Planning A Road trip to Kangaroo Island
"The French Connection"
Original Early Tourist Graffiti .....reads
-TION - DE DE
PAR LE COMMEND
SUR LE GEOGRAPHE
One can take the option of a day trip from Adelaide…hardly worth the money and effort.
Even a two day/one night trip AUD410 is cutting it too short.
Getting There under your own steam.
One has three options re transport to KI:-
1. Fly in/out to the airport near Kingscote. The airport is 15kms out of town so hire car pick up at airport or alternative arrangement is necessary. Hotel with shuttle perhaps. It is possible to book flights for about AUD200 return (from Adelaide).
2. Coach travel from Adelaide to Cape Jervis and Ferry to Penneshaw to collect a hire car. Cars hired on-Island have fewer restrictions than cars hired on the mainland. Coach to Cape Jervis is AUD46 return: Ferry AUD74 return
2. Self drive hire car to Cape Jervis & ship car to KI on the Ferry. On-island hire firms know the driving conditions. Even they have restrictions on “roads” usable and an embargo on driving between dusk and dawn because of the large numbers of animals on the roads. In fact, very few hire companies allow their vehicles to be taken to K.I.
Most roads are unsealed so even if actually permitted to go to K.I. there may be a restriction on using unsealed roads.
Ferry is AUD74 per person return: vehicle up to 5m in length AUD 172
We opted for the second alternative. We booked a very small hire car from Budget for a competitive rate through our Automobile Club membership. AUD 205 for 3 days.
Be aware that there is a $ 2,750.00 insurance excess liability for such hires. ie you could be charged up to that much if you damage the car in an accident. We had our own insurance to waive that excess. Budget also provides insurance (at a cost) to waive the excess. There is no company insurance if the car is driven between dusk and dawn…so you could be up for the total value of the car if you write it off at night.
It’s a good idea to be aware of the time the sunsets and rises. 0559 sunrise and 2005 sunset on Nov 21, the day of our arrival. Check timeanddate.com for such info to suit the time of year of your visit.
Because the Ferry arrives at Pennishaw at 1845, this gave us a window of just over an hour of daylight after picking up the hire car to drive to our pre-booked accommodation in Kingscote. During Winter months when the ferry could arrive after dark, an alternative plan may be needed. For example, an overnight stop in Pennishaw and pick up car next day.
"When to go:"
We opted to go in late November because we had time available.
A better time may have been in September or October when wild flowers are at their best in early Spring.
Also we arrived on Sunday evening. Some tourist sites are closed Monday and/or Tuesday so I’d recommend arriving late in the week.
There is nothing between K.I. and Antarctica and sudden cold weather snaps are not unusual even in high summer so take some warm clothing.
Of course, when the northerly winds blow from central Australia, the opposite occurs. Temperatures over 40ºC are not unknown. We had a day of 35ºC in November followed by wet weather. Take some rain proof gear.
"Where to stay."
Check out a map. There is a circuit of bitumen sealed roads – dual carriageway with centre-line markings – most with edge markings. Many unsealed roads radiating from them to the coast line and through the middle of the island. It is possible to stay on sealed roads and get to the major tourist sites on the western end of the island but it is inevitable that dirt roads will be used to see some of the attractions. You will notice the fresh “road kill” along road verges each morning and understand the hire company limiting car use to daylight hours. See warning on my Qld page.
We opted for a night at Kingscote ; a night at the entry point to the Flinders Chase National Park and then a night back at Kingscote.
Having “Caviar and Champagne” aspirations, I investigated using the Southern Ocean Lodge as my base for 3 nights.AUD 2,670 per person - http://www.southernoceanlodge.com.au/
However, being a mere mortal my budget just manages to include “North Sea Lumpfish & Loire Valley Sparkling” .
First & third night was spent in the Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn at Kingscote. AUD125 per room. http://www.kiseasideinn.com.au/
We opted to stay at the K.I. Wilderness Retreat at the entry point to Flinders Chase on the second night AUD150 per room. http://www.kiwr.com.au/
Because of the limited places to stay on KI, we booked our accommodation well in advance.
"What to See - The French Connection"
We looked at the guides and the map and planned our activities and accommodation to suit what we wished to see.
