South Australia’s Natural Wonderland
Kangaroo Island is truly an amazing experience for anyone who enjoys wildlife and nature. The island is just half an hour from Adelaide by air or a scenic three hour drive and ferry ride. Once you arrive on the island you’ll be surrounded by a lush unspoiled natural haven inhabited by friendly people and large populations of unique Australian wildlife. The island is roughly 96 miles in length. As you travel, you’ll find it to be surprisingly diverse. From soaring cliffs to dense national parks, to huge sand dunes, wetlands, and of course, untouched white sand beaches.
There are so many amazing things to do on Kangaroo Island, that it was pretty hard to narrow down the list to just fourteen of our favorites. Be sure to ask your Destination Specialist about their favorite so you don’t miss out on something you might love!
The Journey- Getting there is half the fun!
Kangaroo Island is an incredible road trip! There are many great tours that will take you to the island and provide insightful and interesting commentary, but Kangaroo Island is also a great place to explore on your own. We often recommend that you rent a car in Adelaide, drive down to the island and take your time discovering it on your own. As you drive along this friendly coast, embrace the locals’ welcoming spirit by partaking in the ‘Kangaroo Island Wave’ – a friend gesture, produced by lifting your index finger to acknowledge passing cars.
One of Australia’s Top National Parks, Flinders Chase National Park is located on the western end of Kangaroo Island. Flinders Chase is a must see for any KI visit. Here you’ll find the world renowned Remarkable Rocks- wild-sculpted rock formations that sit atop a smooth granite dome, Admiral’s Arch- a perfect sweep of rock along the coast where long-nosed fur seals play, West Bay- an amazing beach and great hiking trails such as the Snake Lagoon Walk.
Image by: Alan & Flora Botting on flikr.com
The Remarkable Rocks are a collection of enormous eroded granite boulders atop a giant dome of lava. They have been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain for over 500 million years! The golden orange lichen covering some of the rocks and the many different shapes offer plenty of photo opportunities at different times of the day.
The Admiral’s Arch is located at Cape du Couedic. The natural wonder is a remnant of the ancient cave that was broken by ocean waves and transformed into a natural bridge. Stalactites still cling to what’s left of the cave’s roof. You can walk down the boardwalk around the cliff face to a viewing platform to see the arch. In the summer, you can observe a colony of New Zealand fur-seals on the rock platforms under the arch. Be sure to be on the look out for fuzzy seal pups!
Cape du Couedic Light House
While you’re checking out the arch, take a moment to cast your eyes upon the Cape du Couedic Light House. Constructed between 1906 and 1909, it consists of a tower made from 2,000 pieces of local stone. During it’s early years, the lighthouse was inaccessible by land. The materials used to build the lighthouse were brought by boat and hauled up the cliff face by a flying fox winching system powered by horses. This system was later used to haul supplies and the only method of getting keepers and their families on and off the Cape. Today, the lighthouse still warns ships of treacherous waters and an underwater reef off the Cape. There are also accommodations available.
Snake Lagoon Walk
This scenic walk starts at Snake Lagoon and winds through Sugar Gums and mallee before descending into the Rocky River Valley. The trail crosses Rock River and meanders along its band to the Southern Ocean Coast. You can find the trail head about five and a half miles from Flinders Chase Visitor Center off West Bay Road.
Cape Borda Light-station
Cape Borda is about 1 hour drive from the the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre, but worth the trip for those interested in history, amazing scenery and bush-walking. The light house tour is very informative and interesting. Not only will you learn about the history of the lighthouse, but you’ll be taught some navigation skills and see a real canon fire. Accommodations are also available.
Vivonne Bay- One of Australia’s Best Beaches
Located on Kangaroo Island’s south coast, near Kingscote, Vivonne Bay is no stranger to “Best Beach” Lists. Visit Vivonne Bay and you’ll experience soft white sand, clear seas and few people. If you have snorkeling gear, be sure to bring it along, the water is great! Vivonne Bay is known for it’s surfing and strong currents, so it’s best for experienced swimmers.
Sand-boarding in the Little Sahara
Not far from the lush shores of Vivonne Bay, you’ll find a desert called the Little Sahara. For about fifty dollars you can rent a toboggan and a sand-board so that you can spend the day running up and sliding down giant sand dunes. It’s a great activity for the whole family.
See Sea Lions at Seal Bay
Seal Bay has been home to an Australian sea lion population for thousands of years, and offers one of the most exceptional nature-based experiences in the world. This is the only place in the world where you can see Australian sea lions at close quarters and walk on a beach where pups play, bulls fight for supremacy and resting mothers suckle their young. Take a guided tour to get up close to the action or take your time and observe from afar on the boardwalk. Australian sea lions are unique to South Australia and Western Australia. They are an endangered species – their total population is about 14,700. Seal Bay is the third largest colony of this magnificent, wild creature.
Feed a Roo
While on Kangaroo Island, you’ll likely see plenty of wild Kangaroo Island Kangaroos. But if you want to get really close to the cute little guys, head to the KI Wildlife Park. Here you’ll find friendly kangaroos that have been hand raised since they were orphaned in the wild. There are usually opportunities to feed and pet the kangaroos.
Birds of Prey Presentations
“Raptor Domain” on Kangaroo Island is a very personal up close experience. You have the option to see one to three wild presentations. These presentations are very interactive and very informative. You have the opportunity to hold most of the birds and reptiles featured. There is also an opportunity to purchase a private viewing to interact with the birds one-on-one for about an hour.
The Pelican Man
The Pelican Man provides you with an entertaining and informative talk about pelicans and other sea birds while encouraging their participation with fish treats. It’s quite the photo op!
Swimming with Wild Dolphins
Slip into the clear calm waters off the North Coast of Kangaroo Island and enter the amazing world of KI’s wild dolphins. This very special experience can be a bit unpredictable since the dolphins are not trained or captive. But that’s half the fun! Your tour guides will watch, wait and tell you the best time to jump in so you’ll have the opportunity to get as close as possible to these majestic creatures. You can also opt to stay in the boat and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot dolphins jumping and playing in the surf.
Still looking for things to do on Kanagroo Island? Be sure to check back next week for “14 More Reasons Why Kangaroo Island is a ‘Must Do in Australia'”.
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Tags: Admiral's Arch, Cape Borda, Cape du Couedic, Flinders Chase, Kangaroo Island, Little Sahara, Remarkable Rocks, Seal Bay, Snake Lagoon, Vivonne Bay, West Bay