Australia is well known for its beautiful landscapes, exotic wildlife, brilliant architecture, and diverse history; however, most visitors to this lovely country have never heard of Kangaroo Island. This small, protected, and wild island lies 70 miles southwest of Adelaide in the Indian Ocean. Covering just 1,700 square miles, this little island was an aboriginal settlement until about 2,000 years ago. After the migration of the aboriginals to mainland Australia, the famed British explorer Matthew Flinders settled the island and kept it under British rule.
Kangaroo Island is most famous for its wine, wild seal population, protected nature reserves, and for Ligurian honeybees. While most of the island is untouched landscape dotted with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and seals, there are several quaint towns where the majority of the island population resides. If you’d like to visit Kangaroo Island from the mainland there are several ways to get there; you can take a short flight from Adelaide or hop on a ferry from the coast.
During your visit there are several highlights I would recommend for any first timer to the island.
- Flinders Chase National Park: this protected wildlife area is home to the Remarkable Rocks, the Admiral’s Arch, and a plethora of exotic animals!
- Seal Bay Conservation Site: This remote protected coastline is home to a native population of sea lions who you can see basking in the sun and playing in the surf.
- Kelly Hill Caves: This network of caverns is one of the largest on the island and offers beautiful scenes of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Little Sahara: These huge sand dunes on the southeast coastline will make you feel like you just walked into the actual Sahara desert!
- Hanson Bay Wildlife Center: This sanctuary offers the best nocturnal and koala tours on the island! Nighttime walking tours give tourists the chance to see animals such as echidnas, crabs, owls, and marsupials!
- Ligurian Bee farms: There are a number of bee farms on the island where you can get up close and personal to see these purebred bees and their honey making process.
- Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery: This old-school oil-making factory uses a decades old furnace to produce the most pure eucalyptus oil on the island. If you’re lucky they may even be fostering orphan joeys that will cuddle you close!
- Raptor Domain: This bird sanctuary is home to some beautiful species of raptors as well as several smaller bird species native to the island.
If wildlife and nature is your calling then Kangaroo Island is the place for you! There are guaranteed sightings of kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emu, sea lions, and aquatic birds. Because these animals have no natural predators on the island and because humans are not a threat they show no fear to tourists and often will let you get within feet of them. At several of the sanctuaries you can get close enough to touch and feed these creatures, which will make for a very memorable experience!
Be sure to take in the landscapes around you as well as the sky above you while here. One of the most forgotten experiences on the island is to stargaze late at night! Because there is very little light pollution you will get an incredible view of the stars of the southern hemisphere. Depending on the time of year you go a myriad of constellations are easily discoverable as well.
As you are planning your great Australian adventure be sure to consider “hopping” down to Kangaroo Island for a few days to see this beautiful natural island and all it’s fury, scaly, and feathered inhabitants!