bee.
                ernous fig tree set back from the shore.                                            Craig also runs a touring company called          casuarina trees, which sough hauntingly                               The island was far-sightedly declared a
                   Bedtime brings a creamy onslaught of                                          Exceptional Kangaroo Island, and is an               when the wind is up, you may catch the                                sanctuary for this strain of European hon-
                stars; a harvest moon creeps up behind the                                       adept chef. After a morning spent parrying           rustle of beak on cone before seeing a feed-                          eybee as far back as 1885; and the popula-
                hills to the east, orange as mimolette                                           questions about the island’s prolific flora          ing group flee your presence.                                         tion is still pure, healthy and industrious.
                cheese. We leave the curtains undrawn; it                                        and fauna and its exciting geology, he                 Kangaroo Island’s landscapes are various,                           There are 4,000 hives on the island, and
                would be crass to veil such a scene.                                             uncovers a tented barbecue area in the               though magnificent (and usually empty)                                Ligurian bees are docile enough for their
                   Kangaroo Island – Australia’s third-larg-                                     bush, and dons an apron. He cooks King               beaches of white sand are a leitmotif.                                keepers to work without protection.
                est island, after Tasmania and Melville                                          George whiting and sautés potatoes with              Flinders Chase National Park at the west                              Depending on the time at which the honey
                Island – lies 16km (10 miles) from the South                                     a salad and wine, which we eat while                 end of the island is an essential visit, even                         is gathered, you can taste the different
                Australian mainland. South Australians                                           discussing local politics.                           though you pay to enter and most of its                               eucalyptus floras sweetly transmuted –
                tend to disdain it, perhaps dissuaded by the                                        Kangaroo Island sometimes claims to be                                                                                  flowery mallee, tangy stringy bark, delicate
                high cost of the ferry crossing (A$172/£105                                      “Australia’s Galapagos”. That’s necessarily                                                                    20 km       sugar gum and creamy cup gum.
                return for a car), reputedly the world’s                                         fanciful, as the island is neither as rich in                                                                                 One reason why Australia’s early settlers
                most expensive.                                                                  unique species nor as remote as Ecuador’s                                                                                  nearly starved to death was that they omit-
                   International visitors, by contrast, love                                     unique archipelago, but it certainly has                                                                                   ted to bring bees to pollenate their fruit
                it. It’s beautiful, unspoiled, remote and                                        wildlife in profusion, including species of                                             North Cape             Cape        trees and crops; many, meanwhile, believe
                teeming with wildlife: a one-visit synopsis                                      its own. The most evident of these is the                                                                    Jervis        that recent global declines in honeybee
                                                                                                                                                                                    Brownlow            Kingscote
                of the southern shore of the continent. In                                       Darma wallaby, KI’s own sub-species of the                                                                                 populations due to varroa mite, loss of wild
                Lifetime Private Retreats and the more                                           Tammar wallaby. It’s extinct on the South                               Kangaroo                                           flowers and use of agricultural sprays may
                recently built Southern Ocean Lodge, it        MORE TRAVEL                       Australian mainland but is regarded as               Rav i n e Des
                                                                                                                                                      C a soa rs N P
                                                                                                                                                                          Island                                            have grave consequences for our food
                also has some of the country’s finest                                            “vermin” on the island, where it breeds                                                 Cape                               chain. Few environments could be more
                accommodation.                                 See this weekend’s luxury         with honeymoon enthusiasm. In dry                      F l i n d e rs             G a n t h ea u m e                       pristine for the tiny workers, or more nour-
                                                                                                                                                                          Vi vo n n e      NP
                   Sky House is one of the three houses that   travel special in the FT’s How    weather, it waits until dusk before ventur-           C h a se N P
                                                                                                                                                                             B ay                                           ishing for travellers, than this morsel of an
                constitute Lifetime Private Retreats, devel-   To Spend It magazine              ing out. After rain, though, the wee walla-                                                                                ancient land, adrift in the Southern Ocean
                oped by artist Nick Hannaford and his sis-                                       bies are everywhere, punctuating the bush                                                                                  under skies that never end.
