Some first think of the heavenly beaches, others associate the name much more with a unique wilderness. But, it’s the mix of the two, which make Australia’s third-biggest island such a popular holiday paradise.
Kangaroo Island couldn’t be more beautiful or livelier. It has a land area of 4,405 square kilometres and is part of the state of South Australia. Just 211 kilometres from Adelaide, it attracts countless visitors every year. Nevertheless, the island still remains undisturbed. Tourists mainly head to the island in Australia’s spring and summer, between September and February. Today, I would like to take you with me on a journey to this natural paradise in South Australia and show you why this wonderful corner of the earth definitely belongs on your bucket list.
The best way to get to Kangaroo Island is via Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. You can fly there comfortably with many airlines. The flight time can be around 24 hours depending on connections. From there, I would take an internal flight, which costs about £170 for a return as it takes you straight to Kingscote on the island. Once you’ve arrived, I recommend renting a car if you’re looking for adventure. With a car, you can get to know every hidden corner of the 145-kilometres-long and 57-kilometres-wide island even better.
Majestic landscapes straight out of a picture book
Even as you’re arriving on the plane, you can tell that this natural paradise is something really special! You can already see these majestic landscapes, the shining blue sea as well as the unique wilderness from the plane – simply incredible!
“Rugged cliffs, underground caves and national parks, and picturesque bays are waiting for you to explore them.”
You’ll get itchy feet as you’ll hardly be able to wait to get off the plane and take a look at the magical scenery up close. The rugged cliffs, underground caves and national parks, and picturesque bays are just waiting for you to explore them.
Watching the impressive animal world
Kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, pelicans and many other impressive animals are native to the island and move around in the wild. A look at this magnificent animal world is enough to see how good the wild national parks and reserves are for them. Koalas laze around happily in the trees above you and eat eucalyptus leaves while sweet seals and sea lions play with and cuddle each other on the beach of Seal Bay. The kangaroos are another highlight. They also seem content here and watch their visitors with curiosity. Is it any wonder that most tourists come to the island because of the fascinating animal world?
An excursion to Flinders Chase National Park
So, where can you see and experience all these exciting animals up close on Kangaroo Island? It is best to make your way from the airport to the famous Flinders National Park at the west end of the island. It is the biggest highlight and also the main tourist attraction on Kangaroo Island. You definitely shouldn’t leave this island without visiting this national park at least once. You don’t necessarily have to drive or take public transport to the park itself. I would recommend much more hiking along the coast, from Cape Borda in the northwest of the island, for example. However, depending on conditions, this takes between 7 and 9 hours. This means you can add a quiet overnight stop to the trip. The extra exertion is definitely worth it. On the way, you get a great impression of South Australia’s breath-taking nature and animal life. For example, you can watch white-tailed eagles circle elegantly over the sea looking for prey. With some luck, you can also see playful dolphins and whales, which swim around in pods.
Once you’ve arrived in the national park, you’ll find thick eucalyptus forests, undisturbed wilderness, dreamy beaches and impressive historic lighthouses as well as many curious animals. The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse from 1909 is particularly worth visiting as you have a wonderful view from there. About half an hour away from there, there are huge rock formations called the Remarkable Rocks. You’ll have an unforgettable experience here, especially at sunset. My excursion tip: If you’re already in Flinders Chase National Park, you should definitely visit the underground limestone Kelly Hill Caves, which are about 15 kilometres east of the Flinders Chase National Park in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park. It’s a spectacle that you definitely shouldn’t miss. No less popular is Admirals Arch, a somewhat hidden limestone arch, which has been created over many years by the wild sea. The uniquely formed stalactites, which hang down at the entrance of the cave, look particularly amazing in your holiday photos.
Surfing, diving & co. – activities on the most beautiful beaches on the island
Can’t get enough of this charming island’s diverse plant and animal life? Do you love the sea? Then I would recommend a snorkelling tour or, even better, a diving tour around Kangaroo Island. You can get to know the amazing underwater world of Australia in the best way. Dives off Cape Borda, the western tip of the island, are very popular, for example. From there you can explore more than 30 wrecks. Famous shipwrecks include the Fides from the late 19th century and the Loch Vennachar from the early 20th century. Surfers like to head to Stokes Bay in the north, Vivonne Bay in the south, and Pennington Bay, which is much further to the east of the island. Not only are these beaches really popular with passionate surfers, they are also popular among nature lovers looking for some rest and relaxation. Vivonne Bay with its fine white sand is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Australia. The quieter beaches in the north of the island, like Stokes Bay and Snellings Beach, are better for swimming and sunbathing.
For those of you who like something a bit cosier, you can go on fishing trips from some of the smaller towns on the island, like American River or Emu Bay. Other popular activities include sailing, canoeing, and riding. You can also go on an exciting bicycle ride or quad bike tours along the wild coast. Those of you who like to experiment should definitely try sandboarding as well. It’s a type of snowboarding on a sand piste, so you can imagine what it’s like. ;)
Cuisine on Kangaroo Island
The island, which has 4,100 inhabitants, has something to offer not only in terms of its wildlife but also in culinary terms. The small, local-run pubs in pretty towns, like Kingscote and Penneshaw, are popular here. They mainly attract visitors with their fresh seafood. In Penneshaw, there are also popular farmers’ markets where you can buy local produce. But, Kangaroo Island is much more well known for its amazing wines than for its delicious dishes. Because of the mild climate, different wineries have been established here since the beginning of the 90s. Some of them even boast award-winning wines. Most wineries offer daily wine tasting tours where you can try some of the 18 different varieties.
As the island is also home to one of the oldest bee sanctuaries in Australia, it is rumoured that the island has the best honey in all Australia. The special taste is down to the Ligurian bees, which originally come from Italy, and who are protected here because they are very rare. Now, how about a delicious, fresh dish of fish, accompanied with an excellent wine and, as the crowning glory, a sweet dessert with honey? Yum! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Wonderful South Australia
My conclusion on this Australian gem: this much I can be sure of – adventurers and explorers are as much in the right place as nature lovers and food connoisseurs on Kangaroo Island. It is simply unbelievable how many lovely places there are both on the island and in the whole state of South Australia.