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Rediscovering Kangaroo Island

After bushfires ravaged Kangaroo Island in late 2019 and early 2020, there’s never been a better time to get behind its tight-knit community and explore its abundant beauty. From the second you jump off the ferry in Penneshaw, you’ll be inundated with amazing landscapes and untouched wilderness.  From the crystal-clear waters of Vivonne Bay to the sprawling sand dunes of Little Sahara, there’s plenty on Kangaroo Island to make your holiday one to remember.  Here are our top tips for exploring Kangaroo Island and, in the process, supporting local businesses.



How to get there

Kangaroo Island is accessible via Adelaide. If you’ve driven down from the NT, you can take your car on the ferry.  Otherwise you can hire a car when you arrive on the island. Kangaroo Island SeaLink operates a ferry service from mainland SA to the island that runs seven days a week.  The ferry leaves from Cape Jervis, which is a 90-minute drive from Adelaide, and arrives in Penneshaw.  While the drive to Cape Jervis is fairly straight-forward, thanks to the multi-lane Southern Expressway, you can break up your journey by stopping at Normanville.  Swing by One Little Sister, a cosy eatery just off the main street, where you’ll get your caffeine fix and some delicious homemade cakes.  Make sure you allow plenty of time to make it to Cape Jervis though, as you need to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure.  If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot some dolphins or seals playing in the shallows, before you board your ferry.  

Rest and relaxation

If you’re interested in recharging your batteries, Kangaroo Island is the place for you. While there are plenty of options for adventure-seekers, KI has long been a favourite for travellers looking to relax.  Dudley Wines is the ideal place to taste some of the island’s excellent produce while taking in the panoramic views.  You can also stop by Kangaroo Island Spirits, just outside Kingscote, to taste some of their award-winning gin.  While you’re in the area, stop at Clifford’s Honey Farm, home to world-famous Ligurian honey products.  The Ligurian bees on Kangaroo Island are believed to be the last remaining pure strain of the insect anywhere in the world.  Try Jenny’s famous honey ice cream and learn how the sweet nectar is produced and extracted.  After a relaxing day of tasting your way around the island, take a load off at Ecopia Retreat.  Situated on 150 acres of natural wilderness near Seal Bay, the retreat offers the best of both worlds.  Feast your eyes on uninterrupted views of the neighbouring wildlife, then indulge in all the luxury facilities you’d normally find in lavish hotels.

Adventure and excitement

Adrenaline junkies don’t have to look far for their next adventure when visiting Kangaroo Island.  There are plenty of top-quality spots for surfing, while on land, Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action will take you on a high-speed quadbike tour of 500 acres.  of bushland near Vivonne Bay.  The four-wheel adventure will give you a rare glimpse of parts of the island that are slowly recovering after the bushfires.  While on the water, you can get a glimpse of the local marine life on board one of Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari’s tour boats.  If you’re feeling daring, jump in the water to get up close and personal with wild dolphins and seals.

Family friendly

Kangaroo Island has a range of activities for both parents and their children. No matter your age, you’ll get a kick out of hurtling down the massive sand dunes at Little Sahara.  You can then swing by Vivonne Bay General Store to try their famous whiting burger before going for a dip in the crystal-clear water at nearby Vivonne Bay.  Kids will also get a kick out of climbing the Remarkable Rocks, perched above the sea in Flinders Chase National Park, which has reopened to the public following the recent bushfires.

No fuss

If you just want to sit back and let a local guide show you the sights, there’s a range of amazing tour operator on the island.  You’ll be spoilt for choice thanks to SeaLink SA, which offers a range of wildlife and adventure tours throughout the island.  And if you’re looking to get off the beaten track, the team at Kangaroo Island Hire a Guide can take you on a 4WD tour.

Before you go

Before setting off, there are a few important things to organise in advance to make sure your trip runs smoothly.  Firstly, it’s essential to hire a car if you don’t plan on bringing your own. A set of wheels allows you to travel to all corners of the island and experience everything it has to offer.  If you don’t have your own vehicle, youcan jump on board the SeaLink transferbus which travels from Adelaide Central Bus Station to Cape Jervis and then pick up a pre-booked car at Kangaroo Island Connect Car Rental when you disembark the ferry in Penneshaw.  You’ll also need to book your ferry as early as possible to ensure there’s a spot for you.  The island is a haven for holidaymakers across the country, especially during summer and school holidays, meaning available spaces on the ferry can quickly disappear. This is also applies to accommodation, so make sure to book well in advance.

As its name suggests, Kangaroo Island is jam-packed with wildlife so keep an eye out for animals, which may cross the road.

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