Considered to be one of the most diverse and wildlife-rich destination in the country, Kangaroo Island was one of the highlights of our mythical trip in Australia. Its untouched wilderness, pristine waters, rugged coastline and its tranquillity make it a unique place, where we felt like we just stepped into a scene from a postcard.
About 16km off the coast of South Australia stands a beautiful, untouched island. We hopped on a ferry from Cape Jervis, knowing sandy white beaches, rolling green hills and an amazing wildlife were awaiting for us there. Kangaroo Island appeared to be far beyond our expectations -probably even our best discovery in Australia.
If the entire island is pure beauty, some places really caught our attention. Pack your bags, you're off to a FANTASTIC road trip : discover 10 things to do in Kangaroo Island!
A guide to kangaroo island
A part of our trip on the East Coast finishes to let another begin. We leave Sydney, destination South Australia. A flight, a rental van, a few kilometers drive and a ferry ride later, we arrive on Kangaroo Island -a remote natural park rich with an incredible wildlife. The roads take us on dry landscapes, along superb deserts and magnificent lagoons. It's different from anywhere we've been in Australia. We're alone at the end of the world, crossing more kangaroos than people...
We'll be visiting the island for the next 3 days, enough time to be mesmerized by this magical place. Discover 10 things to do on Kangaroo Island. [Gorgeous photos by my awesome travel mate ©Eric Cowez & myself]
#1. Little Sahara
Imagine a giant stretch of white sand. Nothing else than sand, as far as your eyes can see. A view that inspires you to dream. To get lost. A magnificent scenery that makes you wonder where in the world you are...
A little walk on a warm, smooth sand takes us on top of a dune. From there, we can see people sand boarding -it's always a fun spectacle to watch. Little Sahara is a fabulous playground. We spend our time between drawing on the sand, rolling, gliding, running down -and obviously crashing-, oh and of course after all that, napping!
#2. Vivonne Bay
Not far from Little Sahara, Vivonne Bay is often said to be one of the best beaches in Australia. Literally lost in the middle of nowhere, this place is fascinating. Nobody around, it's just us and the wilderness -as usual on Kangaroo Island, apparently.
Not only gifted with amazing shades of turquoise and a rustic charm, Vivonne Bay is also a great bay for swimming, fishing -and sometimes, even surfing.
#3. Flinders Chase Road
Before our trip, this was the only picture I had in mind when thinking about Kangaroo Island: this long windy road crossing Flinders Chase National Park -so perfect it looks unreal. You wanted an road trip feel? Put some music on, volume up, and ENJOY!
When the sun sets, the warm lights come to caress the top of the trees, to offer the most beautiful atmosphere. Once again, it was just us on the road -and many kangaroos and wallabies of course.
#4. The Remarkable Rocks
These majestic giant boulders covered by golden orange lichen were carved out over hundreds of years and now sit atop a granite cliff -standing over the Southern Ocean. From the continuous wind erosion in this dry climate results today some funny shapes. It's a great place to see if you go early in the morning or at the end of the day, to avoid the crowds -as it's one of Kangaroo Island's signature landmarks.
#5. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse
There are a lot of things to see in Flinders Chase National Park. The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse is a great spot to watch the sunset. You'll have gorgeous views of the island, with no human trace around.
If your timing is good, you'll have time to enjoy the view from up here then walk down to Admirals Arch. The boardwalk leading there is nearly as scenic as the place itself!
#6. Admirals Arch
Cherry on the cake: Admiral Arch -one of the island's most unusual natural landmarks! Prepare to be in awe.
If you follow the smell, you can spot the seal colony that lives here. When we were there, there were lots of baby seals playing around in the waves, it was pretty spectacular with the sunset on the background!
#7. Hanson Bay
Hanson Bay is one of those places that make you feel lucky. Lucky to be here today. And that make you wonder HOW, how can THIS place be desert? A PERFECT DREAM BEACH just for yourself, so that's possible!? In Kangaroo Island, yes it is...
Translucent water on a desert bay. A sand whiter than ever. That's what they call dream beach. We throw our bags on the sand and run, run, run until we reach the water and jump on it. Happiness is made of simple things -such as this perfect little beach just for ourselves, in the middle of nowhere.
The wildlife on Kangaroo Island
Spotted, on Kangaroo Island: possums, kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits, koalas, pelicans, giant spiders (ahhh!), exotic birds, sea lions.
#8. the pelican lagoon in American River
They are MASSIVE. I mean, giant beak, immense wings. Watching the pelicans in American River, I was 5 years old again. So impressed. Fascinated. And they weren't shy at all. Actually, they're so big, we were the shy ones. The atmosphere is pretty unique in this little town. While we take our breakfast in a cafe, we can see the birds fishing on the beach -it's breakfast time after all! They are part of the decor.
#9. Seal Bay Conservation Park
For a small fee, you can walk among the wildlife in Seal Bay Conservation Park, Australia's third largest sea lion colony -with around 1,000 sea lions. The experience begins at the Visitors' Center, where you can learn more about these incredible creatures, then a guide will take you to the beach to meet 'the locals'.
#10. Koala Walk in hanson bay sanctuary
Take a leisurely stroll down a beautiful avenue of shady Eucalyptus trees where koalas relax. This sanctuary is one of the best places in Kangaroo Island to see koalas in their natural habitat -you can stay as long as you want, and you can also do a guided tour to learn more about their lifestyle. Koalas Guaranteed!
Getting around Kangaroo Island
There are no public transport options on the island. You can choose to get around on a tour but you'll lose the very essence of Kangaroo Island: the idea is to get lost in the middle of nowhere, to enjoy the tranquility, to connect with nature. I highly recommend to go with a rental car and camp wherever you can*. That's how it's supposed to be done!
*NOT under a tree. The tree could be home to a colony of giant tropical spiders. They could decide to move into your van / your tent / your sleeping bag with their whole family**. NOT cool.
- Do NOT drive at dusk or by night: you'd be impressed by the number of animals that will try to get under your wheels. Stay vigilant at all time for jumping wallabies and kangaroos. It's called Kangaroo Island for a reason!
- Check with your car provider if you are renting from the mainland as some car hire companies don’t insure you for the ferry ride over to Kangaroo Island -bare in mind that there's a HIGH RISK of kangaroo-suicide-crash during your trip. You can also hire cars from Kingscote or Penneshaw, where the ferry arrives, but it's more expensive.
How to get to Kangaroo Island?
OPTION #1 : Ferry from Cape Jervis, 1.5h south from Adelaide. The road to get there is beautiful. Due to its distance from the city, it requires a fairly significant investment of time, effort and money, but that effort is more than justified!
The ferry takes around 45 minutes to get to the island. Our ride was very calm and flat, gorgeous at sunset -if you're lucky, you might be able to spot some dolphins!
There's a small coffee on the boat selling coffee and snacks and free Wi-Fi.
OPTION #2 : A 30 minutes flight from Adelaide.
How much does it cost?
We went with SeaLink, and paid 119AUD round trip for 5 people with the van, including the first night camping on Kangaroo Island (price in 2014).