Having recently taken our grandson to see koalas, kangaroos, raptors etc at zoos back home, we did not take any of the many opportunities to see Australian Wildlife on K.I. We planned to see seals and other sea creatures at Eyre Peninsular after our KI visit.
If you wish to see wild life, you might like to research the venues on offer before you visit K.I.
One of our priorities seeing we have a leaning towards France and things French was to see evidence of the French explorers.
What better than to visit Frenchman’s Rock at Penneshaw Tourist Info Centre to see an actual rock marked by French sailors in 1803.
A replica of the rock is at its original site.
We also visited the Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum to view the displays and talk French Explorers with the caretaker.
Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum, Howard Drive, Penneshaw, K.I. SA 5222.Phone (08) 8553.1109
Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre, Howard Drive, Penneshaw. SA 5222
Toll Free Number: 1800 811 080 Telephone: 08 8553 1185
The central feature of the interpretative display at the Centre is the original Frenchman's Rock inscribed in 1803 during the voyage of discovery by Nicolas Baudin.
I suggest reading "Ill Starred Captains" on the K.I. Into Page before your visit.
other references worth reading
Meeting of Baudin and Flinders
(Baudins last breath)
"What to See - The Flinder's Chase National Park"
The “must visit” area is Flinder’s Chase N.P. The physical features at the Western end of the island attract the greatest number of visitors.
There is a charge to enter the Park:
Park Entry: Adult $9.00;Concession $7.00 ;Child $5.50;Family $24.50
Accommodation options including camping are available in the National Park (check under “Fees” on the webpage.)
A visit to the Visitor’s Centre is a must.
On our way west, we had our morning coffee and intro to KI bees on the outskirts of Kingscote at Island Beehive http://www.island-beehive.com.au/ We were not disappointed.
It was logical to stop about halfway between Kingscote and Flinders Chase so chose to eat lunch at the Andermel Marron Farm which is located close to the middle of the island. http://www.andermel.com/. We also tasted bush-tucker products and Three Wheeler Wines.
"What to see - More Tasting Opportunities"
We were very impressed by the K.I. wines. We drank the local drop with meals and visited two other cellar doors during our tour.
Dudley Wine Cellar Door
Location: Corner of Thomas Willson Street & North Terrace, Penneshaw
Opening Hours: 10-5pm daily. Telephone: (08) 8553 1333
Sunset Wines, Main Penneshaw/Kingscote Road, Penneshaw
mobile: (+61)0439 992 558. tel: (+61) (08) 8553 1378
"More Tasting and Souvenir buying"
Clifford’s Honey Farm - www.cliffordshoney.com.au
Emu Ridge - South Australia's only commercial Eucalyptus Oil Distillery
Emu Ridge is located on Willsons Rd, Section 101 in the MacGillivray area of Kangaroo Island Ph: +61 8 8553 8228
"Be aware of the threats to life & jobs on K.I."
King Island is proud of it's wild life and it's commercial products. All of whom are constantly under threat from outside influences.
Don't contribute to the threats to the honey, potato, wine industries by inadvertently bringing harmful material to KI.
Honey products and bee-handling equipment are not to be brought onto the Island.
Potatoes brought to the Island must be in new packaging. Peels and unused potatoes must be disposed of to ensure that re-germination is not possible.
Vine cuttings and soil in which grapevines have grown are not to be brought onto the Island without prior inspection and approval.
Foxes and rabbits are prohibited under state legislation.
The risk of invasive weed introduction can be reduced by ensuring that vehicles, caravans, trailers, camping gear, hiking boots etc are free of mud and weed seeds prior to traveling.
Aquatic pests are a major threat to this environment. You can help protect the waters by cleaning your boats and gear prior to coming to the Island.
Hikers. In some locations you must clean your shoes on the walking trail to prevent spreading the deadly cinnamon fungus.
Bush Fire Danger The whole of South Australia has a high summertime bush fire risk. Don't light fires. Gas stoves only.
Don't Feed the Animals
Don't Drive Off-Road Use made roads only.
Obey the Signs We couldn't believe the behavior of some visitors during our visit. Simple signs totally ignored. "road closed" was one and the vehicle involved had to be recovered by a truck with a winch.