Feature image by Duncan McKenzie
Kangaroo Island is a myriad of pristine beaches, foodie and drink experiences, and spectacular sunsets.
KI, or Karta, Island of The Dead, as it’s known to mainland Aboriginal tribes, is steeped in history, its 540km of coastline firmly tied to the nation’s spirited colonial past.
Nowadays, KI is most popular with tourists, who flock there for its many conservation parks, wineries, beaches and native animals.
Spring is an excellent time to visit, as cool sea breezes stave off the sometimes-harsh sun, and native flora and fauna are just waking up.
Getting to the island is relatively easy, with the Sealink Ferry sailing almost every hour from Cape Jarvis to Penneshaw, returning on the half hour from the other end.
Foot-passenger tickets are inexpensive, but it’s advisable to absorb the modest additional cost and bring a car, as getting around KI without one is time consuming and challenging. That said, hiring a car on the island isn’t difficult. Budget Rent-A-Car has deals from just over $100 per day.
In terms of accomodation, Kangaroo Island has both budget and luxury options for your stay.
Take Oceanview Eco Villas, for example. A pair of environmentally conscious, exclusive residences just a 30-minute drive from the ferry. Hosts Tamsin and Tim Wendt love to spoil their guests with impressive touches. Indulge yourself in lavish meals, the finest linen and locally made bath salts, rich with restorative botanicals.
KI also has seven Council owned campsites, which operate on a first come first served basis. Spring is an ideal time to get in – hot enough to be pleasant, but not too fine that all the sites are flooded with other holidaymakers.
KI is renowned for its fresh foodie offering. For breakfast or an early lunch, Millie Mae’s Pantry in Penneshaw is very good. The chalkboard menu changes frequently, and the cabinet food, featuring generous salads and stacked sandwiches, is fresh each day. The adjoining shop has you covered for a last-minute gift run, and there’s a loveable café dog.
Cutesy Emu Bay Lavender Farm is also much-loved, with the cider-based hollandaise on their eggs bene legendary with locals.
Kingscote’s Cactus cafe does a solid latte. Afterwards, wander the modest township and admire the residents’ manicured gardens.
The Oyster Farm Shop is definitely worth a visit. Most mornings, visitors will be able to check out the fresh oysters being shucked in the processing facility. The Oyster Farm Shop also offers a local produce tasting menu based on its farmgate products. Think aquaculture and sustainable seafood, all sourced from KI.
KI has a small but thriving wine and spirit scene, and it would be remiss not to treat yourself to a mini wine tour whilst you’re visiting. Some favourite stops include Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS), Islander Estate Wines and False Cape, who are producing some of the island’s finest grapes. We also like Dudley, with its unreal view across Backstairs Passage. and excellent weekend-and-holiday-only woodfired pizzas.
A newish addition to KI, the Kangaroo Island Brewery is excellent fun. Owner Mike Holden has a penchant for small batch beer and wants to share that with guests.
If you’re keen for a swim, Emu Bay is sheltered and safe for swimming. Vivonne Bay offers the opportunity for an Insta-worthy beach shoot. Navigate a labyrinth of caves to reach Stokes Bay, or enjoy a moment of solitude at quiet Western River Cove.
It’s market season now too, with the Penneshaw Market running on the first Sunday of every month from October until April. All the best food, crafts, art and music of KI in one tidy location (Sealink Ferry tickets are discounted on market days).