| The settlement of Kingscote on Kangaroo Island was the first town in South Australia. However, poor conditions, including an uncertain water supply, caused the settlement to be virtually abandoned and the colonists made their way to the mainland. The island was then used as a base for whalers and sealers for many years. |
The island, Australia's third largest island, is now a popular "get away from it all" destination for South Australians who enjoy the quiet towns, the sheltered swimming bays and wild ocean views. Because of its isolated position and small population, the island now provides a haven to a wide range of flora and fauna and much of the island is protected in national parks and wilderness protection areas.
| As with many island climates, Kangaroo Island remains relatively mild during summer and winter. Sometimes, cool ocean breezes may make windproof clothing necessary, while the centre of the island may occasionally experience high summer temperatures.|
| How do I get there?|
| You can reach Kangaroo Island by ferry from Cape Jervis, south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The trip takes about 45 minutes and the ferry docks at the small town of Penneshaw on the island. It is also possible to fly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide.|
| What are the main towns?|
|The main towns on the island include Kingscote, American River, Parndana and Penneshaw.|
| Where can I stay?|
|Travelmate has accommodation to suit all budgets on Kangaroo Island.|
| What's there to do on the island?|
| Penneshaw, where the ferry docks, lies on Dudley Peninsula and faces the body of water between the island and the mainland, known as Backstairs Passage. There is a folk museum in the old school and a Penguin Interpretive Centre, where you can take a penguin tour to a nearby penguin rookery. Antechamber Bay, on the other side of Dudley Peninsula, has good bushwalking and is a good place for canoeing. |
Kingscote is today the main town on Kangaroo Island. Situated on Brownlow Beach, it is a quiet village, good for fishing, swimming and boating. A cairn on the foreshore marks the site of South Australia's first post office. Hope Cottage Folk Museum, once one of three cottages named Faith, Hope and Charity, preserves some of the island's rich history. Kingscote too has a nearby colony of penguins and you can take a tour to see these delightful creatures in their natural habitat.
Seal Bay Conservation Park on the southern coast of the island is a protected home for over 500 Australian sea lions. You can view them from the boardwalks or get closer up on ranger-led guided tours.
Flinders Chase National Park is known for its wildlife, particularly the colony of New Zealand fur seals at Cape de Couedic, its wildflowers in the spring and its amazing rock formations, including Admiral's Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. These were formed over aeons by the action of the wind and waves on the cliffs. In the park there are walking tracks and camping spots. When you are walking in the park, you may see sea eagles, Cape Barren geese and black cockatoos, as well as koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and goannas. Wildlife is more active in the cooler parts of the day.
To the north, Cape Borda lighthouse must surely be one of the most isolated in Australia. There is a museum but be sure to time your visit to catch the firing of the cannon, once used to warn ships if they were in danger and now fired daily.
Offshore, there are a number of shipwrecks which can be explored by divers.