Kangaroo Island is an unspoilt island 15km from the shores of the Australian mainland. It is remarkable for its wildlife and its untouched woods which have been growing here for thousands of years. Many species which Australia is famous for can be found here like Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas exotic birds and some which you might not expect to be found here like penguins and seals. There are plenty of opportunities to see those creatures from a nearby distance since most of them seem to be used to human guests. It might be surprising that Kangaroo Island was separated from the mainland only 9000 to 10000 years ago. Due to the separation from the mainlang some animals have evolved differently,e.g. the Kangaroo Island kangaroo. Human population can be traced back 16.000 years from now since stone tools and aboriginal campsites have been found in the early 1900s. European settlement started in the early 1800s.
There are only two big settlements on Kangaroo Island:
There are two ways to get to Kangaroo Island:
Sealink operates ferries from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. Tickets can be booked calling 131301 or on http://www.saelink.com.au. It is necessary to book in advance. A one-way ticket is around 40 australian dollars. Saelink runs an office in Adelaide (440 King William Street, phone:08-8202 8688) which can arrange coach transfer to Cape Jervis, car rental and accomodation. Ferries usually depart in the morning (9am) and in the evening to the island.
Regional Express operates 30min flights from Adelaide to Kingscote Airport (13km away from the biggest city) on Kangaroo Island. Shuttle transport to Kingscote is available, Bookings can be made phoning (08)85532390. A one way ticket is about 80 Australian dollars. Visit http://www.regionalexpress.com.au/ for more details.
The locals enjoy a non-vocal form of communication while driving accross the island. It is common place for the drivers of vehicles travelling in the opposite direction to lift a finger from the steering wheel and wave as they drive past. It's considered polite to do the same, the people are quite friendly.
Getting around can be difficult unless you don't bring your own car with you. However, there are plenty of tour options which can be booked in Adelaide and on the islands. (1day to 3day tours)
If you hire a car on the main continent be prepared that some companies deny taking the hired car to the island. However, Hertz and Budget are the only two operators who offer car rental on Kangaroo Island. Both have offices in Kingscote and Penneshaw. It's a good idea to book in advance if you plan to visit Kangaroo Island during school holiday since availability of cars can be very limited. Be prepared to pay around 70 Australian Dollars per day. (depending on the type of car) Be sure you have plenty of fuel left before you start your trip since petrol stations are limited and mostly close down before 6pm. Roads are good, there is no need for a 4WD car. Cars can be rented from Budget (call 08/85533133, 24h available) or Hertz. Petrol is usually more expensive than on the mainland.
There is a shuttle service between Kingscote, American River and Penneshaw. Booking is necessary, there is no taxi service on the Island.
Bike rental is available though it should be considered that the island is large (155km long) and appropriate fitness is surley necessary.
There is plenty to see on Kangaroo Island, on a one-day trip you will only get a glimpse of what this island has to offer. Most tour operators in Adelaide usually offer 2-day tours but four to five days give you enough time to fully explore the island. If you have only one day your tour should cover at least stops at following destinations:
Souvenir shops can be found in Kingscote and Penneshaw. General stores selling food and drinks can be found here as well. If you are going to camp in the remote islands of the island it is better to buy ahead here since shops are rare and expensive (usually limited to camp sites and resorts selling a few things) especially in the west of the island.
There 28 vineyards spreading throughout the island. Variaties grown are Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
Kangaroo Island is a pretty safe place but care should be taken when going around the island by car. Don't drive at dusk and dawn or night since wildlife is most active at this time of day. None of the car rental services cover damage caused by collision if any animals so be extremly carful. Road conditions are good - most roads are sealed - though some tourist locations can only be reached on unsealed roads which can be particulary hard to drive. Unsealled roads are often made with an ironstone top which can be very treacherous.
Once again there are only two options to get back to mainland Australia from K.I. either the ferry which is capable of carrying cars, trucks and buses. Or by plane from the airport.
There is an internet terminal in the public library as well as in the Ozone Seafront Hotel in Kingscote ($1 for 10min).