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Kangaroo Island, Australia

Naturally Appealing

by Brad Foster and Alain Gayot

A kangaroo in the wild on Kangaroo Island, Australia
A kangaroo in the wild on Kangaroo Island in Australia

Kangaroo Island, about 75 miles south east of Adelaide, is an area of outstanding natural beauty, history and home to plenty of native Australian wildlife.

Because of its isolation Kangaroo Island has escaped many of the influences of European development. Seven times larger than Singapore, much of the island is natural bushland, allowing native animals to roam free. Penguins, Australian sea lions, New Zealand fur seals and platypus have all made their home in and around Kangaroo Island — not to mention kangaroos. For water-lovers there is a huge variety of water-based pursuits including fishing, swimming, sailing, surfing, scuba diving and boating.

For those staying in Adelaide getting to the island is easy. There are a number of companies offering day tours to Kangaroo Island including Exceptional Kangaroo Island and Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours. Regional Express flies from Adelaide Airport with return flights starting from around AUD$85 one way (This is an internet special fare. For non-specials prices can exceed AUD$200 per person one way).

Alternatively, you can take a Kangaroo Island Sealink day tour which departs from King William Street in Adelaide and includes coach and ferry transfers, and a two course lunch, starting at AUD$248 per person.

If you do travel by air you will land at Kingscote, the largest local town. Many tours are conducted in small luxury 4WD vehicles or air-conditioned coaches depending on the size of your group and the tour you have selected.

Tours of Kangaroo Island will include a visit to the Remarkable Rocks, where visitors can climb these amazing granite formations created thousands of years ago, and Seal Bay, where visitors are encouraged to take a beach walk among the breeding colony of Australian sea lions. The sea lions travel out to sea for three days at a time to fish and then return to feed their young or rest. Sea lions cresting the waves on their return are a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Remarkable Rocks at Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island, Australia Seals on the beach of Kangaroo Island, Australia
Remarkable Rocks
Seals on the beach

Tours of the island also take in Little Sahara, an area of spectacular sand dunes, Duck Lagoon, popular for picnic lunches, bird watching and koala spotting, and the Kelly Hill Caves, a stunning system of caverns and sinkholes. General tours of the caves run daily, however, the more adventurous may like to book an adventure caving tour for a deeper look underground.

Another must do is a nightly tour run by the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre at Kingscote where visitors can enjoy the nightly procession of penguins from the waters around Kingscote and Penneshaw to their burrows.

For a look into how life on Kangaroo Island once was, Hope Cottage at Kingscote is a great place to spend a few hours. Originally built in 1859, the now restored home of Charles and Michael Calnan depicts life in the late 1800s with period china, furniture, and even clothing on display. Displays of farm machinery and an extensive history of sea and air travel to the island are also featured.

As well as its vast natural attractions, Kangaroo Island is becoming recognized as a feast for the senses. Just over 4000 people now live on Kangaroo Island with many working as primary producers.

Fresh seafood is in plentiful supply as is high-quality cheese, some of the most highly sought-after honey available anywhere in the world and a growing list of boutique wines. Any visit to Kangaroo Island must include a stop at Island Beehive located on the main road into Kingscote. Island Beehive extracts up to 100 tons of organic honey each year, produced by Kangaroo Island’s disease free Ligurian bees which were introduced from Italy in 1884.

For cheese lovers, a stop at Island Pure (Gum Creek Road, Cygnet River) is well worth it. Guided tours of this 600-acre sheep dairy are held every afternoon, with milking at 3pm. There’s a tasting room and a shop for those who don’t want to leave empty handed.

Bush barbecue on Kangaroo Island, Australia Kangaroo Island cliffs in Australia
Bush barbecue
Kangaroo Island cliffs

And for those who don’t want to leave Kangaroo Island at all, then you must take a look at Southern Ocean Lodge. This stunning 21-suite property is located at Hanson Bay on the south west of the island and is perched high on a cliff giving stunning views out to sea. Of course good views don't come cheap. Prices start at AUD$900 per person for a minimum two nights' stay.

Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island is being described as Australia's first true luxury lodge, offering a unique and exclusive travel experience. The lodge commands uninterrupted views of the Southern Ocean and Kangaroo Island wilderness. Set back from a cliff above the water the sensitive design showcases the island in all its glory and is within easy reach of all of Kangaroo Island's major attractions.

Suites feature king beds, sunken lounge, dramatic glass walled bathroom and an outdoor terrace with occasional seating and daybed. Other features include a walk-in robe, complimentary room bar, twice daily housekeeping, optional climate control, heated floors, internet, music system (with MP3 input), safe and telephone.

Signature design elements such as sandblasted limestone floors and recycled spotted gum feature walls, as well as contemporary furnishings and artworks commissioned from local Kangaroo Island artisans complete these beautiful rooms.

This property is also home to The Southern Spa, which offers commanding views of the ocean and a vast array of massage therapies.

To learn more about Kangaroo Island, including other accommodation options, visit


What to See and Do in Adelaide






Kangaroo Island
Tourism Kangaroo Island
Howard Dr.
Penneshaw SA 5222
08 8553 1185
The third largest island off Australia's coast, it is home to many of Australia's native animals.

Kangaroo Island Sealink
440 King William St.
Adelaide SA 5000
08 8202 8666
Operates two large ferries from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island, offering a wide range of touring product on the island, including tours and self-drive packages.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours
Lot 42 Cook St.
Parndana SA 5220
08 8559 5033
Provides fully hosted, personalised tours of Kangaroo Island.

Remarkable Rocks
Kangaroo Island
08 8559 7220
The Remarkable Rocks are found in the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island.

Seal Bay Conservation Park
Kingscote SA 5223
08 8559 4207
On the south island of Kangaroo Island, the Australian sea lion is the feature here.





Adventure Charters
PO Box 169
Kingscote SA 5223
08 8553 9119
Small group tours of Kangaroo Island.

AirSouth Regional
Adelaide Airport SA 5950
08 8234 4988
The fastest way to get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide with fly and tour packages available.

Regional Express (Rex)
Adelaide Airport SA 5950
08 8553 2938
Regional Express services Kangaroo Island flights from Adelaide.

(Updated: 06/14/13 JDM)

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