Australia: Top 5 things to do on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is off the coast of South Australia and is sometimes described as Australia’s answer to the Galapagos Islands because of the abundance of wildlife that seems unconcerned by human visitors.

Don’t get me started on how expensive the Kangaroo Island ferry to cross from the mainland is, but if you don’t think about that too much it really is a beautiful holiday destination with stunning beaches (like Vivonne Bay above) and friendly locals.

We saw hundreds of Kangaroo Island kangaroos and little Tammar Wallabies (not as small as the pademelon in Tasmania but still damned cute), koalas, possums and a bandicoot, all in the wild. Here are my top five things to do on Kangaroo Island:

1. Seal Bay

The colony of Australian Sea Lions here at Seal Bay is a rare chance to see one of the world’s endangered seal species up close and personal. A series of carefully-constructed boardwalks bring visitors within metres of the animals as they bask in the sun on the beach, resting up after days hunting and feeding at sea. I saw a mother suckling her pup a metre away – this is a really amazing place.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

2. Rocks and seals of Flinders Chase National Park

Flinders Chase National Park covers most of the western end of Kangaroo Island. There is plenty of bush walking and wild, empty beaches. But the main attractions are at Cape du Couedic. They are two unusual rock formations, both of which are a testament to the forces of nature.

Admirals Arch is a surprising and beautiful rock formation, hidden from sight until you’re right upon it. A great, jagged arch of ocean-carved rock is a perfect frame for a colony of New Zealand fur seals.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

A bit further down the coast the Remarkable Rocks are even more surprising. Looking kind of like a Henry Moore sculpture dumped on a smooth platform of a promontory, these lumps of granite have been eroded by wind and water over 200 million years into bizarre formations. They are also decorated with the bright orange lichen that adorns so much of southern Australia’s coastline.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

3. Chapman River Cellar Door

Kangaroo Island has gained a reputation as a food and wine destination, with some excellent Sauvignon Blanc temperate climate wine being produced (and tasted). My favourite was the Chapman River Cellar Door, owned and run with love by Diana and Bruce Keir. In fact I loved this place so much I think Chapman River Wines deserves its own post – one of my occasional forays into foodie travel writing. As a tease I’ll just give you a photo of the tasting platter:

Kangaroo Island, Australia

4. Lonely lighthouses

There are a number of elegant light stations around the coast of Kangaroo Island, bearing witness to how the fledgling colony in South Australia was totally dependent on shipping. The Cape Willoughby Lighthouse was the first built in South Australia in 1852. It is set on a gorgeous promontory enjoying spectacular views along the coast of the island and across Backstairs Passage (hmmm) to Cape Fleurieu on the Australian mainland.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

5. Cliffords Honey Farm

Even if you only come here for Jenny’s famous homemade honey ice cream you would be able to die happy. The family-run farm doesn’t look much when you drive up but the products on sale are outstanding. Honey tasting, honey mead, candles and other honey-related products. Kangaroo Island honey is unique in being made by the world’s only remaining pure strain of Ligurian bees, known for their placidity and productivity. They were introduced to the island in the 19th century from Italy and so they have remained, the island being out of bee flight range from Australia. I’m still dreaming about that icecream.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

By Natasha von Geldern

Have you been to Kangaroo Island in Australia? Did you try the icecream?

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14 Replies to “Australia: Top 5 things to do on Kangaroo Island”

  1. Katie

    Kangaroo Island looks lovely and you had me at the wine cellars. I’m loosely planning a trip to Oz for next year and this looks like a great destination option.

    Reply
  2. Italian Notes

    Never heard of Kangaroo island, but it sounds enticing. Especially the rock formations.

    Reply
  3. Leigh

    The remarkable rocks are just that – very impressive. Sounds like a great weekend type destination – or would you go for a week?

    Reply
    • Natasha von Geldern Post author

      I felt like I’d done the main things in 2 days/2 nights but if you want to spend time at the beach and relaxing it’d be a great place for a week.

      Reply
    • Natasha von Geldern Post author

      You’re welcome and enjoy! At last I’ve been somewhere in Australia you haven’t 😉 You know I wouldn’t normally say this but it’s worth doing a little drive at night – there were hundreds of Tammar Wallabies hopping all over the place – intense driving but worth it!

      Reply
  4. Pete

    Love those rock formations, and of course the wildlife. Before your post I’d never heard of this place, now I want to go 🙂

    Reply
    • Natasha von Geldern Post author

      It’s near Adelaide – in South Australia – drive 1.5 hrs down to the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula from Adelaide and catch the (ridiculously expensive) ferry from Cape Jervis. Our daughter loved it, the wildlife obviously, and that cellar doors and the honey farm had children’s activities or a sandpit or something…

      Reply
  5. Turtle

    I spent every summer on Kangaroo Island, staying with family there. It’s such a beautiful place and has such a nice sense of community as well. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply

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