In this post you can find some info about how to get to Kangaroo Island and what are the top things to do and to see in this beautiful island in Southern Australia.
Kangaroo Island: the first time I read about the existence of this island I was fascinated by it. To simply hear its name evoked in my mind a faraway land, with lush vegetation and a great variety of wildlife: in short, a true paradise.
Top thigs to do and see in a Kangaroo Island
That’s why while I was planning my trip to Australia, I decided to include Kangaroo Island in my itinerary.
Looking at that tiny dot in Southern Australia, just a few kilometers from Adelaide, it’s hard to realize that Kangaroo Island is not that small after all! It’s actually the third largest island in Australia after Tasmania and Melville Island. In length it extends for 150 km and in width varies from a minimum of 900m to a maximum of 57 km, for an area of 4405 square kilometers.
What makes the island special is the great variety of wildlife that lives there undisturbed due to the almost total absence of natural predators and the absence of men for several centuries. With a population of only 4200 inhabitants and a large part of the island declared national park, it’s truly an animal’s paradise.
The main protected areas in a Kangaroo Island are:
Flinders Chase: it’s famous for the peculiar rock formation and it’s a heaven for the endangered New Zealand Fur Seals.
The famous Remarkable Rocks in the Flinders Chase reserve
Seal Bay Conservation Park: one of the landmarks of Kangaroo Island. It’s possible to get pretty close to the Sea Lions.
The other three natural reserves are:
- Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park
- Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area
- Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area
If Kagaroo Island has remained almost intact in recent years, it is thanks to the experience gained over the decades on the mainland. What not many people know, in fact, is that many Australian animals are in danger of extinction because of cats, foxes, rabbits and other animals introduced from other continents in the past two centuries.
The greatest dangers for the island’s animals are wild cats and the fire.
It’s preatty easy to spot some sleepy Koala
The fire in Australia
The fire plays an important role in Australia. In a recent fire (December 2007) about 1000 square kilometers were lost, equivalent to almost one-fifth of the entire territory (of which 85% are part of the Flinders Chase national park). Despite this, fire represents an important resource for the Australian vegetation. Why?
Fire fertilizes the soil and the plants, much more resistant than ours, can survive and grow more lush than before. When visiting Australia, it is difficult to see an eucalyptus three whose trunk did not burn at least once.
Of course, this does not apply to animals who have to flee as soon as the fire starts, and must do so quickly. Sadly many species can’t run very fast and die. Keep in mind that the Australian forests are mostly composed of eucalyptus trees whose leaves are rich of oil (from which the famous eucalyptus oil is obtained). When a tree of eucalyptus burns its leaves explode and this can create a fire storm. The storm can spread pretty fast since the wind can blow at a staggering 80 Kmh!
For this reason, open fires are forbidden at certain times of the year and the roads are dotted with tables indicating the level of danger.
How to get to Kangaroo Island and other useful info
To visit the island, I decided to book a two-day tour. If you rent a car you’ll be 100% independent but booking the tour allowed me to save some money and that was my priority. You also have to keep in mind that the majority of roads are not paved. So if you visit the island during the rainy season it’s better to rent a 4×4.
Kangaroo Island can be reached by ferry or plane. If you decide to take the ferry keep in mind that it’s probably the most expensive in the world: I payed 92 dollars and it took only 40 mins. The ferry arrives in Penneshaw and it is advisable to buy water and food supplies before start driving inside the island because there are very few shops.
If you don’t want to bok a tour you can look for a good accommodation on Booking.com or Airbnb.
Kangaroo Island is also famous for the honey and you can visit the world’s oldest bees sanctuary. The incredible thing is that the bees come from the Italian region of Liguria, and where introduced in Australia by some Italian emigrants. In the meantime all the bees in Italy went extinct.
Another attraction of the island is the Eucalyptus distillery, the only one left since all the other closed due to the Brazilian competition.
The Wildlife in Kangaroo Island
Obviously Kangaroo Island couldn’t be such if it wasn’t full of kangaroos. And in fact there are a lot of them. During the day they prefer to rest. In the evening, however, it’s quite easy to see many of them.
In addition to kangaroos, there are many Wallaby and Possum (relatives of the American opossums). One interesting thing about Koalas is that they emit a sound that it’s similar to that of the wild boar. Other animals quite common in the island are the Bandicoot, the New Zealand Fur Seals, the Sea Lions, six species of bats and an infinity of birds. So if you are a photographer it’s a good idea to bring with you some telephoto lenses and a sturdy tripod.
I also had the chance to spot an Echidna (a kind of weird hedgehog) that, together with the Platypus, belongs to the family of the Monotremes. The monotremes are typified by laying eggs rather than bearing live young, and by structural differences in their brains, jaws, digestive and reproductive tracts, and other body parts compared to the more common mammalian types. However, like all mammals, the female monotremes nurse their young with milk. There are only 4 species of monotremes and they are all found in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
There would be plenty of other things to say about this wonderful place where I left my heart. For those who love nature and are lucky enough to travel to that part of the world, a visit to Kangaroo Island is a must, but be careful: among the side effects there is a strong desire come back to Kangaroo Island more than once…
Here some more pictures I took in Australia. Here you can find a funny article about Taiwan and here some suggestions if you plan to visit the United Arab Emirates.