Fun things to do in Kangaroo Island

  • Admirals Arch
    Admirals Arch
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  • The sea lion cub continues its search for its mum
    The sea lion cub continues its search...
    by Longnosedbandicoot
  • Cape du Couedic Lighthouse
    Cape du Couedic Lighthouse
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Kangaroo Island

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    Clifford's Honey Farm

    by SallyM Updated Aug 14, 2014

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    We visited Clifford’s Honey Farm on the ‘Seal Bay Discovery Tour’ run by Sealink. On arrival, we were given a honey-based soft drink to try, whilst a member of the Clifford family gave us an introductory talk about the history of the farm.

    Clifford's was originally a family sheep farm. They started keeping bees as a sideline 40 years ago, but the business has grown and now they can produce as much as 20 tonnes of honey in a good year. Last year was a very bad one, and they only got 9 tonnes. They move the beehives every 6 to 8 weeks to follow the flowers. Local farmers let them put hives on their land in exchange for a bucket of honey.

    Kangaroo Island had no honeybees until the 1880s. Between 1881 and 1885 a strain of bees was imported from Liguria in Italy. The intention was to breed them and supply the beekeeping industry with a supply of purebred queen bees. In 1885 the Australian Government proclaimed Kangaroo Island to be a sanctuary for these bees, and no more have been imported. As Kangaroo Island is beyond the range of bee flight from the mainland, the bees are believed to be the last remaining purebred strain of Ligurian bees.

    There are 6 commercial honey farms on the island, as well as some hobby bee-keepers and some who breed queen bees for export elsewhere in Australia and around the world. We were shown the container in which queen bees are packed for travel: about 3 inches long and with three circular cells for the queen and about 8 other bees. Apparently it is very straightforward to send queen bees by post within Australia. Overseas deliveries can be more difficult!

    Then we were taken into the honey shed where we were shown the machine where they extract the honey from the combs. At one end, hot water is used to heat the blade that slices off the wax covering. At the other, the combs are spun to extract the honey. The empty combs are returned to the hives. The wax is used for candles and other products such as lip salve, so is not wasted.

    Then we were shown some actual bees in a glass fronted hive. They put a spot of white paint on the queen so that she can easily be identified.

    The tour ended in the farm shop where we were able to sample the honey. (I felt a bit like Winnie the Pooh, having honey at mid-morning!) We tried three types of honey: spring honey, mainly made from rape (canola), mallee gum and sugar gum. I preferred the lighter spring honey, perhaps because it was more like the honey I get at home. The shop also sells other products, including mead, honey ice cream and handmade beeswax candles.

    Glass-fronted hive at Cliffords Honey Farm The all-important honey machine
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    Admiral's Arch

    by SallyM Written Aug 10, 2014

    It was wet and windy when we arrived at Admiral’s Arch, which was part of the ‘Remarkably Wild’ Sealink Tour.

    Some members of the party decided to stay warm and dry on the coach rather than to go down the boardwalk to see Admiral's Arch, but I persevered. It was worth it when I reached the bottom and was able to see the natural arch formed from a collapsed cave and the New Zealand fur seal colony that lives there.

    I was a bit apprehensive about the boardwalk and steps, but they were broad and easy to walk on, even in the wind and rain.

    If visiting in winter months, waterproof clothing with a hood is essential!

    Admirals Arch New Zealand Fur Seals at Admirals Arch New Zealand Fur Seal The Boardwalk down to Admirals Arch

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    Pelican Feeding

    by SallyM Written Aug 10, 2014

    John feeds the pelicans at Kinsgscote wharf every day. The birds had got into the habit of being at the wharf when the fishermen brought in their catch, as they threw the waste away. After this practice was stopped, John felt sorry for the birds, and got permission to feed them.

    He does it every day at 5.00 pm., at his own expense, though he charges a $5 donation towards expenses. John's commentary is very entertaining as he expresses some forthright opinions. He informed us that whilst there are pelicans elsewhere in the world, the Australian pelican 'is the biggest and best-looking pelican.' He also spoke admiringly of a pelican that had justified its existence on the planet by swallowing a Chihuahua!

    According to him, there are no penguins left on the island as the New Zealand fur seals have eaten them all. The audience are warned not to panic if a 'very happy pelican' should wander among them.

    The pelicans grew quite impatient whilst John was doing his introductory patter as they wanted him to stop talking and get on with the feeding. When he did start feeding, he tried to ensure that the gulls weren't left out.

    Despite the fact that it was very cold and windy for sitting around on a wharf, this was one of the highlights of the day.

    Pelican Feeding at Kingscote Pelican Feeding at Kingscote Pelican Feeding at Kingscote
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    Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery

    by SallyM Updated Aug 10, 2014

    This was the first stop on the Sealink ‘Remarkably Wild’ tour.

