One-Day Tour of Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Travel Blog

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Kangaroo Island

Disclaimer first: I agree with everyone who will tell me that one day is not enough to do the island justice. However, we had no choice for the very simple reason that the Indian Pacific departs only twice a week. Our stay in Adelaide was limited because of the timetable of Great Southern Railways. We had two nights and one full day to play with, and a tough decision to make in order to adjust our itinerary. We chose to neglect Adelaide, and booked a day tour of Kangaroo Island, just to get an idea and an impression. We selected going by bus and ferry from Adelaide to the island in the morning, and return by plane in the evening.

Cape Jervis
The tour turned out to be the perfect solution to our problem.

Thoughts about Selecting a Tour

In case your travel time is limited, a tour can be a good option to see a bit of the island in a carefree way. There are plenty of different tour operators, there are 1-, 2- and 3-day tours, there are expensive private tours for two or four people and there are affordable coach tours, tours starting on the island and tours that include transfer from and to Adelaide.

Check carefully what is on the itinerary of the tour. Many involve stops at a sheep dairy, honey farm, eucalyptus oil press or whatever - places where you are expected to shop. They might be interesting to see if you have enough time but with just one or two days on an island full of natural wonders you may consider shopping or long lunch breaks at remote restaurants a waste of your precious time.

Sealink ferry

Sealink, for example, the company that also operates the ferry from Jervis Bay, offers two different day tours. One is of the 'shopping' type (which Germans would call Kaffeefahrt) with honey farm and eucalyptus oil press. Ours, however, was a different and much better one that was sightseeing only and no shopping. We booked the tour with Gray Lines but it turned out to be a Sealink tour.

We were taken by bus to the ferry in Cape Jervis, and crossed over to Penneshaw where we were picked up by another bus. The guide was an elderly Kangaroo Island local who had a lot of stories to tell.

K.I. coastline
We got to see Seal Bay, the Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and Cape du Couedic, had a barbecue lunch at a campground in Flinders Chase National Park with a Koala Walk, lots of roos and wallabies, stopped at the Vitistors' Centre of Flinders Chase N.P. On the way back the bus dropped us off at Kingscote Airport. We flew back to Adelaide on Emu Airways (errrm, I thought emus don't fly...) and even got picked up and taken back to our hotel. Organization was as smooth as can be.

I'd say it was worth it. We saw the highlights and quite some wildlife without feeling too rushed. Of course there is more to do. I would have loved to see the penguins, for example. Anyway, one day is better than nothing!

Without an organized tour, however, I would not suggest trying to 'do' the island in one single day.

Seal Bay

Once upon a time colonies of seals inhabited all coasts and beaches around the island.

Seal Bay
The were all extinct by hunters in the 19th century, with the exception of this one, due to protecting reefs further out that do not allow ships to access the bay. So this one colony of the now rare Australian Sea Lions has survived.

The seals of Seal Bay are by no means tame. They are neither fed nor by any other means supported. They are wild animals that have learned to tolerate humans on their beach as long as they don't disturb them. Visitors may approach the animals up to about 8 metres. You will be accompanied by a ranger who not only has an eye on you keeping a safe distance but also explains the life and behaviour of the seals and the scenes you see on the beach.

Only a small part of the beach is accessible through the Ranger Station. The rest is closed to protect the seals' breeding areas.

Seal Bay allows fascinating insight into the daily life of these animals.

This is about the closest distance visitory may approach the seals
They come back in after three days and three nights out at sea, diving for fish. They take a well-deserved rest on the beach first. They are not lazy but just deadly tired. Depending on the season you can also observe the young pups.

The best photos can be taken from eye level - sit down in the sand and snap away...

Remarkable Rocks

The Remarkable Rocks are part of Flinders Chase National Park. At this spot on the Southwestern coast of the island, granite boulders have appeared out of nowhere, like giant bubbles rising from deep in the ground. Geologists will have a scientific explanation for their existence, whatever it may be. Wind and erosion have turned them into fantastic sculptures that ignite everyone's imagination. Lichens give them their characteristic reddish colour.

The rocks are situated more or less on the cliff's edge.

Almost a sculpture
There is no railing. The flat parts are safe but the rock becomes steeper and steeper towards the cliff. Moisture and lichens may make them slippery. Take care where you walk, don't go too far down.

Wildlife on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a great spot to see wildlife. Even during our short visit we got to see some “specials” in the Australian fauna.

At lunchtime we were accompanied by tiny wallabies, magpies and other birds. The koala walk was not too busy, but we saw two of those cute fluffy fellows close by, dozing in the gum trees under the hot midday sun.

At the visitor’s centre, later on, we were met by a group of three kangaroos who were lingering in the parking lot hoping to meet tourists. They were very tame and enjoyed a pat and a scratch. Although we were told not to feed them, there was some idiot who opened a bag of cookies or crisps – and then noticed with amazement how aggressive the animals became all of a sudden.

Seal Bay
Some people just don’t get it…

The three of them looked rather sick, with scruffy, matted fur and, in one case, inflamed eyes. No wonder, as they are stuffed with such unhealthy food by thoughtless foolish tourists every day.

Cape du Couedic and Admiral's Arch

Cape du Couedic is the southwesternmost point of the island. Like several other places on Kangaroo Island it has a French name, as some of the first explorers were French. The ridge carries a lighthouse that marks this dangerous spot. Two small rocky islands prolong the cape further out into the sea.

The tip of the cape forms a natural arch named Admiral's Arch, which is not visible from the top, you have to walk down the stairs.

The rocks around are home to a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals. They rest on the rocks quite close to the viewing platform and can easily be spotted.

vicIII says:
Thanks for your advice, Kathrin!:)
Posted on: Aug 30, 2017
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Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island
Cape Jervis
Cape Jervis
Sealink ferry
Sealink ferry
K.I. coastline
K.I. coastline
Seal Bay
Seal Bay
This is about the closest distance…
This is about the closest distanc…
Almost a sculpture
Almost a sculpture
Seal Bay
Seal Bay
Seal Bay
Seal Bay
Seal pups
Seal pups
Older pups chasing a younger one -…
Older pups chasing a younger one …
Family argument
Family argument
Seal Bay
Seal Bay
Well-deserved rest
Well-deserved rest
Coming in with the surf
Coming in with the surf
Wallaby
Wallaby
Sleeping koala
Sleeping koala
Dozy koala
Dozy koala
A tiny wallaby
A tiny wallaby
Magpies
Magpies
The wallaby won the fight
The wallaby won the fight
A beautiful gum tree
A beautiful gum tree
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Cape du Couedic lighthouse
Cape du Couedic lighthouse
Cape du Couedic
Cape du Couedic
Admirals Arch
Admiral's Arch
Cape Couedic, hidden picture puzzl…
Cape Couedic, hidden picture puzz…
Kangaroos at the visitor centre
Kangaroos at the visitor centre
Kangaroos at the visitor centre
Kangaroos at the visitor centre
Kangaroo Island
photo by: Biedjee