When I first heard about Kangaroo Island, the name itself immediately got me interested and after doing some research, I just knew that I had to go there. I booked a day tour for November 16th with Sealink and had a day full of amazing adventures including wildlife spotting, rock climbing and stunning scenery.
I had a choice between day tours, tours with overnight stays or even going there by myself, but since I had very limited time in Adelaide, I decided to only spend one day on Kangaroo Island. Usually, I would choose to do all the planning myself and go by public transport, but since there is no public transport on the island and the ferry tickets alone would’ve cost me 140 AUD, it worked out to be cheaper – and much easier – with the day tour. The company that I went with did a great job and although a few extra days would’ve been nice, I saw everything I wanted in the one day that I had there. I paid 270 AUD for the trip with ferry tickets, shuttle bus to and from the ferry, a tour bus on the island, a guide, a buffet meal and entrances all included.
I was picked up close to where I was staying in Glenelg and taken to the ferry, where I met Romina from Germany, who I ended up spending the day with. The ferry ride was really nice and I got to see dolphins in the wild for the first time in my life, but I was too excited to capture a good photo.
At 155 km. long and 55 km. wide, Kangaroo Island is the third-largest island in Australia after Tasmania and Melville Island and is seven times the size of Singapore. It lies 112 km. southwest of Adelaide in the state of South Australia.
The island has a population of only 4500 and is very different from the mainland and the other islands due to the fact that the native aboriginals left the island several thousand years ago – long before the white man came to the continent and settled on the island.
The island is a sanctuary for wildlife and has several nature reserves that protect the native animals on the island. Besides the wildlife, the island is well known for its pristine 540 km. of picturesque coastline, its unique rock formations and for the native vegetation that has been conserved in one third of the island due to being uninhabited for so long.
The first stop on the tour was Seal Bay, which is the home of the Australian sea lions and the second largest breeding colony in the country. We got some very strict instructions from the crew telling us that we weren’t allowed to go any closer than 10 meters from the sea lions and we had to stay in a group at all times. Apparently, they can get quite aggressive, but we didn’t see any of that. We saw a bunch of really cute animals chilling on the beach. I enjoyed watching the sea lions playing, rolling in the sand, swimming in the ocean, sleeping and cuddling together.
When we were done watching the sea lions at Seal Bay (who could ever really be done with that though?), it was time for lunch and the bus dropped us off at Vivonne Bay Eco Adventures Bistro located in a beautiful natural bushland at Vivonne Bay for an Australian styled buffet. The bus driver had told us beforehand that he had never heard anyone complain about the food, but unfortunately, he hadn’t met me yet. I’m pretty sure that I’m the most fussy person in the entire universe – and being a vegetarian at the same time really doesn’t make it easy to feed me. I didn’t complain though and instead enjoyed the lunch that I had brought with me.
The next stop was my favourite stop! We went to the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, where we had a chance to spot koalas in the eucalyptus trees. I was so excited and we actually did see quite a few of them! And they are just so cute to look at!
We also got lucky with another native animal of Australia – kangaroos and the smaller version, wallabies! I was able to get up close and personal with some of them and I saw them jumping for the first time! I can’t even express how excited I was about that!
After the wildlife sanctuary, we went for a long drive through Flinders Chase National Park, one of Australia’s largest and earliest conservation parks. Here we saw a lot of natural vegetation and thick eucalypt scrub, which is home to many species of wildlife that are now extinct on the mainland.
The guide was very informative and told us all about the terrible bush fires that Kangaroo Island has experienced in the past – and will experience in the future, as there’s no way of stopping it. The bus stopped at a place called the Yacca Flat, where everything has burned down and has yet to grow back again. Although there was absolutely nothing to see, it was an incredible sight and it was impossible to not feel sad while thinking of all the animals and vegetation that died there.
From the sad nothingness at Yacca Flat to an incredible natural work of art on the outskirts of the national park; The Remarkable Rocks were our next stop and the rocks are exactly what the names says – remarkable. They are a cluster of large granite boulders that have been sculptured by the wind and the ocean spray over many centuries in many different shapes and sizes. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was really an experience to explore and climb the rocks while enjoying the incredible view of the coastline.
From afar, the rocks don’t look like much, but when I got up close, I definitely understood the name that they were once given. They were truly remarkable and a one-of-a-kind thing that you won’t find anywhere else in the world!
A short drive from the Remarkable Rocks lies the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse that was built in 1906 by a talented stonemason. This is definitely the most architecturally beautiful lighthouse that I’ve ever seen. The lighthouses in Australia are generally a lot nicer in appearance than the European ones.
A short, yet steep walk from the lighthouse lies Admirals Arch, which is a stunning natural arch that has been formed by erosion from the ocean. Below the arch is a breeding ground of a colony of New Zealand fur seals that were really fun to watch. There is a pathway all the way to the arch, but unfortunately, it’s not possible to get right close to the fur seals, but we did get a bit closer than on Seal Bay.
The bus then took us to Flinders Chase Visitors Centre, which was the last stop of the day. Here, we could buy some souvenirs or enjoy an icecream before heading back to Penneshaw, where the ferry was waiting to take us back to the mainland. We had a beautiful ride home, watching the sunset over Kangaroo Island. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day.
Although the trip was quite expensive and I didn’t get to plan anything myself, I really enjoyed my day on Kangaroo Island and would spend every penny again on the same trip! I justified it at the time by calling it a once in a lifetime thing, but now I just know that I need to come back and experience Kangaroo Island again. I loved it so much and especially the company of a great new friend made the day very memorable.