    Emu Ridge is another sheep farm whose owners decided to diversify, producing oil from the native Kangaroo Island Narrow-Leaf Mallee.

    They now have a harvesting machine that can do in 10 minutes what it used to take them 2 1/2 hours to do by hand, but the still remains a traditional and very simple process. The eucalyptus is put in the top with water, a fire is lit underneath and the resulting steam is then condensed to produce oil and water, which are separated. The oil then goes through a second process to refine it before bottling. The eucalyptus leaf residue is used as mulch.

    They also produce tea tree oil, and are aiming to diversify into other native plants. They have a 2 minute video which they show about their work, which is available in several different languages.

    There is a shop where you can buy their Eucalyptus oil and related products (including sweets and toiletries), which is also a gallery for local craftspeople and artists.

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    Seal Bay

    by SallyM Written Aug 10, 2014

    One of the highlights of the Seal Bay Discovery Tour was the visit to Seal Bay to see the colony of Australian sea-lions.

    There is an indoor visitor centre where you can find out a bit about the difference between sea-lions and seals. Sea-lions have hair, not fur, like true seals, and can also move quite fast on land as they are able to walk on all four flippers.

    After an introductory talk by Dave the warden, we were taken for a walk down the boardwalk to the beach to visit the colony. Visitors must keep together in a group and stay 10m away from animals, both to avoid disturbing them (sea lions cannot sleep whilst out at sea catching food, so need their rest on land) and for safety, as they can move faster on loose sand than humans can.

    Seal Bay Sea-lions are well-adapted to walk on soft sand Seal Bay
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    Raptor Domain

    by SallyM Updated Aug 10, 2014

    We visited Raptor Domain as part of the Seal Bay Discovery Tour operated by Sealink Ferries.

    Most of the birds at the centre have been injured or orphaned and cannot be released back into the wild. They take part in demonstrations which show their natural behaviours. We arrived just in time for the 2.30 p.m. free flying demonstration in which Don Irwin and one of his helpers introduced some of the residents, and demonstrated their particular abilities. The first bird was 'Shush' the Barn Owl, who was hiding in a hollow tree and came out on cue when we called. A black-breasted buzzard called Slim demonstrated an interesting technique for getting into an emu egg.

    Visitors have plenty of opportunities to put on a leather gauntlet and hold one of the birds. I got to hold Omen, the Sooty Owl. Among other birds we saw were Chipps the kestrel; Kylie the hobby falcon, two wedge tail eagles, and Banjo and Clancy, the laughing kookaburras. Kookaburras have the ability to hold their head still while their body is moving, which was very entertaining when demonstrated.

    At the end of the show there is an opportunity to have a photo taken with Nellie, a wedge-tail eagle, in return for a donation.

    It was quite chilly sitting in the presentation area, but blankets are provided.

    Shush the Barn Owl Flying demonstration Slim demonstrating his egg-cracking technique
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    Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

    by SallyM Updated Aug 10, 2014

    This was known until Parndana Wildlife Park from 1992 to July 2013, when it was taken over by new management and renamed Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. The new owners, Sam and Dana are making changes to improve the layout.

    The animals are rescued ones which cannot be released back into the wild and many are tame. We were able to hand feed kangaroos, and to stroke koalas. There are also free-roaming peacocks who seem to enjoy eating the kangaroos’ food.

    We also saw a number of parrots, two wedge tail eagle, a short nosed echidna, and a couple of cassowaries.

    At the end of the tour Sam showed us a baby kangaroo whose mother had been killed in a road accident, which was being hand-reared.

    We visited as part of the ‘Remarkably Wild’ tour run by Sealink, and had about an hour here. If we had been on our own we would probably have stayed a bit longer.

    Open 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

    There is a café area and small shop.

    Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Koala at KI Wildlife Park Cassowary, KI Wildlife Park Sam and baby kangaroo
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    Seal Bay Conservation Park

    by fred98115 Written Jul 9, 2014

    A short walk on the boardwalk at Seal Bay Conservation Park brings one to the habitat of the Hair Seal. Some were within thirty yards of us. Pups suckled. Seals slept. Some entered the water - perhaps with trepidation. The seal would not return for three days, staying awake and alert the whole time to remain safe. On the beach one convulsed, regurgitating shells and bones consumed at sea. Two young males sparred, learning fighting skills that would later reward the victor with sexual unions.

    We were guided by staff so that the seals would be safe, we would be safe, and we would learn.

    I travel with a digital slr using only a zoom lens, no tripod, and that combination was quite satisfactory for making images.

