I had heard lots of good reports from people who had been to Kangaroo Island so I was keen to experience it first hand.
The hardest part was trying to decide how long to stay. In the end we booked a one way ticket which was for 2 passengers and 6m Rhonda for $215 onboard Sealink Ferry. The trip from Cape Jervis on the mainland to Penneshaw takes 45 minutes and was a simple boarding process. The weather gods were smiling and it was a very smooth trip across.
We had a wander around Penneshaw with its small number of shops and cafes etc. It had a well stocked IGA. The only thing we couldn’t take to the island due to bio security control was honey and unwashed potatoes.
We then headed about 15km to the north to Brown Beach. Here we found a council run beachside camping ground with clean toilets and pay showers. It was a lovely place at $22.50 per night. A great long beach to walk along and I even managed a late afternoon swim. That was the warmest day we had and that night we were treated to a spectacular light show with lightning and thunder followed by a good dose of rain. It was fine again the next day.
One night when we did a beach walk we were entertained by dolphins swimming and a number of stingrays as well as pelicans and other bird life.
After 2 nights we headed off along side roads that followed the coast until we found Pennington Bay which had the most beautiful turquoise coloured water. Just after that we climbed up to Flagstaff Hill which had some awesome views over American River and surrounding areas. We did intend to stop overnight at American River but after visiting the art gallery there and having lunch at The Cafe on the Wharf we decided to move on and after exploring the Red Cliffs area we found a nice roadside bay overlooking Western Cove so camped there the night. Had a long walk along the beach back to the Red Cliffs to get some photos just prior to sunset.
The countryside is beautiful throughout the island although we haven’t yet reached the areas where the devastating fires happened 2 years ago.
Next day we drove around to Kingscote which is a lovely area where we went back to a few times during our Island stay, mostly because of the good shopping facilities. It is the major town and business centre on the island. We had a look at the Museum there which was very interesting with plenty of information relating to the fires.
We spent a night on the shores of Bay of Shoals before going up to North Cape and then Boxing Bay. These were quite rough roads but I took it pretty easy so no major problems. There are some lovely remote areas on the Island and it is easy to lose many hours wandering around bays and beaches. The north of the island being much more protected from the southern winds.
We found a Lavender Farm on the way to Emu Bay which served huge and delicious Lavender Scones with jam and cream. Emu Bay was a pretty spot and quite popular. The beach is accessible to 4wd’s. We walked halfway along but the very strong cold wind got the better of us. We then took the back road to Stokes Bay but found it packed with people and so decided to make our next overnight stop at Western KI Caravan Park just outside the Flinders Chase National Park. We had 3 nights here. The park was the centre of the devastating fires and the park lost almost all its buildings. They are slowly rebuilding.
The caravan park and surrounds are full of wildlife and we had a koala and her Joey climb the tree right next to our site. There were also small kangaroos around plus heaps of bird life. There is a lagoon at the back of the property with a walk way around it which was a good little walk in the evenings.
Around the Flinders Chase National Park area there was lots to see although parts of the park still remain closed and much of it is best seen by 4WD. We went down to Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse and Admirals Arch. These were a must see including the colony of seals and sea lions that were resting and playing in their natural habitat. Nearby was Remarkable Rocks which was an amazing piece of nature.
We also went to Seal Bay where we did a guided tour onto the beach which was littered with tens of seals. They feed some 70 to 100km off the coast for 3 days and 3 nights before returning with up to a third of their body weight in fresh seafood. When they get hungry off they go again. They each make this food seeking journey alone and return to just lay around in the sun. They look like fat lazy creatures but after hearing about their fishing expeditions they are anything but. They also climb up high out of the water pulling their bodies along to get to higher ground through the dunes and rocks.
Nearby was Raptor Domain which was an hour long Birds of Prey exhibition. This was good value for its audience participation. We had a night by the river at Vivonne Bay before returning to Brown Beach for a further couple of nights.
We did a trip down to Willoughby Lighthouse where we did a tour of the lighthouse. Most informative. We stopped a night in Lashmar Conservation Park and returned to Brown Beach before heading back to Kingscote again and spending 3 nights at Kingscote Caravan Park including seeing in the New Year. We then headed to a nice spot by the river just outside American River before going to Penneshaw to visit their monthly Sunday market. Then it was back to Brown Beach which sorta became our go to place (return to place).
Due to Covid increasing on the mainland we decided to extend our stay and instead of returning on the 28th December we returned to Cape Jervis on the evening ferry on 3rd January. In all we had 17 days on this beautiful island. If time permits I would recommend to anyone contemplating going to Kangaroo Island to allow a minimum 7 days but 10 to 14 plus days will allow you time to relax and enjoy your surroundings so much more. Although it was mostly cold and at times a freezing wind especially on the south side of the island, we did have a few warm days over new year. I would rate my visit to Kangaroo Island right up there on my bucket list. Definitely in my top 10 and top of those ones in South Australia.