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.
Day 1 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.
Day 2 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 Ocean. 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.
Day 3 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.
Day 4 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.
Day 5 Today starts at a private wildlife refuge, the domain of Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife. Here, ecologists have pioneered wildlife survey techniques, targeting 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 understanding. 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.
Day 6 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.
Day 7 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.
The initial deposit is refundable for 5 days - a cooling off period long enough for us to send you precise final terms. Note, many of these are still being negotiated but this first payment will be held in trust, giving us time to determine the conditions for final payment without putting this payment at any risk.
Reservations are confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $A500 per person or per booking, or the amount specified on your booking. On receipt of your reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your selected travel module. Additional deposits may be required and will be advised at time of booking. Final payment of land costs are due at least* 60 days prior to arrival and all reservations will be cancelled if full payment is not received by the due date, with loss of deposit. On receipt of your payment, we will send tour information and vouchers. Please ensure that you receive the information before you travel. Bookings made at least* less than 60 days prior to departure must be paid in full. Due to time constraints, tour information and vouchers may be collected on the first day of departure with Wildiaries from its tour guide. These arrangements will be confirmed to you in writing prior to travel. Every reservation amendment will incur an AUD$50.00 charge, subject to availability. Note that if travel documents have been issued, the fee will be AUD$100. *Special conditions may apply to some trips. You will be notified if this is the case.
All cancellations must be made in writing to Wildiaries, and all tours are subject to the following cancellation charges based on the number of days before tour departure: Over 60 days: No refund of tour deposit Between 0 and 60 days: No refund of tour cost There is no refund for any unused portions of the tour once the tour has commenced. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy which you hold, then any such charges will normally be refunded to you by the insurance company, subject to the terms of your insurance]. Any cancellation fees imposed by hotels, ground operators or other principals or suppliers of goods and services will be charged to you in addition to the cancellation amounts stated above.
Baggage restrictions may apply to charter air travel and small group tours and must be strictly adhered to. We recommend that you ensure you adhere to any weight restrictions indicated.
4. WILD ANIMALS
Please be aware that travel may take you into areas of extreme weather conditions [eg. heat] or bring you in close contact with wild animals. Cases of dehydration and attacks by wild animals are rare, but no tour can guarantee that this will not occur. Neither Wildiaries, its contractors, agents or staff can be held responsible for any injury or incident on your tour. Neither does Wildiaries guarantee sightings of any wild animals, even if these are listed as animals possible to see on a tour.
5. PASSPORT, VISAS & DEPARTURE TAX
The onus is upon you to ensure that passports and visas are valid. Wildiaries, their contractors, agents or staff cannot be held liable for any visas etc. not held by you. The onus is on you to ensure departure tax is included when the airline ticket is purchased prior to arrival in any country.
Wildiaries, its contractors and agents act only as agents for the passenger with respect to services provided, including, but not limited to hotels, restaurants, touring, and all forms of transportation. Wildiaries shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, late or non-confirmation or acceptance of bookings, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, injury or death, whether occasioned by negligence or not. In addition Wildiaries shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any tour or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details, and in the event of any tour been rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, avalanches, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be your sole responsibility. Wildiaries may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the passenger’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the foregoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behaviour of the passenger, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person/s included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all of the other person/s so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her.
7. CHANGES TO SCHEDULES
Although every effort is made to adhere to schedules it should be borne in mind that Wildiaries reserves the right to alter any tour arrangements due to local conditions while providing similar tour inclusions.
Whilst Wildiaries uses its best endeavours to ensure that all anticipated accommodation is available as planned, there shall be no claim of any nature whatsoever against Wildiaries for a refund either in the whole or part, if any accommodation or excursion is unavailable or the passenger was unable to use that service. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy it is your responsibility to refer the matter to your insurance company to seek a refund].
You must take out comprehensive insurance cover before travel for cancellation, medical expenses, personal baggage and money. This should be arranged at the time of payment of any non-refundable costs to cover you for cancellation at that time.
10. PRICING & INSURANCE
We will do the utmost to keep to the prices published. Should increases be forced on us by tour operators, etc. Wildiaries reserves the right to surcharge without notice. All tour costs are based on all known costs at the time of publication.
(a) This agreement is made subject to and shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of Australia.
(b) Wildiaries cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or changes which may occur after that time. All materials contained in any brochure and web site including text, maps, graphics and photographs remain the property of Wildiaries and may not be copied or reproduced.
(c) Clients with special dietary problems are advised to warn us in advance of departure.
(d) For flight information on how to get to the starting point of your tour, contact your travel agent. Please ensure that you re-confirm all your flights prior to air travel.
11. MEDICAL & HEALTH
(a)Hospital facilities in remote locations are often unavailable and evacuation can be difficult and expensive. Wildiaries assumes no liability regarding provision of medical care. A Medical Certificate must therefore be filled out and returned to Wildiaries. If you are aged 65 or older, the Medical Certificate must be signed by your physician. Once you have been confirmed on a trip, normal cancellation penalties apply if your doctor does not approve the Medical Certificate.
(b). It is vital that persons with medical problems make them known to us well before departure. The tour leader has the right to disqualify anyone at any time during a tour if he or she feels the tour member is incapable and/or if a tour member’s continued participation will jeopardise the individual involved or the group. Refunds are not given under such circumstances. The tour leader’s decision is final and neither Wildiaries nor the tour leader shall be subject to any claims or liability in respect of such disqualification.
The payment of the deposit OR any other partial payment for a reservation on a tour constitutes consent to all provisions of the conditions and general information contained in this brochure. The terms under which you agree to take these tours cannot be changed or amended except in writing signed by an authorised officer of Wildiaries.
(a) Share Basis for Single Travellers
Accommodations (both hotels and tented) are usually based on double occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a room-mate if possible. If there is no one with whom you can share, or if you prefer single accommodations, you are requested to pay a Single Supplement Fee.
(b) Tour Information
Whilst Wildiaries makes every effort to ensure accuracy in tour information and descriptions, we are reliant on the tour operators and accommodation providers providing us with accurate data. Since tour operators and accommodation providers are constantly changing facilities and services, we cannot be liable for any errors or omissions herein. If any feature is of critical importance to your holiday, it is your responsibility to ask Wildiaries to check whether such features will be available at the time of occupancy.
Payment of your deposit is acceptance of terms and conditions. I/we understand that by sending the deposit(s) on behalf of myself and everyone in my party is acknowledging that we have read and accept the Wildiaries Terms & Conditions.