The early start to catch the 9am SeaLink Ferry from Cape Jervis did not slow the chatter coming out of our 5 year old! Travelling with this expressive young boy is always entertaining and we weren’t disappointed on this occasion.
There were five in the car and the little one said, are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?! This is all too familiar to travelling families I’m sure. Grandma was in charge of entertainment and snack dispersal simply by being sandwiched in the back between the two kids, affording me fleeting moments to ‘relax’.
We were a travelling party of two cars, five adults; one being a wheelchair user, one aged over 60 and three children under five. So as long as the snacks didn’t run out we’d be fine! If we brought the dog we would have tested all of the SeaLink services.
Boarding the ferry is a straightforward process, park your car in the loading bays, get your tickets and the driver heads back to the car to awaiting further boarding instructions while the rest of the passengers board via the gang plank. There are electric wheelchairs available for passenger use if you cannot get yourself up the walkway on your own steam. The car parking ushers direct the drivers skilfully into tiny car parks and then guide you to the nearest staircase to meet the rest of your companions.
The ferry seems to do a roaring coffee trade & at 9 am it’s a good time to refuel. However if there is the smallest amount of swell walking to the kiosk or the bathrooms on board can be a challenge for anyone. Our tip head to the bathroom before boarding the ferry if you think navigating a rocking boat might be a not be on your list of things to do!
Our first stop off the ferry was the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, we arrived here around 11 am and instantly enjoyed the natural setting. We wandered around the park at our own pace and enjoyed the spacious and well cared for environment within the park. The range of animals to observe and opportunities for interaction were plentiful. We got up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos and a little too close to a crocodile. Apparently she associates wheels of any kind with the food trolley. So with a wheelchair and a stroller and no food for her, she was a little grumpy with us!
Then we began the trek back to our accommodation in Antechamber Bay. I think this is when our son began to understand how big Kangaroo Island is, its approximately 140 km from Penneshaw to Flinders Chase. Our accommodation was just about as rural as you can get, stationed in the middle of an operating sheep farm. To add to the experience, as the sun started setting, the kangaroos came out to graze and it felt like we were the only people on the Island.
Day two we headed down to check out Cape Willoughby Conservation Park. Home to South Australia’s first lighthouse, the conservation park provides visitors with opportunities to learn about maritime history and appreciate what it was like to live and work in such a harsh and remote environment. You can watch for whales from the top of the lighthouse and even stay in one of the light keeper’s cottages. The Visitor Information cottage is accessible and if you can navigate across the gravel paths you could get up next to the lighthouse, which is still a fantastic experience. However the lighthouse is not ready accessible, with access via five steps. Tip – the coffee shop next door have wonderful views and service!
From here we headed Dudley Winery, what an awesome venue! We could have easily spent an afternoon here, from the fantastic indoor and outdoor play areas for children, to having a hit of golf and enjoying the delish Kangaroo Island produce inspired menu. This accessible location was a hit with the whole group.
Pure Island Dairy Sheep and Cheese Factory opened in 1992, so if you want to sample some hand made sheep products and get a taste of Island life, stop in at the Dairy. It does have a gravel carpark and an accessible bathroom.
Next onto Kangaroo Island Spirits, already in good spirits, pardon the pun, this quaint place delivered another quality hospitality experience. The resident dog and relaxed garden setting made it easy to settle in and enjoy some multi award winning gin.
Navigating gravel paths and carparks on is pretty hard to avoid wherever you are on the Island, however the warm customer service and the hand crafted spirits will help you forget. And KIS included, almost every place we stopped had an accessible bathrooms.
Onto the Kingscote Hotel for dinner before heading home. We’d adapted very easily to ‘Island time’ and left our trip back to our accommodation too late, so we ended up on high alert to avoid the abundant wildlife on Kangaroo Island roads at night. The quality of KI roads, both dirt and sealed is pretty high, but the wildlife definitely come out to play at night so be extra careful.
During one stretch of our journey we came across a large lizard, and echidna and a kangaroo! If we had an Australian wildlife bingo game going in the car, there would have been a winner for sure. We had a few games playing the colour version of Eye Spy, but looking for a blue Emu put an end to that.
We lunched at the garden café of Frogs and Roses and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh garden produce whilst the kids enjoyed the rustic garden setting, with interesting animals and artifacts everywhere you looked.
The third day we headed over to American River to take a look around and then headed to Clifford’s Honey Farm. The farm provide visitors with quality honey, select regional produce and information on the unique Ligurian bee found only on Kangaroo Island. This authentic experience is not complete without sampling the honey ice-cream and this is also a great place to purchase some souvenirs.
With honey injected travellers we then made our way back to Penneshaw to catch the 5 pm ferry home.
SeaLink have a fantastic Market Day Return special if you only have a day to spare, however there is so much to see and do on Kangaroo Island you would be left with wanting to see more. Our three days flew by and we only covered half the Island, we can’t get enough of the place, so we’ll be back to see the rest.
Plan your trip to Kangaroo Island today SeaLink.