Visiting Australia? Discover the hidden treasure of South Australia, Kangaroo Island – a very special place.Let me start by saying that I used the word “hidden” in the blog title for a reason. The first time I ever heard about this place (while living in Australia) was from the international visitor. Although Kangaroo Island is a popular tourist attraction, Australia doesn’t seem to be heavily promoting this place, perhaps to preserve the natural beauty of the island. I had only lived in Australia for a few years at that time but amazingly many native Aussies haven’t ever heard about this majestic place, with 509km of coastline that boasts pristine beaches, native bush land and wildlife, local wineries and lots of amazing places to explore. There are so many places to fall in love with!
The easiest option to get to this island is to use a ferry that would take you for a 45 minute cruise from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island. Cape Jervis is 107 kilometers from Adelaide (roughtly 1.5 hours drive).
The best way to explore Kangaroo Island is definitely by car, which you can drive on board the ferry. Bear in mind that the vast majority of travelers underestimate the size of the Island! You can easily drive from 1 location to another for over 100 kilometres one way. Therefore I would recommend to plan the landmarks in your travel itinerary carefully – there are a lot of locations to explore! If you are on a limited time frame then here are the places you just cannot miss:
Flinders Chase National Park
Flinders Chase National Park is located in the west of Kangaroo Island. Boasts several great attractions, however if you are on a tight schedule then do yourself a favour and visit at least two of the most iconic locations of the national park. Admiral’s Arch and Remarkable Rocks. Admiral’s Arch impressed me the most. The actual arch is located at the bottom of the boardwalk – in itself amazingly scenic and astonishingly beautiful walk as the arch itself. If you do a bit of research you will find that the arch was formed by thousands of years of erosion to create this distinctive landmark. If you are lucky, you can catch the glimpse of this place during sunset – a truly unforgettable experience. Another highlight of the Admirals Arch is the wildlife. Here you will find a colony of New Zealand seals all along the spectacular viewing platforms on the boardwalk leading to the arch, as well as the arch itself.The second iconic place in the Flinders Chase National park not to be missed is remarkable rocks. Another perfect location to experience sunrise and sunset (which also happen to be least busy times – early morning and early evening). The rocks themselves were formed over hundreds of millions of years created by rain, waves and winds. Absolutely spectacular photoshoot opportunity! You need to allocate at least half a day for Flinders Chase National Park. If you happen to be on the Island for a day trip – then consider this to be on top of your list to see.
Seals Bay is probably the only place in the entire world where you will be able to experience up close and personal encounter with the colony of Australian sea lions - a very rare species. The place has no enclosures, therefore for your own safety and to preserve a natural environment, you should always follow the instructions of the tour guides. At the time of writing, the tour costs $35 for adults, $20 for children and $85 for a family. Tours are normally run every 45 minutes.
Paul’s Place Wildlife sanctuary
Paul’s Place Wildlife sanctuary. Discovered only on my second visit to Kangaroo Island this is a truly awe-inspiring place. This is where you can get close and personal with the native wildlife literally! You will be surrounded by Kangaroos, wallabies, get wrapped up by a large snake (if you are brave enough that is) and hold a possum and a koala. You will be able to hand feed kangaroos, emus and other animals all in one place. We had international visitors with us when we visited this place and there are no words to describe how they were amazed by this experience.Quad Bike tour – a total of 3 hours of amazing adventure that will take you for a ride on a quad bike through the native bush and a wide variety of terrain. They took us to places otherwise inaccessible without a tour, with a few stops to experience the amazing sightseeing locations along the way.
There you have it, this is by far not a complete list of things to do in Kangaroo Island. If you have more time up your sleeve then you should also explore Little Sahara – a 2kms of naturally occurring sand dunes where you’ll be able to do some fun sand boarding, Food& Cellar doors to experience Australia’s finest gourmet pleasures, Kangaroo Island diving adventures, full day 4WD tours, lighthouse tours, oyster farms – these are just some of the additional activities you can do if you have at least a week for the exploration.