This wonderful holiday destination always gets forgotten. Its extremely remote but allow at least 3-4 days to spend here. This is 4 wheel drive country but we got around in an ordinary car and the unsealed roads were certainly a challenge.
There are two ways of getting to KI and unfortunately neither are cheap - We paid $402 for a car and 4 adult passengers for a return Ferry trip and this was with a 25% discount with the Entertainment Book voucher. You can travel either by Ferry on the Kangaroo Island Sealink Ferry (reservations call 13 13 01 or www.sealink.com.au) from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw, it takes 45 minutes. Bookings are necessary; or by air - Regional Express (Rex) www.rex.com.au and Air South www.airsouth.com.au provide 4 daily 30 minute return flights. We took our own car and went by Ferry. The journey across to KI was a bit rough but coming back was fairly calm.
Fill up with petrol before you get to KI as fuel prices are a tad more expensive there. Fuel is available from Kingscote, American River, Island Beach, Penneshaw, Parndana, Vivonne Bay and KI Wilderness Retreat near Flinders Chase National Park. Fuel stations have limited hours, some closing at 6pm.
Try not to drive at night and if you do, drive slowly. Kangaroo Island wildlife are active most at night and you will see the remnants of the night before on the roads with roadkill almost everywhere you look. You are not allowed to pick up the dead animals so you also see bones and skeletons of animals on the side of the road.
From first impressions we were glad we were staying in Kingscote. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Wisteria Lodge. It was basic accommodation with an outdoor heated swimming pool - it was very old fashioned but met our needs. All rooms had views to Nepean Bay. The Ozone Hotel also looked appealing. In Penneshaw the KI Seafront Resort looked nice. We drove through American River and to be honest there didn't seem to be anything there to entertain families. There were quite a few motels around but they seemed a little dated and run down.
It is wise to book your evening meal. The locals in Kingscote recommended eating at the Queenscliffe Hotel and the meals were nice there. The Ozone also did food but this is Bistro type dining so if you like your Schnitzels then this is the place to go. There are only 3 places to eat, the other place being Bella but they were fully booked so we didn't eat there. The licensed cafe in Hog Bay Stores, Penneshaw also did nice food. Penneshaw also has a pub but didn't look very inviting to the tourists.
We didn't manage to visit them all. It takes 2 hours to drive from Kingscote down to Remarkable Rocks and adding on the time for stopping off at places on the way such as Kelly Hill Caves. Despite the long journey, it is worth this trip. We also visited Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, Island Beehive on the way into Kingscote, Seal Bay Conservation Park, Vivonne Bay, Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch. Do find time to climb Prospect Hill, it looks so daunting as you drive past it - the views across the island are spectacular. We went to Jumbuck Australiana expecting it to be a tourist shop but it is in fact a sheep shearing shed and the only stuff they are selling isn't actually made on KI (or Australia!) so I'd give this a miss if you are stuck for time. Emu Bay Lavender was a little disappointing also operating out of a small shed with the prices of products being a tad expensive. The trip down to Seal Bay was worth the walk just to see the seals in their natural habitat - they do charge to do the boardwalk self guided tour though. On our way down to Remarkable Rocks, we popped in to meet John and Jean (an English couple from Bristol) at Vivonne Bay General Store - they are moving to Brownlow (nr Kingscote) soon though. Kelly Hill Caves operate tours generally at a quarter past the hour, we didn't go down the caves as we'd just missed a tour but it was interesting to see a Seisomology Graph working there. If you've not seen a koala yet then take a Koala walk - blink and you will miss the sign though! You have to pay a fee to get into the Flinders Chase National Park at the Visitors Centre which I'm sure you could get away with only paying for 2 passengers if you have a car load - no one checked up on us but you never know. Also if you haven't packed a picnic, this is the last stop for food. Remarkable Rocks were "Remarkable" just the drive down to them was remarkable in itself with the strange windy roads. Wear a jumper when going down to Admirals Arch as it gets a little cold and windy down there, you also get to see more seals there. From here we took the 2 hour drive back to Kingscote via the Playford Highway, it was long and boring with nothing to see in between. We stopped off at a bakery in Parndana, we didn't have time to go to the Parndana Wildlife Park which was a shame. I had also heard the Paul's Place Wildlife Sanctuary was good but as it was off road getting to this area we gave it a miss. We stopped off at a couple of wineries as well including Sunset Wines and Bay of Shoals.
Thats me at Remarkable Rocks
We had a great time there and would not hesitate to move there to live if the opportunity arises.