Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off of Australia (Tasmania being the largest) and is actually bigger than Long Island (!). It’s located off the coast of South Australia, about 2 hours south of the South Australian capital Adelaide.
Even though the area is large, the population is not. Only 4,500 people live on the island with 1,500 living in the largest town, Kingscote.
Apparently, the air on Kangaroo Island is the second purest in the world, after Antartica. I assume that it’s purer than other remote places because a lot of its air comes from Antartica.
The island is only accessible by plane or boat. We chose the ferry option as we wanted to have a car secured before we got to the island.
The ferry leaves from Cape Jervis and only takes about 45 minutes to cross the Backstairs Passage and reach Penneshaw on the northeastern coast of the island.
The cars are really packed in like sardines and watching it from above was like watching real life Tetris. Our boat even had a truck full of sheep, over 600 of them, as one of the vehicles.
We stayed at the lovely Eleanor River Homestead, a remote cabin off a maze of unsealed roads. After being in Melbourne so long, it was a real vacation to live the unhurried, remote lifestyle of Kangaroo Island. And the red dirt was so quintessentially Australian!
One of my favourite things about the cabin was the wildlife! We had kangaroos wandering around the property and coming right up to the porch, especially at dusk and dawn. There were also tons of birds around and in our birdbath. The property had tons of xantharia, common name yakka, bushes, which had very sharp fronds.
Our cabin’s closest town was Parndana, basically located smack dab in the centre of the island. It is the island’s fourth largest town with a population of 150. Being in the dry centre of the island, it remained largely unpopulated until parcels of land there were given to soldiers after WWII to establish a community. Today, it is the agricultural centre of KI. The main street, in its entirety, is seen in the two right-hand pictures below. A post office, grocery store, and a couple shops make up Parndana. There is also a delicious, and popular hotel, there, which is where we went for my birthday dinner.
The Little Sahara sand dunes were on the south coast of the island. They reminded us of Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head, NC. I even went sand boarding and made it down the dune quite a number of times (in one way or another 😉 ). The wax they gave me to wax my board was Ligurian beeswax.
Speaking of Ligurian bees…. Kangaroo Island has the only remaining pure Ligurian bee population. The bees are originally form Liguria, Italy, but have remained pure on KI due to its remoteness. The pure Ligurian honey is world renowned and I must say is really good. We went to Clifford’s Honey Farm, one of many honey farms on the island, to learn about the process, the bees, buy some honey, and eat some ‘famous’ honey ice-cream (which definitely lived up to the hype).
There were so many gorgeous beaches on the island; it’s hard to keep them all straight!
KI beaches are known for their white sand and blue, blue water. So stunning!
One of my favourites was Stokes Beach, which is only accessible through a veritable obstacles course of rocks. But once you make it through, the secluded, cliff-lined beach is absolutely beautiful. However, we didn’t know it was only easily accessible at low tide, showed up as the tide was coming in, and got quite wet.
Emu Bay, on the calmer North Shore, was pretty but the huge mounds of seaweed lining the shore detracted from the appearance just a bit.
Vivonne Bay was voted as one of Australia’s best beaches by Sydney University’s marine studies centre. It’s also a popular surf beach as it’s on the wilder south coast in the Southern Ocean.
Kingscote Beach is also on the northern coast and is popular for swimming, especially in the summer when the holiday houses there fill up.
Pennington Bay was one of the most dramatic beaches we saw. That being said, we did see it on a stormy day when the waves were stronger than normal. Again, that wild Southern Ocean was churning up a storm.