Kangaroo Island in South Australia lies just across the narrow Backstairs Passage from the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is an island still so pristine in its beaches and wilderness areas it casts a spell not only on committed Nature lovers but on the casual traveler as well.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island, and its main town, Kingscote, is 30 minutes from Adelaide by air.
Kangaroo Island by land and by sea
By road from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is 110 kilometres (less than two hours’ drive) to Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, where a ferry can take you across the Backstairs Passage to the town of Penneshaw. It takes about 45 minutes to make the ferry crossing.
With a climate that's generally mild to cool, Kangaroo Island is a particularly popular destination in summer.
While there are a number of unsealed roads on the island, a four-wheel drive is not considered necessary.
Kangaroo Island's native kangaroo
Yes, there are kangaroos on the island. The Kangaroo Island kangaroo, a sub-species of the western grey kangaroo, is native to the island.
Kangaroo Island named by Flinders
It was the English explorer Matthew Flinders, exploring and mapping the coastline of Terra Australia in the early 1800s, who gave Kangaroo Island its name in 1802 after his crew slew kangaroos on the island and feasted on kangaroo meat.
Kangaroo Island wildlife
Isolated by a stretch of sea from the Australian mainland, Kangaroo Island has escaped the plague of foxes and rabbits which decimated, and still pose a threat to, much of the country’s native wildlife.
Aside from its own sub-species of kangaroo, native fauna found on Kangaroo Island includes the Tammar wallaby, brushtail possum, short beaked echidna, Southern Brown bandicoot, Western and Little Pygmy possum, sooty dunnart, Australian sea lion and Australian and New Zealand fur seals.
Introduced species on Kangaroo Island
Introduced species surviving on the island include the koala, platypus and ring tail possum.
Next page Kangaroo Island: Penguins and Sea Lions