DATES - we have scheduled 'first week of November' but exact dates will be confirmed on enquiry.
This week-long sojourn explores the length and breadth of Kangaroo Island, and gives insight to the underlying geology, the resultant land-forms and soils, and how this, in concert with the clean environment and Mediterranean climate, can deliver a diverse natural environment and surprising array of local produce. You will be introduced to the people behind the scenes, the stoic characters, dedicated scientists and researchers, and the creative artists who are motivated to make beautiful things by the Island that surrounds them.
Along the way you will get to sample the produce - as a sample or perhaps as part of a meal in a mix of formal restaurant settings, picnics, tailgate tastings and even some home-hosted events. This is a hands-on, muddy boots, immersive experience aiming at satisfying the minds of curious travellers.
Each day covers a different part of the Island - in geography, lifestyle, story and character. Don’t be surprised if you cross paths with the same people again - but playing a different role as we often wear different hats here.
Arrive ready to start exploring - luggage will go to your hotel while you head for the wildlife. Break for morning tea
and an orientation to the Island en route to the Australian sea-lions. Get an insight into one of the world's rarest seals,
their feeding ecology and unique breeding biology while enjoying private access into the colony.
Explore the wilderness beach at Bales Bay, where a stroll along the beach and assessment of the beach wash gives
insight to the abundant marine life offshore. This beach is part of the Cape Gantheaume Wilderness Protection Area,
the northern edge of which is Murray Lagoon, our next destination. Break for lunch at Murray Lagoon and then grab
your binoculars to check out the Island's largest wetland.
A visit to the home studio of celebrated Artist, Janine MacIntosh, introduces you to the influential art community
where a nexus between art and conservation is immediately apparent. End the day at D'Estrees Bay - a local
favourite for beach walks, birdwatching and a challenging surf break.
Travel to American River and check-in to the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, which is your home for the week. Enjoy
dinner and evening at leisure.
Today will include a chance for a swim so make sure you have your bathers, and a warm jacket for the ocean breeze
as we head out onto the sea this afternoon.
Begin the day with a short drive through excellent Tammar Wallaby habitat on our way to Prospect Hill. A recently
upgraded 400-step walk takes us to the summit for great views north to American River and south to the Southern
Enjoy a tailgate olive tasting at Nepean Bay - trying both the fruit and oils produced by the Esposito family on the
deep sands with an excellent shallow aquifer irrigating the extensive groves.
Our next destination is Duck Lagoon, to meet Dr Peggy Rismiller, who wrote the book on echidnas. Peggy will lead a
walk through the bush and share her 30 years of research into this enigmatic creature. Meet up with your guide for
another great al fresco lunch.
Join Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures to explore the coastline. Seek out fur-seals, fish schools, sea-birds and
coastal raptors as you cruise to connect with a resident dolphin pod. If conditions are right, your skipper will get you in
the right spot for an open ocean dolphin swim.
Start at Wisanger School, a single room school house carefully restored and maintained by the community. The old
schoolhouse offers a window into early Island life and, by now, you have probably met several descendants of the
children in the photos on the walls.
Smith Bay is next - and a drive-by of "George's Castle" shows how a desire to "do something for the children"
produced something not foreseen by Council planners! Smith Bay has a large-scale abalone farm where the clean
waters grow sustainable abalone in a "closed-loop" aquaculture venture.
The north coast coves were settled by hardy families who farmed the alluvial soils and were serviced by ketches
before the establishment of a road network. Stokes Bay is one of these, and a hand-carved tunnel provides creative
access to a beautiful beach.
Break for lunch at a private bush camp on "Ellamatta" farm before continuing to a deep cove at Western River for a
beach walk and learning more about the geology which underlies much of the Island.
From here, loop back to Snellings Beach and enjoy a spectacular view from Constitution Hill. The lookout is on the
Cygnet Fault - a massive shear zone which dissects the Island and has defined the landscape.
End at the home of Craig and Janet, owners of Exceptional Kangaroo Island, for a casual wood-fired pizza dinner.
Today is a quieter day with very little driving. Walk down to the Wharf and check out the oyster production, before
wandering through American River to a point overlooking the oyster leases. Try some oysters, perhaps with a splash
of local white wine, and continue with your guide along the old fish cannery trail.
