Travel to Kangaroo Island and be amazed by the most pristine wilderness areas, spectacular scenery and abundance of native animals. Just a short distance from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is guaranteed to become the highlight of your Australia vacation.
Originally inhabited by the Aboriginal people up to about 2000 years ago, it was uninhabited when discovered by the British and French in the early 1800ís. It was the Frenchman, Nicholas Baudin, who mapped most of the southern part of the island hence the reason for capes and bays having French names. In 1836, Kangaroo Island was the first place in Australia to have a free settled European colony. Today you have approximately 4,500 people living here who are mainly farmers and fisherman. Though with the increase in tourism there is now quite a good size hospitality industry.
Traveling to Kangaroo Island you have a choice of flying or going by ferry. The flight into Kingscote takes 35 minutes by small plane, or a 45 minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis on the mainland to Penneshaw. Kangaroo Island, or KI as the locals like to call it, is approximately 100 miles across and takes 2 hours to drive. There are so many places to explore that the one regret many travelersí have is that they didnít spend enough time on the island.
The eastern area, home to the port of Penneshaw, is where many locals from the mainland come to vacation. Along with the nearby fishing village of American River, where a natural channel has formed a protected harbor, you will find safe swimming beaches, great fishing and sailing. As well as having a large number of Tammar Wallabies it is also a haven for birders.
Kingscote, the capital of the island, is one of the most important heritage sites in the state. A nearby penguin colony is popular for nocturnal tours and, as well, you can go pelican feeding.
Heartland, the middle of the island, is the agricultural hub where you will find the small country town of Pandarna. Home to the Soldier Settlement Museum, Pardana Wildlife Park, and the annual Speed Shearers event, it is a popular place to stay being close to the western part of the island. With gorgeous rolling hills, it is the area that you are most likely to find koalas.
The North Coast includes Emu, Snelling and Stokes Bays. This scenic area has secluded bays and coves and is great for watersports and fishing. A perfect place to relax!
The South Coast is the most popular place on Kangaroo Island and where you will find Australiaís best beach Ė Vivonne Bay. At Seal Bay Conservation Park, you will find the most accessible colonies of sea-lions and at Little Sahara the spectacular dunes of white sand are popular for sand-boarding.
The western region of the island is dramatic in a natural, rugged way and you will find an abundance of native animals. The unique yet spectacular Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch are worth the drive. Kelly Hills Cave has an interesting history and there is a gorgeous walk along the ocean-side cliff down to Hanson Bay. Be on the lookout as there are native animals everywhere.
Whether you like to stay in B&Bís, wilderness lodges or even a 5 star deluxe lodge, there are all types of accommodations for you to choose from. And what is better than a self-contained luxury retreat where you can sit with a glass of local wine and enjoy stunning coastline views.
The growth of the wine industry and large array of natural produce locally grown, Kangaroo Island is becoming a real food and wine destination. With 340 miles of coastline and great fishing, you have choices of fish, lobster, crayfish and crab. With bee farms making delicious honey, a local dairy producing sheepís milk cheeses, and stores selling gourmet jams and preserves, the island has become a gourmetís delight.
Kangaroo Island is a must on your travels to Australia. Whether you are there for the animals, the scenery or the food and wine, you will leave having had a great time.