What can you do in 30 hours on Kangaroo Island?

Getting up early on a Sunday morning is worth it when you are travelling across to Kangaroo Island (KI) in South Australia for a 30 hour mini break.  With the drive from Happy Valley to Cape Jervis to board the 10.00 am Sealink ferry taking about 1 hour and 15 minutes you need to leave at least 30 minutes to check in and for your driver to see the car on board too.

The trip across Backstairs Passage was fairly choppy as it was a very windy day and there is the opportunity to walk around the ferry from the inside lounge and kiosk area up onto the top deck or outside onto the bow of the ferry, port or starboard.  It takes 45 minutes on the ferry and then we arrived at Penneshaw a cute and welcoming little seaside village.

Keen to get to a couple of KI attractions before lunch, the first was down a dirt road to Emu Ridge Eucalyptus & Craft Gallery where I picked up some Emu Oil and then a quick stop at Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS) for Pinklily Strawberry liqueur as I do have a sweet tooth.  KIS hand makes batches of wild gin, vodka and liqueurs with very unique flavours such as Honey and Walnut, Limoncello and Anisette with wild fennel.

On into Kingscote, with a loop around the Esplanade, drive down the main strip Dauncey Street and lunch stop at Rogers Deli and Cafe for freshly made rolls before heading out to American River to meet the fishing charter.

After contacting a couple of fishing charters a few days before, I called Cooinda and confirmed our booking whilst on the ferry that morning for a 1.30 – 6.00 pm charter.  The down to earth crew took us out in the choppy water for fishing at a number of different spots for whiting and mackerel – I got one fish and my husband caught two!  It’s much colder on the water so even if it feels warm on the shore I’d suggest a jumper and wind breaker jacket plus lots of water, sunscreen, and moisturiser for the wind burn.  On the way back into the wharf, the boat is followed by large gulls and lots of pelicans who fly down and are hand fed small fish.  Whilst still in American River we found the hotel my parents stayed in 40 years ago when they honeymooned in KI and sent them a photo of their room and the pool.

Hungry after our time out on the fishing charter, we popped into Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood & Takeaway on Telegraph Road, Kingscote to pick up whiting, flake and chips before finding our apartment on Kingscote Terrace.  Having searched on the internet and through the Kangaroo Island Visitor Guide (you must get yourself a copy – it’s invaluable whilst on the island), I found the ideal modern one bedroom apartment with a kitchen, lounge, dining area, TV room, bathroom and beautiful view over the park and out to sea. Willows at the Wharf is down a few doors from the Aurora Ozone Hotel where we called in for an after dinner drink in the lounge bar.

Monday morning I had meetings with Regional Development Australia in Kingscote, businesses and employers to discuss the report I was writing on the KI Business and Workforce Profile whilst my husband Scott explored the island.

A drive out to Andermel Marron on Harriet Road past Parndana and he picked up 8 live marron to bring back home for dinner one night and Bush Tomato and Mountain Pepper Relish from Two Wheeler Creek Wines collocated with the Marron Cafe.  Scott checked out the Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action at Vivonne Bay as maybe next time we can go quad bike riding and sand boarding before heading down to Seal Bay.  There are entry fees for all visitors to walk onto the beach along the board walk and to the lookout.

Scott stopped at Ferguson Australia in Kohinoor Road Kingscote for some swallow tailed fish before picking me up at 3.15 pm to be back at the ferry in Penneshaw by 4.00 pm for a 4.30 pm departure.  A much calmer ride back to Cape Jervis with two dolphins swimming each side of the bow (front) of the ferry topped off a great albeit short trip.

A couple of things I picked up whilst on KI:

  • book your Sealink passes online as its cheaper
  • research the accommodation options via the internet and try to book in advance – dates like early January are very popular
  • be prepared to drive on lots of dirt roads especially to get to out of the way beaches and locations
  • plan to buy fresh meat and bread from the supermarket, make sure you go to the shop early in the day as they can and do run out of supplies
  • planning an event on the island then visit www.eventski.com.au
  • if you are interested in food, wine and produce from KI have a look at http://www.goodfoodkangarooisland.com/
  • provide your feedback as a KI visitor via the Tourism Optimisation Management Model
  • interested in tourism and marketing for KI then read about TKI
  • relax as even though I know it’s not possible, time does seem to go slower on Kangaroo Island

Wendy Perry


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