We will meet Tim and Jane - a couple who are involved in many facets of Island life. Their involvement includes
tourism, business, bee-keeping, conservation, sailing, wildlife surveys and community development. They have
graciously agreed to host lunch at their home.
In the afternoon, choose to walk (2.5km) back to the accommodation, or take a 10-minute drive back. The remainder
of the afternoon is at leisure.
Today starts at a private wildlife refuge, the domain of Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife. Here, ecologists have
pioneered wildlife survey techniques, targetting tiny Kangaroo Island Dunnarts (think of a heavily armed mouse!),
Pygmy Possums, Bush Rats, Southern Brown Bandicoots and Short-beaked Echidnas. Check out survey lines and
download images to check who was out exploring only the night before, which enhances our ecological
Unaffected by the 2020 fires, this offers a great picnic spot and a pre-fire benchmark for the region, before heading
into Flinders Chase National Park. Entering the park, it is apparent how vital those unburned refuges are, as a
restocking source for wildlife as the landscape recovers.
Explore Remarkable Rocks, a massive natural sculpture set on a granite dome right on the cliff edge, and Admirals
Arch, a sea cave which is an essential Long-nosed Fur-seal haul-out. Exposed to Southern Ocean swells, the south-
west cliffs have claimed many shipwrecks. A lighthouse stands sentinel beaming a warning to seafarers, as it has
done now for over 100 years.
We return to the east end via the south coast, with a stop in at Point Ellen and Vivonne Bay, the rock lobster port. In
peak season, over 20 boats work from a jetty that provides an efficient spot to unload the catch.
Meet more of Kangaroo Island’s creative producers, starting with the Clifford family at their honey production facility,
where they will introduce you to bee-keeping, some sweet secrets and explain how Italian bees ended up here.
Visit the Turners, one of the neighbouring families who produce what has to be the most definitive Australian product
- Eucalyptus oil. The Turners operate one of the last remaining oil distilleries in Australia.
We head into Kingscote, the main settlement and grab some fish and chips which we can enjoy picnic style. Reeves
Point is the site of the first planned European settlement, with the arrival of the South Australia Company in 1836.
Soak in the history, as well as checking on the shorebirds in the protected waters, including Pelicans who eagerly
greet returning fishermen at the nearby boat ramp.
A distillery of a different kind is next - Kangaroo Island Spirits is one of Australia's finest boutique gin distilleries and
was one of the first. Stop in for a hosted tasting and savour unique flavours from local botanicals.
A wine tasting at the Islander Estate Vineyard cellar door follows - trying some wines made by a Frenchman and an
American on an Australian island. Although it sounds like the start of a joke, the wines are seriously good.
End the day where Pelican Lagoon ends only a kilometre from the south coast at Pennington Bay. Anyone with
energy to burn can take a beach walk at Pennington; otherwise, relax and enjoy the ocean views.
Pack your bags and check-out this morning. We will speak with you individually to determine departure logistics and
plan luggage movements accordingly.
We explore the only quarter not yet covered - the Dudley Peninsula. Start on a creative note - visiting, depending on
availability, glass artist Bernard Stonor, or artistic couple Linda Jenkins and Indiana James.
Travel to Pelican Lagoon, seeking out more of the namesake Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, before continuing to False
Cape Wines for a wine-tasting and picnic overlooking the vines.
Continue east to Cape Willoughby Lighthouse which assists seafarers to navigate the waters of Backstairs Passage
which separates the Island from the Australian mainland. Explore Devils Kitchen, a narrow granite canyon with
signature orange-red lichen.
The Chapman River is next, and Antechamber Bay where the ocean, estuary and nearby Lashmar Lagoon provide
essential waterbird habitat. This area was important in Ngarrundjerri culture, the closest mainland nation, whose
Dreamtime mythology links Kangaroo Island, unoccupied at the time of European contact, to the River Murray.
We continue through backtracks to Penneshaw, and Frenchman's Rock, evidence of some of the first exploration by
Europeans in 1803. We end our journey here - some may be returning to the mainland on the ferry which departs
from Penneshaw, others flying out from Kingscote