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Kangaroo Island, SA

Mattg

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I'm thinking about heading over to South Australia next week (I've been in Queensland for a while, so believe I will be able to enter without a quarantine requirement). I have about 4-5 days to work with, so am thinking of visiting Kangaroo Island.

Does anyone have any tips on what to do, where to stay or how to get around there? Also, would you fly from Adelaide or take the ferry?

I won't have a car but would consider renting one.
 

drron

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We went up market and stayed at the Southern Ocean lodge which sadly is no more.of course a TR with some of the activities outside the lodge.
We enjoyed it and hopefully will go back.
 

TonyDoh

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My 14 yo son wanted to go there and as a result we went there about this time last year. I wasn't expecting much but was very pleasantly surprised. It is a very quiet place with lots of nature - national parks, seal colonies, magnificent ocean views, caves to explore, etc.

Of course they had their terrible bushfires in summer. It did a lot of damage, particularly on the western side of the island, so I hesitate to recommend particular places.

There are several small towns, with the largest being Kingscote. We stayed at an Air bnb at a place called Brownlow KI, which is about 3 km out of Kingscote and right across the road from a beach. There is plenty of accommodation of varying standards, again, subject to what survived the fire, which didn't get as far as Kingscote.

If you don't have a car, I would recommend you fly there and rent a car. While there are bus tours available, I would recommend having a car as the distances between points on the island can be surprisingly long. The roads are very good, and there is generally little traffic, so it is a nice place to drive around. As we had a car, we went over on the ferry, which is quite good, but if not taking a car I think flying is the better option.
 

Daver6

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I think you pretty much need a car there if you want to get around. Whether it's cheaper/easier to hire in RAdelaide and take the ferry or just fly and rent, I don't know.

I only stayed a couple of nights in Emu Bay. IIRC we drove to Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. Not sure how the fires have impacted getting to that side of the island though.
 

VPS

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I've been to KI several times and I really don't think you could do it without a car. I haven't been since the fires so not sure what has changed but I would stay in Penneshaw rather than Kingscote. I find Kingscote a bit soulless. I know there are lots of raves about the fresh island produce but away from the towns a lot of the food is dire.

I really enjoyed Raptor Domain The Raptor domain.

Kangaroo Island Spirits - Shop online or visit our cellar door. You will have to go this place because they do great gin.

I'm not sure what has happened to Flinders Chase but Remarkable Rocks, Cape du Coudic and Seal Bay are well worth visiting. There are some fantastic beaches on the north coast too.

Ferry is two hours drive from Adelaide so I'd fly to Kingscote and get a car - although there is a bus that links up with the ferries.

Also do not plan on driving at dusk unless you're prepared to go very slowly
 

bpeteb

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I'm thinking about heading over to South Australia next week (I've been in Queensland for a while, so believe I will be able to enter without a quarantine requirement). I have about 4-5 days to work with, so am thinking of visiting Kangaroo Island.

Does anyone have any tips on what to do, where to stay or how to get around there? Also, would you fly from Adelaide or take the ferry?

I won't have a car but would consider renting one.
Hi Matt
We have a booking for a few days start of October. Fingers crossed we make it. We'd originally booked to stay at Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn but they have since closed (full refund from Qantas Hotels). We've now booked at KI Seafront in their glamping tents (they have other options). We're flying into Adelaide and picking car up from there and taking ferry. I did the sums and expensive car hire on the island plus awkward flight times to KI compared to a crazy deal I got through QF for a Budget hire car saw me choosing the ferry. KI Seafront had (has I'd still imagine) packages that included the ferry that worked out a bit cheaper than booking everything separately.
I'm hoping you go, and post some pics, so we can know what we're in for in October
pete
 

Mattg

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Hi Matt
We have a booking for a few days start of October. Fingers crossed we make it. We'd originally booked to stay at Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn but they have since closed (full refund from Qantas Hotels). We've now booked at KI Seafront in their glamping tents (they have other options). We're flying into Adelaide and picking car up from there and taking ferry. I did the sums and expensive car hire on the island plus awkward flight times to KI compared to a crazy deal I got through QF for a Budget hire car saw me choosing the ferry. KI Seafront had (has I'd still imagine) packages that included the ferry that worked out a bit cheaper than booking everything separately.
I'm hoping you go, and post some pics, so we can know what we're in for in October
pete
Just been having a look, and yes, car hire on the island is unusually expensive. Looks like Hertz pretty much has a monopoly.

