Exploring Kangaroo Island

The many parks on this sparsely populated island abound with wildlife-viewing opportunities By: Michael Lowe
<p align="left" class="small_caption">Kangaroo Island // (c) 2010 Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours</p>

Kangaroo Island // (c) 2010 Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours

In the early 1800s, English explorer Matthew Flinders landed on a rugged island just off the coast of Adelaide, South Australia. Seeing the abundance of marsupials bounding across the countryside, Flinders dubbed it Kangaroo Island. Marsupials still outnumber the 4,400 humans on the island, but there is much more to see than the friendly hoppers on Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island is an island wilderness with only one major city, Kingscote, which harbors a population of less than 2,000 people. More than one-third of the island is either a conservation or national park, allowing visitors to experience unadulterated nature at their fingertips.

Flinders Chase National Park covers 180,000 acres and is home to the Remarkable Rocks, a group of granite boulders that appear to be balanced precipitously on bare rock threatening to tumble into the frothing Southern Ocean. Natural processes have left the massive granite cavernous in some areas, shaped by wind, rain and ocean spray some 500 million years in the making. As part of Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours’ Wilderness South Coast itinerary, visitors are given several hours inside the park, including a stop by the rocks. 

At Seal Bay Conservation Park, which is the only area in Australia where sea lions can be observed in close proximity, a 2,600-foot boardwalk, often frequented by seals and pups, winds its way to the sandy beach and turquoise waters. Visitors can wander across white sand to get a closer look at the sea lions surfing the waves or basking under some Aussie sunlight. Australian Wildlife Walkabouts features a two-day Seal Slide tour featuring the Seal Bay Conservation Park as its first stop.

After a day in nature, some gastronomic goodies might be in order, and Kangaroo Island doesn’t disappoint. Exceptional Kangaroo Island tours offers customizable food tours for visitors interested in the local fare. Tours are customizable and can include stops to taste honey from the last-remaining population of Ligurian bees in the world, freshly caught seafood, artisan cheeses and wine from wineries otherwise inaccessible to the public.

Kangaroo Island might be an isolated wilderness off the coast of Oz, but it doesn’t have a lack of activities. Epic landscapes, boundless wildlife and palate-pleasing delights await the intrepid explorer — all within the confines of an island just 1,700 square miles.