Where the wild things are
Kangaroo Island provides adventure-seeking families with a dose of glorious, unspoilt wilderness and fascinating wildlife.
WHAT TO DO
As the main town on Kangaroo Island, Kingscote is definitely worth exploring. Surprisingly, it is the oldest settlement in South
Australia and, as such, has an interesting history that can be explored in the Hope Cottage museum. Reeves Point is also a must-see. Sometimes called ‘Old Kingscote’ because it was the first area inhabited, it is one of the most important heritage sites in South Australia. You can shop up a storm in Kingscote’s extensive boutiques, or throw a line in off the jetty where garfish, Tommy ruff and whiting are often found.
Despite being a busy, bustling town, Kingscote is home to much more than just
the bulk of the KI population. Its sandstone cliffs are the spot a colony of Little Penguins, the smallest penguins in the world, have decided to nest.
Wrapped in raptors
If your kids are fascinated with flight, Raptor Domain – Kangaroo Island Birds of Prey is a must-visit attraction. Here, families are given a rare opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures up close – don a glove and have them land on your hand while you smile for a picture. Owls, falcons and kookaburras are all on the program, with Jedda the wedge-tailed eagle taking the starring role. Once you witness her deep-brown expansive wings and amazing connection with Dave, her handler, you will see why. Raptor Domain also hosts the daily Fang-tastic show where kids can get up-close-and-personal with a host of friendly lizards and snakes. You can even enter their new habitat, the Venom Pit, if you dare…
Kangaroo Island is all about the animals.
There is such a plethora of amazing Australian fauna to view here that the best idea is to grab a guide so you don’t miss any of the good bits; that’s where KI Hire a Guide comes in. There is a huge range of family-friendly options, from a Guided 4WD Tour that will take you behind-the-scenes of the island’s more popular tourist spots, to the Nocturnal Tour that shows guests a very different side of the ‘locals’.
Over the boardwalk
A vast expanse of wilderness, the Flinders Chase National Park is one of the best spots to view the amazing wildlife for which KI is famous. Its amazing natural sculptures, such as the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, and a colony of resident fur-seals at Cape du Couedic are easily enjoyed from the network of boardwalks that make the park’s wonders easily accessible for all ages.
Sealing is believing
The Seal Bay Conservation Park is, quite simply, one of the best places in the world to view these amazing creatures. Regular tours take families right into the colonies, enabling them to safely witness the endangered animals in their natural habitat – see them fishing, surfing and playing with their pups. Families can choose between a self-guided tour or joining a tour guide to experience the park. There are also options to visit at twilight.
If you’re more of an underwater family, swimming in the wild with dolphins, watching sea lions in their natural habitat, viewing the Southern Wright Whales on their annual migration or seeing the Kingscote Little Penguins return from their day’s fishing will definitely be on your bucket list. KI Marine Adventures offers several tours, allowing families to view the island’s marine life in all its glory – from relaxing with the Sunset Tour to snorkelling on the Ultimate Coastal Experience.
Enter the underworld
If spikey stalactite and stalagmite formations, deep, dark caves and underground mazes sound like your idea of a great family day out, then Kelly Hill Conservation Park and Caves is for you. Here, your family can explore golden limestone caves filled with a magical treasure trove of caverns. Kelly Hill offers one of the few dry limestone cave networks in Australia and provides a great chance for the family to try adventure caving.
WHERE TO STAY
Bush Getaways’ cabins are certainly perfectly located for families to really soak up the natural environment. Guests share the grounds with other residents – goannas, echidnas, frogs, wallabies, kangaroos – and children will love koala-spotting in the huge eucalypts. Located close to Flinders Chase National Park and the Kelly Hill caves, these well-appointed two-bedroom cabins are perfect to soak up all that KI magic.
HOW TO GET THERE
The vehicle and passenger ferries are quick, taking only 45 minutes, and offer beautiful views of the Backstairs Passage that separates KI from the mainland. Getting around the island by car is very convenient as there is no public transport or taxi services. It’s much cheaper than flying, and Sealink often offers ‘kids-go-free’ deals and cheaper online fares – so make sure to check out www.sealink.com.au for details.
Rex Airlines (www.rex.com.au) flies daily
to Kingscote on KI from Adelaide. The flight takes half an hour.