At this stage I'm looking at staying for 3 days next week, flying in on QantasLink and out on Rex. If I do that, may just hire a car for 2 of the 3 days to save costs and stay in Kingscote (close to the airport) on the first night.
 
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We flew from Brisbane to Adelaide, then to Kingscote, for a four-night stay several years ago, then early morning bus to Penneshaw, followed by the ferry and bus to Adelaide, flew home, leaving Adelaide in mid-afternoon.

This was with a small group, so the sight-seeing was laid on, but if travelling independently I'd go the same way, renting a car at Kingscote; it was ideal.
 

klm597

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I'm thinking about heading over to South Australia next week
I don't have any insight for Kangaroo Island sadly, but I am visiting Adelaide (and surrounding wine regions) over this coming weekend (Thurs-Tues) for a mini-holiday, coming from Queensland as well.

A friend flew into Adelaide from QLD two days ago and was waved through, so it seems the border crossing is pretty easy if you have stayed away from NSW and VIC.
 

Pushka

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If you hire a car in Adelaide then you can take it on the ferry. Cost does add up but it means that you can use the car for packing space. A few food restrictions on what you can take over there, esp honey. You will need a car (we've been many times). Beautiful but rugged beaches. Vivonne Bay. Emu Bay is a good place to rent a seaside place. Lots of land fishing - Chapman Bay, and ops for fishing on a boat for whiting etc. Remarkable Rocks and Flinders Chase are worth a look as well. It isnt gourmet central by any stretch.
 

drron

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It used to be gourmet central.Just so glad we got to experience the Southern Ocean lodge.Exquisite food and a good cellar.Wine and meals included.you could wander into their cellar and pick any of the wines for dinner.
 

Pushka

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It used to be gourmet central.Just so glad we got to experience the Southern Ocean lodge.Exquisite food and a good cellar.Wine and meals included.you could wander into their cellar and pick any of the wines for dinner.
That place - yes of course. But I'd describe most offerings as three star pub types. But expensive because of sourcing. Local produce and preparing your own works well. And fish is good.
 

Mattg

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Thanks to everyone that replied here. I did end up going to Kangaroo Island last week and really enjoyed it.

Firstly, regarding entry to SA, it wasn't too much of an issue as I hadn't been to any declared hotspots in the preceding fortnight. I had to get a border pass and see a police officer on arrival, but this was more of a formality than anything else. It took about 20 minutes after deplaning in ADL to get processed.

I stayed at Seaview Motel in Kingscote, which was fine. The staff were really friendly. After I arrived, I asked about getting a hire car and the receptionist at the motel suggested I call Budget Car Rental directly. They didn't have many cars available (demand is so low at the moment that they hadn't found it worthwhile to keep paying the rego/insurance on 21/24 of the rental cars at their airport location) but did have a Nissan X-Trail available at a lower price than I had been able to find online. FWIW, I also heard the guy at the Hertz desk say that they can give a better price to regulars/locals, rather than the "tourist prices" advertised online. So I guess the moral of the story is to book direct and/or know somebody!

As others have said, the island is huge and there's no public transport. You really do need a car. If you're not coming on the ferry, the options on the island are basically Budget or Hertz.

Most of the island has reopened, although a few places were closed here and there. Almost half the island was burnt in the bushfires, and that is still quite evident, but it didn't really detract from the experience. Entry to the Flinders Chase National Park is currently free as they aren't able to offer the "full experience" with both the fire damage and covid-19.

I'll post a few pictures below.
 

Mattg

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There were lots of little wineries, distilleries and boutique stores around the island. Everywhere I went, the people were so welcoming and happy to see visitors.

I visited Cliffords Honey Farm which had just reopened and had great ice cream & honey products. They also had honey beer.

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The eucalyptus oil distillery was interesting too. They also had a cafe with a great pulled pork salad.

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I visited also the Islander Winery near Kingscote, which had some really nice wines but was quite busy. There are a line out the door for tasting!

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The whiting burger at Vivonne Bay General Store was also delicious.

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Most people were quite surprised when I said I was from Canberra (one person took a step back and asked if I was feeling OK, but that was an exception). They said that most of the visitors coming at the moment are from Adelaide.
 

bpeteb

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Fantastic photos Matt and fingers crossed we get there at the start of October. We're staying in the glamping tents at Seaview. BigAl and I can go through your photos and make some plans :)
 
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Thanks Matt for the pictures, particularly. I'm glad the island is recovering well.
I do hope the sheep who produce the milk for the cheese were spared, among everyone and everything else.

I grew up with cows, and a bit later sheep, back in the late fifties, and found them both the gentlest of creatures.
 
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