Did Someone Say Kangaroo? We Say Island

Australia has some stunning scenery across the mainland, but what many people don’t know is that there are thousands of islands dotted around Australia’s coastline, varying in size and geography. From large sand islands such as Fraser Island in Queensland to rocky cliff islands such as Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia. All in all, you will find 8,222 islands off the coast of Australia. Some of these islands are so small you could explore them in a matter of minutes, while others are large enough to be tourist attractions of their very own. One such island is Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, not far from the capital city of Adelaide. At 4,416 square kilometres, Kangaroo Island is the second-largest island in Australia (excluding Tasmania).

The Kangaroo Island coastline.

Kangaroo Island is only accessible by ferry from the South Australian coast. You can choose to take your car hire on the ferry or hire one on the island. One of the best ways to explore Kangaroo Island is a self-driving tour, discovering the towns and national parks of the island. The largest town on the island is Kingscote, on the eastern side of the island, with a supermarket, hospital, government offices, visitors centre and a series of smaller shops. Kingscote is where most travellers start their journey on the island, stocking up on supplies before setting out into the island. At Kingscote, head to the coastline to catch a glimpse of the world’s smallest penguin, the aptly named ‘Little Penguin’, with an average height of just 13 inches; they are a permanent fixture on the island.

One of the joys of Kangaroo Island is the native wildlife. Due to its long isolation from the mainland (around 10,000 years), many of the species found on the island are sub-species of animals on the Australian mainland. At any time of year, you will find the island teeming with wildlife, with over 90% of the island covered in woodland. See seal packed beaches, large predatory goannas, the local kangaroo island kangaroo, bandicoot’s wallabies, possums, echidnas, five species of bat, dunnarts, koalas, and more. Equally, the marine life on the island is just as diverse, with whale spotting opportunities in the winter as well as turtles and sea lions. This isn’t even inclusive of the dozens of bird and reptile species on the island.

You could spend your entire time driving to one of the 30 national parks and conservation areas or snorkelling off the coast to get a glimpse of marine life, but you would miss out on some other fantastic activities.

Caves at Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island is famous for its produce, with the local restaurants and pubs stocked with fresh seafood, gin, beer, fruit, veg, and other local delicacies. The majority of the restaurants can be found on the eastern side of the island, surrounding the ports. The seafood is worth travelling to the island for just on its own with a thriving fishery and lobster business off the coast. Head to the Kangaroo Island Spirits, the home of Australian gin. The distillery uses local botanicals to infuse and flavour the gin in new and interesting ways. It is a highly awarded distillery, so if you’re fond of a G&T, it’s well worth the visit. 

A new addition to the island's culinary scene is the Kangaroo Island Brewery, established in 2015. The beer is 100% Kangaroo Island originated, with eight different local brews and it’s just two minutes from Kingscote, making it an easy addition to the day’s plans for any beer enthusiast.

A food highlight is the Emu Bay Lavender Farm, famous for its lavender scones and ice cream. The farm is just north of Kingscote on the northeast cape of the island. Take home some of the farm’s organic products such as tea, body creams, gels, oils, and jelly. The fields are stunning, and the food is great, what more could you want?

With a range of natural experiences, fantastic restaurants, stunning drives and unique accommodations, Kangaroo Island is a growing name in Australian tourism, with Australians and international visitors flocking to its unspoiled nature and wilderness and trying its incredible food and drink. See stunning beaches, rocky cliffs, eucalyptus forests, unique native animals, organic farms, wineries, distilleries, vineyards, quaint hotels, inns and more. There has never been a better time to see something new, and Kangaroo Island doesn’t disappoint.

To unpack all that Kangaroo Island has to offer, hire a car from Kingscote Airport or Penneshaw Wharf today!

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