Kangaroo Island is the place where visitors can find solitude and be close to nature while breathing in the clean, crisp and fresh air.
Located approximately 112 kilometres away from Adelaide and 13 kilometres from the port of Cape Jervis, Kangaroo Island (affectionately known as KI) is reachable via a ferry that sails every hour to and from Cape Jervis.KI was once known as ‘Karta’ by mainland Aborigines, which means ‘island of the dead’ because the Aborigines could not access the island using traditional watercrafts due to the rising sea level. However, KI is far from ‘dead’ – on the contrary, it is very much alive.The journey from Adelaide to Cape Jervis took an hour and a half to two hours. Along the way, the picturesque landscape of Adelaide’s suburbs and stretches of South Australian beaches facing the South Pole made the journey enjoyable. Before reaching Cape Jervis, many vineyards can be seen that looked almost like a sea of green that stretches as far as the eyes could see.
One of the most-visited vineyards in South Australia is McLaren Vale, located just 40 kilometres away from Adelaide. McLaren Vale is a haven for wine lovers since this region produces some of the best wines in the world such Shiraz, Grenache and Chardonnay. McLaren Vale is one of the places that the tourists come for a quick and luxurious escapade. Just outside the gateway to McLaren Vale, the beach awaits for those who love the sun, the breeze and the sea.The docking point for the ferry to KI is called Penneshaw, where tourists will be able to find a range of accommodations that suit their budget. There is also a tourist information centre that provides information on KI located just three kilometres away from the jetty. Driving around KI is easy since there are many clear signboards that accurately lead tourists to the places of interest.
There are so many things that visitors can do and places they can explore on KI. One attraction that is interactively fun and should not be missed is pelican-feeding at Kingscote. Tourists will be able to approach these giant huge-beaked birds as close as they want. Prior to feeding them, a facilitator would inform visitors about the birds and their nature. The food prepared for the birds comprised raw fish. Tourists are advised to maintain distance from the birds because they could become aggressive and fight for food – tourists do not want to get trapped in that fight.At Kingscote, there are several independent hotels and resorts tourists can choose as accommodation. All of them overlook the pier towards the majestic horizon where tourists can witness amazing sunset.
Pennington Bay is the place that offers a wonderful view of the sea and the rocks of KI. This is the spot where locals and tourists come to admire the exquisite view of the scenery, apart from fishing during spring and summer. It is here that visitors can witness seals.The place that the seals often land on is the Seal Bay Conservation Park where seals are free to roam about in its natural environment surrounded by sand dunes, the beach and the sea. Visitors have the opportunity to get close to these animals by following the park’s guided tour. Visitors should take note of the tour schedules that can be checked on the web or at the tourist information centre to avoid disappointment since the timing differs according to seasons.At Flinders Chase National Park, visitors will be able to admire stunning geological phenomenon together with amazing wildlife such as echidnas, kangaroos, koalas, brushtail possums, tammar wallabies, and heath goannas (a type of monitor lizard), among others.
Today, Flinders Chase National Park is not the same as when it first opened in November 1919. The thunder that hit this park back in December 2007 caused fire that lasted for ten days and burnt 63,433 hectares of this wildlife sanctuary. However, Flinders Chase National Park has now recovered beautifully from the incident and remains well-protected.One of the most amazing geological rock formations that can be witnessed at Flinders Chase National Park is the eponymous Remarkable Rocks, consisting of granite rocks sculpted by sea breeze for the past 500 million years, turning the rocks into various unique shapes. Ten minutes away from the Remarkable Rocks, visitors may stop by at the 25-metre high Cape du Couedic Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built using 2,000 pieces of local stones since 1906, completed and first lit in 1909 with the range capability of 31 kilometres. Tourists may request for a guided tour around the lighthouse. The old cottages that were once used by the head keeper, his two assistants and their families can be rented by tourists if they wish to stay here.
A stone’s throw away from the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, tourists will be able to be amazed by a natural rock arch – known as Admiral’s Arch – that has been formed by weather and sea erosion over thousands of years. Visitors will also be able to observe a colony of New Zealand fur seals playing in the water and on land below.KI is also well-known for the smallest penguin species in the world called the Little Penguins, each averages the height of 13 inches. These penguins can be spotted at Penneshaw and Kingscote, where guided tour is offered to the tourists to find the little penguins’ nests that are normally located just by the beach between the rocks and in the bushes, detected during the night using infrared light. It was fascinating to watch these little creatures walking back to their nests and communicating among themselves using their own unique sounds.
In conclusion, KI is indeed the place where many endangered species endemic to Australia have the chance to continue surviving. The strict Australian laws and regulations attempt to ensure sustainability and to bring back the balance to the nation’s ecosystem. KI or Kangaroo Island is just the place where tourists can come and be enlightened by the beauty of nature and the magic of wildlife.