The Islander editorial – Did you survive the holiday crowds?

The larger Qantas Q400 aircraft flies direct to Melbourne from Kingscote, Kangaroo Island in December and January.
The larger Qantas Q400 aircraft flies direct to Melbourne from Kingscote, Kangaroo Island in December and January.

Having just returned from the uncomfortably packed South Coast NSW, where it could take one hour to drive 3km in some seaside towns, I can’t say enough how delightful it is to be back on Island. 

It was interesting to depart and arrive on the larger Qantas Q400 aircraft direct to Melbourne, with all flights I experienced at least half full, being a positive for tourism, depending on how you look at your glass.

Posting a photo of a relatively uncrowded beach at Emu Bay on the afternoon of January 4, noting it was “The coolest beach around”, generated some lovely responses that showed how much people treasure that particular stretch of sand.

There has been some feedback that it was very busy on the Island, perhaps no more than normal, but still busy, which is great for all our local businesses.

On the negative side of having such a glut of visitors, wildlife has suffered on the roads and there have been long lines at some of the attractions and supermarket, but I think as locals living in paradise, we still have it very good here, even in peak season. 

Speaking of holiday crowds, boaties were disappointed not to have the new ramp at Emu Bay. Mayor Michael Pengilly said he had considerable comment directed at him regards the status of the project and ability to launch on low tide.

“I’ve had a number of unhappy boaties approach me,” Mr Pengilly said. He is also considering a request for a public meeting on site with the council’s project manager and others, including the Emu Bay Progress Association. 

Another tourism issue, apparent from Sara’s letter about cruise ship visitations, is the influx of ship passengers we are experiencing at the moment.

This week was set to be one of the busiest of the record 28-ship season with vessels scheduled to arrive at Penneshaw on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. If you think that is too many, the good news is the next is only supposed to be on Australia Day. Maybe they’re coming for the races! 

The KI Council is set to address this issue with one idea being to make tenders dock at Christmas Cove, thereby allowing the council to collect a landing fee to offset the costs of the extra visitations. They will need to find and remediate the mystery Penneshaw fuel leak first though!

And finally despite all the crowds, the fishing is good, so what do we really have to complain about! - Stan Gorton