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Published January 31st 2017
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Located just a short trip from Adelaide is South Australia's premier island destination, Kangaroo Island. Just 155km in width makes it Australia's third largest island, and with that comes so many things to see and do that a short trip will never be long enough to experience South Australia's Wild Isle.
With a history of being one of the first places in South Australia discovered by Europeans through to today's modern blend of wilderness and creative experiences, Kangaroo Island is fast becoming a must-see destination on everyone's bucket list.
History and Unique attractions
First discovered in 1802, and continually uncovered ever since, Kangaroo Island is a dream destination. From setting foot on the Island at Penneshaw, where the curious dome highlights the Frenchman's Rock, to the three majestic lighthouses on each corner of the Island, South Australian and maritime history abounds.
But not to be outdone, Kangaroo Island is home to some stunning natural features, including two of Australia's most recognisable icons being Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Located within a few kilometres of each other, and at the end of a sealed road, both are mandatory stops for every visitor to the Isle.
Just as unique is the wildlife and wildflowers, both of which have thrived in this wilderness environment. The abundant wildlife is everywhere throughout the Island with the Kangaroo Island Kangaroos and Tamar Wallabies being most prolific in the National and Conservation Parks. The Echidnas and Heath Goannas are often seen leaving a trail of destruction as they search for food, while the gum trees are home for Koalas who were relatively late arrivals on the Island during the 20th Century.
But let's not forget that this Island is surrounded by water, and with that water comes Australian seals at Seal Bay, NZ Fur Seals across Cape Du Coeudic, wild dolphins across the north coast and a number of rare birds including the sea osprey, sea eagles, hooded plovers, pelicans and the occasional fairy penguin around Penneshaw.
If adventure is your calling, then you have come to the right place. Just outside of Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action provides quad bike tours of their unique coastal farm property, while just up the road their sister company offers the chance to do some tobogganing on one of the largest inland sand dunes across Australia.
The north coast is home to Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures, sandy waters, and a pod of wild dolphins who take great fun in sharing their waters and waves. And for a different sort of adventure, the Pelican Man at Kingscote is a magnet for these huge water birds as they come in for a regular 5pm feed. Watching the birds as they grovel for the food is exciting, as is watching their takeoff and circling above the crowd with a full stomach, and the consequences that come from that.
For those looking for something a bit quieter, Kangaroo Island has become the land of opportunity for a number of arts, crafts and specialist product retailers. Of particular beauty, the Rustic Blue studio near Vivonne Bay combines a cafe with the arts and crafts, and provides everybody with something to talk about over lunch.
Meanwhile the Emu Bay Lavender Farm has managed to create many products using lavender as a base, and is rivalled only by the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus farm whose working distillery is one of only a few left in Australia producing products from some of Australia's flora and fauna.
But without a doubt, the iconic walking trail is the Kangaroo Island Walking Trail, a 66km trek through Flinders Chase National Park which is now recognised as one of the great walks of Australia. Done in parts or done as a whole, it is an item on the bucketlist of many walkers.
And during or after a day of activity, food becomes a necessity, and Kangaroo Island is without peers when it comes to food. The Andermel Marron restaurant is a magnet for tourists, as is the world famous Whiting Burger from the Vivonne Bay General Store, the gorgeous breakfasts at Zest and Thyme overlooking Cape Willoughby or the tricks and treats that the team at Hannaford and Sachs prepare under the Enchanted Tree or on the sands of the secluded Snellings Beach.
One of the newer industries to seek refuge on the Island is that of beverage production, which when combined with food and great views makes for a perfect afternoon of relaxation. Outside Kingscote, the newly established Kangaroo Island Brewery offers paddles of craft beer, while down the road Kangaroo island Spirits has created a number of multi-award winning original and flavoured gins.
Over the last decade, the Mediterranean climate has seen the planting of vines, and the subsequent creation of some great wines, and the development of some majestic cellar doors. The Bay of Shoals Wines offers views over the Nepean Bay, while visitors to Dudley Wines clamour for views of Backstairs Passage and the mainland, both of which appear a world away.
Kangaroo Island is just a short trip from Adelaide, either by plane to Kingscote or by ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw. The best time to visit the Island is now, as there is something different every season. For further details refer to either the Kangaroo Island Tourism website or the Sealink website.