A Nature Lover’s Guide To Kangaroo Island
Laying claim to ‘Australia’s best beach’ title, national parks, native wildlife like sea lions, koalas, and of course, kangaroos, one small island kicks a lot of boxes, with a population of less than 5,000.
It’s a pristine, isolated island that is more than a one third protected nature reserves. The ‘KI kangaroo’ is indigenous to the island. It can’t be found anywhere else on earth. Unlike other beautiful natural tourist attractions, Kangaroo Island hasn’t succumbed to pressure to expand economically. There’s no fast food chains or even traffic lights on the island.
If there’s one word that describes Kangaroo Island best, it’s seclusion. KI is sans crowds of people, traffic, and for some parts of the island, mobile reception. From the striking coastal rock formations in Flinders Chase National Park to the crystal clear turquoise water of Vivonne Bay, you’ll have it all to yourself.
The best way to see KI is by car. Bring it over on the ferry and explore this mysterious island without the pressure of time. From conservation parks and lush farmland to surf breaks, wineries and artisanal food, get ready to be charmed.
From steep coastal cliffs and white-sanded beaches to KI’s caves to parks, you’re in for an adventure.
Everyone should experience having the beach to themselves at one stage in their life. The north coast beaches of KI includes King George Beach, Stokes Bay and Snellings Beach. Keep your binoculars close by. If you’re lucky enough at Emu Bay, fairy penguins might join you to watch the sunset.
Flinders Chase National Park & Remarkable Rocks
Out west, explore waterways, forests, caves and natural rock sculptures in the Flinders Chase National Park. Tie up your bootlaces and go hiking the various trails and boardwalks. Marvel at the bizzare ‘how did the wind do this’ boulders that have turned into shapes – one of the most famous being Remarkable Rocks. You can’t miss the mystical, ever-powerful Admirals Arch.
Spot the thousands of fur seals that put on a show at Cape du Couedic. If you’re feeling adventurous, sleep in the park at one of the campsites. Wake up to the sounds of the birds (and kangaroos) who live around the borders.
Kelly Hill Conservation Park
Take an expedition through the limestone cave system of the Kelly Hill Conservation Park. A guide can take you through the underground maze of caverns. Feeling squeamish? Stick to the walking trails over to Hanson Bay. There will be plenty of sights to occupy you, including freshwater lagoons and the wildlife sanctuary.
Some moments take your breath away. Be prepared for this when you step foot onto that white, almost translucent sand at Vivonne Bay. Let your eyes dance with the turquoise green water and darker blue tones from the coral… the green waves turning white as they nears you. For that adrenaline hit to shake up your peaceful state, head to the sand dunes of Little Sahara. Hike, quad bike or sand board in KI’s ‘small desert.’
The 900-metre boardwalk at Seal Bay is the only place in the world where you can see Australian sea lions living naturally. Respect the signs and don’t go beyond them. Just take in that fresh sea air and watch the seals surf the waves. For a relaxing spot to look at all the amazing photos you’ve taken so far, head to Bales Beach. Pack a picnic, cook a barbecue, and let the silence ease away the tenseness of city living.
No South Australian holiday would be complete without good wine and gourmet food. Kangaroo Island is the underdog of the state’s wine regions. But there’s something KI has that other spots don’t: wine, in the wild.
While the island is peppered with vineyards, wineries and cellar doors – like Dudley Wines, Bay of Shoals Wines and False Cape Wines – boutique drops are in, too. KI’s cellar door trail is strengthened by the local produce. The natural unspoilt environment produces incredible seafood, rich fruits, olive oil, sauces, marinades, and cheeses – all wine’s perfect pairing.
Whether you’re a ‘I pack everything into a day’ traveller or prefer to plan nothing, you’ll fall for Kangaroo Island.
Published 25 April, 2018