    Hair Seal Dunes and Hair Seals Hair Seal Hair Seals on Beach with Gulls Two Seals: One Returning, One Not
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    Pennington Bay

    by fred98115 Written Jul 9, 2014

    This beautiful bay just calls to the fisherman, the photographer, and the person who likes to sit on a rock and meditate on the beauty found in nature. I can claim two of the three interests. I can imagine visiting here with an 8x10 view camera, but that is not what I have. Digital SLR with a quality zoom lens and no tripod will suffice. I found the wide angle range of the zoom lens to be especially useful here. FYI, the best views are down the road from a parking area at the top of a bluff. A 15-minute walk down will get you there.

    Pennington Bay Pennington Bay Pennington Bay Shore Ledge Pennington Bay
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    Port of Call and Scenics

    by fred98115 Written Jul 9, 2014

    Kangaroo Island was a port of call for us while on a cicumnavigating Australia cruise, and it was one of our most enjoyable stops. The photographer will love the access to scenics as well as shots around the port. We noticed that a ferry exists to bring people from the mainland. If traveling, go light. Tripods would be nice but are not truly needed. A zoom lens will suffice.

    Note that water is a scarce commodity on the island. There are no streams, wells or desalination plants. Residents save roof runoff in the rainy season and ration it until the rains return.

    Island from the Ship Euchalyptus trees Pastoral Scenic Pastoral Scenic Euchalyptus Grove
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    Around the Island

    by shavy Updated Jun 16, 2013

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    There a lot to do in the island, first, need to organize or plan which one you visit. Some of it you need to spent a few hours, and some of the sights you need a whole day tour. Most of the sights are out of the main road and you really need a time to get there. Collect a handy map at the harbor office. Its needed while driving around the island even you're using GPS, it shown on the maps the sightseeing places

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    Pelican Feeding

    by shavy Updated Jun 15, 2013

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    Popular entertainment for all ages, John "The Pelican Man" gives a lively informative talk while feeding the birds, funny while watching the birds waiting for him to come, the bench are almost full with audience patiently waited till the show begin. He arrive with a bucket full of fish. First, he introduced himself making jokes and talk again. He start take one out fish from his bucket then start feeding the birds the Pelican gets crazy and wild. While he continued to feeds the bird, several time we taught some of them landed into our head but was never happen

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    BAUDIN CONSERVATION PARK

    by balhannah Written Dec 14, 2012

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    As well as visiting the ruins in the park, the walk takes you past some wonderful views. Down by the Sea, the rocks were fascinating. They had been worn into shapes, were pitted and covered in bright orange Lichen. Down here, I could see the town of Penneshaw.
    A little further on, I found a bay, but this one didn't have a sand beach, but rocks!
    Views were out over the Ocean and to the mainland of South Australia.

    Baudin Conservation Park is located 15km south east of Penneshaw. Access is via Frenchman's Terrace. Car parking is available at the start of Binneys Track.

    Baudin Conservation Park Baudin Conservation Park Baudin Conservation Park is located 15km south eas Baudin Conservation Park
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    BAUDIN CONSERVATION PARK - BATE'S HOME

    by balhannah Written Dec 14, 2012

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    The Bullock track also took me up the hill to the home of Harry Bate's Cottage. Harry Bates was born in 1846. He came to Adelaide with his family aboard the ship "Melbourne," on which at the age of 12years, was given the job of a Cabin boy. The family moved permanently to Kangaroo Island in 1860. Harry worked for his father on this land, then in 1866 he married and later on had a defacto relationship.
    The property remained in the Bates family until 1985, when the last member of the family died without leaving a will. It was then purchased by the Government and became the Baudin Conservation Park.

    Ruins of the Cottage, an interpretive sign and beautiful views are what is here.

    Harry Bate's Cottage Harry Bate's Cottage Harry Bate's Cottage Harry Bate's Cottage
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    BAUDIN CONSERVATION PARK - THRESHING FLOOR

    by balhannah Written Dec 14, 2012

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    The Baudin Conservation Park is located near Penneshaw. We could drive our car to the park entrance, from there the Ironstone Hill Hike began. At the entrance is a map and details about the hike, which was described as moderate one of 4kms, to allow 3 hours.
    It is hilly, so you will need some level of fitness.

    This Conservation park was a family farm from 1861 to 2001. Heading along the
    original bullock track, it was uphill going to see the old farm implements and ruins, and the heritage listed 'threshing floor.' This floor was used to thresh grain until 1905. It is believed this method was used even though machinery was available at the time, because the wooden log roller was gentler on the Barley grain. The roller was anchored in the centre and drawn around and over the crop by a Horse or Bullock harnessed to its outside end.
    This resulted in Kangaroo Island hand graded Barley frequently winning Show awards for the best Barley.

    The Park is open 7 days a week

    Old harvester Old Harvester Threshing circle
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