Kangaroo Island is set only about five miles off Cape Jervis and just south of the city of Adelaide. It is the third largest island in Australia, after Tasmania and Melville. It is one of the most popular destinations for vacations in the state of South Australia, and is an unspoiled wilderness famous for its unique wildlife. It is 93 miles long and from 35 miles to less than one mile wide. At least twenty pristine beaches on Kangaroo Island welcome visitors, and many of them are virtually deserted…if you don’t count the kangaroos.
Here you can also experience dense forests, wetlands full of birdlife, and towering sand dunes behind miles of powder white silica sand beaches. Some of most unique Kangaroo Island tours are available on specialty touring motorcycles with sidecars that take you into the hinterland and over the dunes of “Little Sahara” on the southern coast, stopping at pubs and roadhouses, wineries, and the few small towns. There are also tours for the less adventurous with transportation aboard motorcoaches and in more traditional vehicles. You can also participate in that most Australian of activities, the walkabout, with a fully qualified bush guide. These will explore the beaches on Kangaroo Island that are often teeming with kangaroos and wallabies, penguins, sea lions, and fur seals. In the interior, you can spot koalas, usually munching on the native gum trees, and the Heath goanna, a lizard that can reach more than three feet in length. Some of the island’s wildlife is unique to this island, and there are strict laws against bringing in non-native species—especially foxes and rabbits, which do not exist on the island. Even the few residents who wish to own a housecat must follow strict guidelines.
In addition to the beautiful beaches, things to do on Kangaroo Island include visiting the lighthouses that are filled with the maritime history of the island, and spelunking in the caves. Kangaroo Island is also known for its great dining opportunities and for foods produced locally. The island is a protected bee colony, and the protection of the bees is overseen as strictly as the protection of the island’s wildlife. Here you will find the only known strain of pure Ligurian bees in the world. Virtually all Kangaroo Island tours will include tasting the honey from these zealously protected insects in some form. These bees were imported from the province of Liguria in Italy in the 1880s. There are also several boutique wineries on the island, and you will undoubtedly enjoy tasting some during your stay.
If visiting the numerous national parks and beaches on Kangaroo Island doesn’t give you enough wildlife, there is excellent scuba diving, especially along the north coast. Here you can swim up close with seals, sea lions, and penguins. You might also have an encounter with one of the world’s strangest underwater creatures, the leafy sea dragon that resembles floating vegetation. Other Kangaroo Island tours include sailing trips, and there are a number of companies offering sailing and helicopter trips. A little known secret of Kangaroo Island is that it has some of the most uncrowded surfing beaches in the country. If you’re a beginner, you might try Stokes Bay, or Vivonne Bay. More experienced boarders might like Pennington Bay. There are only about 5,000 permanent residents on the island and a small number of lodging options , so make your plans as far in advance as possible. There are a number of Kangaroo Island hotels, but space is limited.