Kangaroo Island - South Australia - A Natural Wonderland

Arriving on Kangaroo Island is like stepping into a nature wonderland. It is a place where visitors can wander along coastlines dotted with sleeping seals, watch fairy penguins scamper up the beach or visit wildlife reserves brimming with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and emus.

As Australia's third largest island, Kangaroo Island is 155km long by 55km wide and has a population of about 4380 people.

Local Seals on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Local Seals on Kangaroo Island

The pace of life on Kangaroo Island is relaxed, with friendly locals striving to ensure that each visit is a memorable one.

The options are endless on Kangaroo Island and the scenery equally captivating. In many ways, the island remains just as explorer Matthew Flinders found it more than 200 hundred years ago. Discovered by English explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802, Kangaroo Island was visited shortly afterward by French explorer Nicolas Baudin and first settled by deserters from English and American whaling ships before official European settlement in 1836.

A Lazy Kangaroo
A Lazy Kangaroo
Kangaroo Island boasts outstanding natural beauty and its relative isolation since European settlement has ensured an abundance of wildlife in a stunning and protected natural environment. With 21 national and conservation parks covering more than 30% of the island's total area, Kangaroo Island has established itself as a premiere destination for nature lovers of all types. One example is the Flinders Chase National Park which is home to the amazing rock formations of the Remarkable Rocks and the rugged beauty of Admiral's Arch.

Dramatic coastlines, towering cliffs, pristine beaches and clean oceans are the playground of seals, whales and dolphins. The coast has also been the final resting ground for more than 40 ships that have been wrecked (many with loss of life) since the first recorded tragedy in 1847.

Many species of flora and fauna, some extinct on the mainland, can still be found, and 250 different types of birds populate its cliffs, beaches, wetlands and lagoons. The island's plant catalogue lists more than 700 species of natives and the spring months of September and October reveal spectacular wildflowers.

Its beaches are perfect for fishing, boating or lazing around. Scuba diving and surfing are also popular past times and the clear blue waters provide the perfect setting for these and other aquatic activities.

The colony of Australian sea lions, located at Seal Bay, is the island's most popular attraction. Walking along the beach, visitors can venture within a few metres of these amazing creatures, while National Park rangers explain their curious habits. Tourists can also join night tours along the island's coastline and be greeted by groups of shuffling penguins as they retreat to their burrows under rocks and shrubs.

And for those who like to indulge, Kangaroo Island is becoming increasingly famous for its local produce, including award-winning Camembert cheese, corn-fed poultry, pure honey and olive oil.
It is also developing a reputation for culinary achievements, as local restaurants make use of fresh island produce with impressive results. The Gum Creek Marron Farm serves up fresh water lobsters for lunch, while Clifford's Honey Farm has a scrumptious array of products on offer including honey ice-cream.

The island's Ligurian bee produces the honey. Tight restrictions on imports have ensured that these are some of the purest bees on earth and queen bees are regularly exported internationally for this reason. The Island Pure sheep dairy, producing a range of sheep's milk, cheese and yoghurt, allows visitors to watch the milking and bottle-feed the lambs.

Kangaroo Island is also home to South Australia's only commercial Eucalyptus Distillery. Located at Emu Ridge, the factory is powered by steam and refined oils are produced using traditional methods. Spanning 150 kilometres, Kangaroo Island is best seen over a number of days to allow ample time to experience its many attractions.

The island is home to a number of professional tour operators who can develop tailor-made itineraries taking in the best that Kangaroo Island has to offer. Other Island experiences include remote lighthouse accommodation where guests can enjoy total peace and tranquility, scuba diving and adventure caving.

Visitors can travel to the island by sea or air. Kangaroo Island SeaLink offers a one-hour ferry journey from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, or a 30-minute flight is available from Adelaide to Kingscote.

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