Kangaroo Island is a paradise offering an abundance of landscapes, flora and fauna. All animals live in their natural habitat here. If you're visiting, you might be lucky enough to spot kangaroos, wallabies, koala bears, penguins or one of the endangered Australian sea lions might cross your way.
There are five different ways to discover the island, depending on your taste and location.
Discovering the Fauna
It doesn't matter which animals you most like, here you will find one you will most certainly like. Promised! Pelicans flying, seals sunbathing on the Admiral's Arch, sea lions lying along Seal Bay or koalas sleeping all day in the trees is fun to watch and something you will always remember.
While sitting on the sand stands in Penneshaw, you may watch the penguins walking by doing their evening walk. You may stay overnight in historical buildings. You must see the oldest lighthouses of Southern Australia: Cape Willoughby, Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic.
If you are a water sports lover, why don't you try out swimming along the remote beaches of Stokes Bay or visit Vivionne Bay, which is the perfect place to go surfing. And if fishing is something you do or would like to do, we recommend Emu Bay.
The underground caves of the Kelly Hill Conservation Parks or the rock formations in the Flinders Chase National Park will make the heart of any fully-fledged explorer beat higher.
A Journey Through Culinary Delights
At Cape Willoughby you may expect to see the island's largest and oldest vineyards. If you're in the mood for something meaty, the farms in MacGillivray and Kingscote are just the right thing for you. You will, above all, come to taste sheep's cheese and Ligurian honey. The island is packed with cafés and restaurants allowing moments of rest and culinary delights. Enjoy the taste of oysters while watching the waves at Nepean Bay, alternatively you may try out other seafood in Penneshaw. The south coast and the rock pool in Parndana are also worth a visit as a variety of delicacies are offered here. If all that touristy stuff doesn't appeal to you, you may as well just prepare your favourite food at home and take it with you when in the mood for walking the island and have a picnic at places you most fancy.
On the Trail of Sailors, Soldiers, Explorers and Aborigines
Cape Willoughby on Dudley Island literally is a highlight not to be missed and what is more, you may stay overnight in the hut of the lighthouse keeper if you wish. Should you want to learn more about history, we recommend you to pay a visit to the Flinders Chase National Park as you will get to see and read the diaries of the lighthouse keepers at Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic lighthouses. Additionally, you may explore the ship wrecks of Portland Maru and Loch Vennachar diving. Both once drifted on to rocks and ran aground in 1905.
At Reeves Point, you may visit the original mulberry tree, the well, the landing stage and the post office in the first European settlement of South Australia.
The Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum informs about the soldiers who once discovered and cultivated the land. You also find tools and a storage place of those who once inhabited the place earlier, the Aborigines. These tools are all evidence that the island used to be inhabited 16,000 years ago. In the course of time, it was abandoned over and over again.
A Paradise for Swimming, Snorkelling and Diving
The landing stage near Emu Bay is a perfect place to go fishing. You may just as well go on a tour along the American River, Penneshaw, Kingscote or Emu Bay. If you feel like swimming, the rock pool at Stokes Bay or the area at Penneshaw Beach are most suitable places to do so. For some surf fun Stokes, Vivonne or Pennington are the best places. At the Nepean Bay sailing is fun and the lagoons of the Antechamber Bay are perfect for canoeing if you feel like it. And if you ever wished to experience the beauty of diving, then Australia is the best place to learn this art of navigating the breathtaking underwater world surrounding Kangaroo Island.
An Adventurous Island
Apart from its fauna, Kangaroo Island has an impressive landscape. You might want to cycle the entire island (in case you have a bicycle at hand) and discover all there is, from small places to national parks.
A childhood dream might come true for you at the Kelly Hill Conservation Park where you can slip into the world of a speleologist and explore caves or you discover the area on a round trip. Located in the Flinders Chase National Park, the “Remarkable Rocks” are something you shouldn't miss for anything in the world, especially during sunset.
When you're here and have still some time left, it's worth visiting the lobster, lavender and dairy farms in Kingscote District.
After Tasmania and Melville Island, Kangaroo Island is Australia's third largest island. It's more or less just 15 km (9.3 mi) off the coastline of the Fleurieu peninsula, both part of the federal state South Australia. Both areas are separated by the Backstairs Passage. The island is approximately 145 km (90 mi) long, between 900 m (984 yd) and 60 km (37 mi) wide. With the coastline measuring 509 km (316 mi), the island encompasses a surface of 4,400 km² (440,000 ha).
Up to 10,000 years ago, Kangaroo Island used to be a part of mainland Australia. It became an island due to rising sea levels. Thanks to many archaeological finds that have dug up tools and storage places, it is assumed that the island was already inhabited 16,000 years ago. The Aborigines, Australia's indigenous population, left the island around 200 BC. The real reason for it is still unknown, but it is assumed that various diseases, fights between clans, population drain and climate change had led to the island losing its population.
The island was given its name, Kangaroo Island, back in 1802 when British explorer Matthew Flinders landed in the vicinity of Kangaroo Head at the northern coastline of the Dudley Peninsula. The following period was determined by seal hunters who used to kidnap aboriginal women from Tasmania and mainland Australia to cultivate Kangaroo Island. On 27th July 1836 the first official European settlement was founded at Reeves Point named Kingscote. The name has remained the same since. At the same time, the area is the largest place on the island.
How to get there
The island can only be reached by taking the car ferry Sealink, operating between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. A single ride usually takes up to 50 minutes. Due to the stormy sea conditions, it is recommended to take medication against motion sickness with you. Please also make sure you double-check with your car rental whether or not you are allowed to take the rented vehicle with you on the island and whether you're insured. In case your preferred car rental doesn't provide this service, you'll find car rental stations in Penneshaw and Kingscote. You predominantly drive on gravel roads, only the way to Flinders Chase National Park is paved.
You can also get onto the island via Adelaide by plane. The flight takes about half an hour and you arrive at an airport located southwest from Kingscote.
Travelling to Adelaide
Adelaide Airport is the fifth largest airport in Australia and internationally well-connected.
Travelling to Cape Jervis
From Adelaide you can comfortably reach Cape Jervis by car. To get there, starting at the city centre, you head towards the south on the A13 that eventually turns to B23. If you stay on this road, you get directly to Cape Jervis.