                ter Rachel from a property acquired by
                their grandfather, Sir James Holden, a
                member of Australia’s one-time leading          KANGAROO ISLAND
                car-building family (Holden is now General
                Motors in Australia). The property lies at
                the end of a long series of dirt roads
                through the bush, and the houses can
                                                                More than a hop, skip or jump
                either be rented as self-catering units, or     Travel                               Accommodation                         accommodation, see                               offers small group tours.                   Eating and drinking
                you can pay to have your every wish             The easiest way to get to the        Luxury accommodation is               www.kangarooislandholidayacco                    Quad bike and kayak tours                   Sample honey at Island Beehive
                catered for.                                    island is to take the short          available from Lifetime Private, or tel: +61                    are available from Kangaroo                 (www.island­, tel:
                   Nick’s cooking, using local ingredients      scheduled Rex Airlines flight        Retreats (­,       8 8553 9007. B&B is available                    Island Outdoor Action                       +61 8 8553 0080). Find yoghurt
                including samphire from the river running       from Adelaide to Kingscote, its      tel: +61 8 8559 2248), pictured,      at Stranraer Homestead                           (,                and cheese at Island Pure
                into the bay as well as fish, crayfish and      largest town (,       on the north coast; and               (,                           tel: +61 8 8559 4296).                      Sheep Dairy (tel: +61 8 8553
                lamb, is some of the subtlest I’ve had in       or charters from Air South           Southern Ocean Lodge                  tel: +66 8 8553 8235);                                                                       9110), and crayfish at Andermel
                Australia. If the weather discourages din-      (,                (          eco­camping from Flour                                                                       Marron (, tel:
                ing under the fig tree, there’s a private       tel: +61 8 8234 3244). Or drive      au, tel: +61 2 9918 4355) on          Cask Bay Sanctuary                                                                           +61 8 8559 4114). The finest
                beach shack or, for larger groups, a candle-    from Adelaide to Cape Jervis         the south coast. The closest          (,                                                               winery is The Islander Estate
                lit shearing shed.                              (106km/66 miles), from where         accommodation to Flinders             tel: +61 9 8553 7278).                                                                       (, tel: +61 8
                   Kangaroo Island has an intimate feel:        you can use the Kangaroo             Chase National Park is                                                                                                             8553 9008). Good restaurants
                                                                Island Sealink Ferry                 Kangaroo Island Wilderness            Tours                                                                                        include Bella in Kingscote
                                                                ( Budget,        Retreat (, tel: +61       Exceptional Kangaroo Island                                                                  (tel: +61 8 8553 0400) and
Travel                                                          ( and Hertz
                                                                ( rent cars.
                                                                                                     8 8559 7275). For hotels,
                                                                                                     budget and self­catering
                                                                                                                                           com, tel: +61 8 8553 9119)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorrento’s in Penneshaw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (tel: +61 8 8553 1028).


                                                                                                                  Smitten with Brittany
                                                               The simple pleasures that lured painters such as Gauguin to the French region are intact. By Richard Holledge

                                                                        rittany does not feel    serve local fare such as           guin-esque sunsets, fisher-             for example, will take you                      bottle of Muscadet-sur-Lie.      bour wall singing along to
                                                                        like a holiday desti-    crêpes and fruits de mer.          men and tillers of the soil.            to Port Belon with its typi-                      For more simple fare, try      their accordions, and stop
                                                                        nation in crisis. The       That’s what has drawn             One of the best ways to               cal granite houses, moored                      La Crêperie just opposite,       at Le Suroit, where fisher-
                                                                        seafood platters are     visitors here since artists        get to know the area                    yachts, small château – and                     which offers traditional Bre-    men in flat tweed hats and
                                                               piled improbably high, the        colonised the region in the        around Pont-Aven is to join             Chez Jacky restaurant.                          ton galettes stuffed with        fulsome moustaches drink
                                                               cider fizzes gently on the        19th century. Few places           the long-distance trail, the              The name may suggest a                        spinach or cheese as a first     the dark local beer and eat
Property Owners                                                palate and only the clatter       attracted more of them than        Grande Randonnée 34. It                 diner on London’s North                         course, followed by crêpes       assiettes de poissons fumés.
                                                               of yachts’ rigging disturbs       the fishing village of Pont-       follows the coast along                 Circular Road but this is                       with     chocolate,    Grand       Surely this is enough to
                                                               the peace.                        Aven in Finistère, on the          cliffs of gorse and pine,               the home of the Belon oys-                      Marnier or the local favour-     entice the crowds? Michael
                                                                  But crisis there is.           west coast of Brittany. “A         passing hamlets, headlands              ter, a delicately flavoured                     ite, sugar and butter.           Dodds, an Anglo-Irishman
                                                               According to Brittany’s           little inexpensive hole of a       and small ports. Detour                 bivalve that has gourmands                        The GR 34 meanders             who is the region’s market-
                                                               daily newspaper Le Télé-          place” was how painter             inland and the scene is one             travelling from all over the                    along the coast through the      ing director, says the rea-
                                                               gramme, 15 per cent fewer         Félix Jobbé-Duval described        of mellow meadows and                   world to sample it. The res-                    village of Brigneau, then on     sons for the drop in British
                                                               nights are being spent in         it to Paul Gauguin in 1886.        wooded paths fringed with               taurant farms them in the                       to Le Pouldu, where Gau-         visitors has been the fall in
                                                               the region than 12 years ago      Gauguin set up easel here          primroses and violas.                   60 acres of estuary that it                     guin moved in 1889, com-         the pound, the increase in
                                                               and the British, who once         and started what became              And there are plenty of               overlooks and serves them                       plaining of the crowds in        low-cost flights to south-
                                                               made up 50 per cent of over-      the Pont-Aven school.              chambres d’hôtes nearby to              alongside its signature dish,                   Pont-Aven. He wrote: “I am       west France and the open-
                                                               seas visitors, have slipped          Some of the scenes that         use as a base. Just as essen-           fruits de mer royale. This                      beside the sea in a fisher-      ing up of new destinations
                                                               to 40 per cent, deterred by       inspired the artists will be       tial are places to eat at reg-          noble feast costs a reasona-                    man’s inn near a village of      with high-speed TGV trains.
                                                               the strong euro. Can Brit-        on display at Tate Modern‘s        ular intervals: a good morn-            ble €130 (£110) for two and                     150 inhabitants. I live here       He plans to appeal to a
                                                               tany compete with low-cost        Gauguin exhibition in Sep-         ing’s walk from Pont-Aven,              is best washed down with a                      like a peasant as if I was a     younger audience by pro-
                                                               resorts and new destina-          tember and one can still see                                                                                               savage.”                         moting the annual Festival
                                                               tions such as Tunisia and         the attraction. Pont-Aven is                                                                                                 Today Le Pouldu is a hec-      des Vieilles Charrues – The
                                                               Morocco, the paper asks?          a pretty little town divided                                                                                               tic resort full of surf clubs,   Old Ploughs – a pop concert
                                                                  Over a dish of oysters and     by a river that rushes to the                                                                                              bars and holiday homes.          which will be headed by
                                                               a glass of Muscadet in a          sea. It used to power 14                                                                                                   Gauguin stayed in the Hôtel      Mika and Muse in the mar-
                                                               harbourside       café,    the    watermills, which ground                                                                                                   de la Plage, now a museum        ket town of Carhaix.
                                                               answer becomes apparent.          grain into flour before being                                                                                              with copies of the paintings       “People don’t know any-
                                                               Do nothing.                       exported to destinations                                                                                                   Gauguin and his fellow art-      thing about the festival,” he
                                                                  What makes Brittany so         such as England. Now the                                                                                                   ists daubed directly on to       says. “We had Bruce
                                                               special is precisely that it is   only operating wheel is the                                                                                                the walls. Such is the           Springsteen here last year.”
                                                               not Tunisia or Morocco or         centre of attraction in the                                                                                                change in the village that         Yet Dodds knows he can-
                                                               an “all-inclusive” resort.        Restaurant Le Moulin du                                                                                                    the headland he painted in       not stray from the region’s
                                                               This is a region of simple        Grand Poulguin, one of the                                                                                                 “Harvest: Le Pouldu” (1890)      true spirit. “Brittany is
                                                               pleasures; clear skies and        village’s many crêperies                                                                                                   is crowded out by buildings.     about simple pleasures,” he
                                                               sandy beaches, walking,           and cafés that share the                                                                                                     Better to walk back to the     says. “It’s not chic, not
                                                               fishing and boating, and          streets with countless art                                                                                                 port of Doëlan, pause to lis-    glamorous, pas de bling-
                                                               eating in restaurants that        galleries, all boasting Gau-       Inspiring Pont­Aven, an artists’ colony in Finistère                           Corbis   ten to a couple on the har-      bling, as they say here.”

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