Sealink Kangaroo Island Tour Review - A Must See

Looking at Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island

I had heard about Kangaroo Island from many people and knew I would try to visit the Island if I ever went to Australia.  When my husband made plans to attend an international meeting in Adelaide, I felt this was my big chance.  Most guide books recommend a stay on the Island for two or three days but since this wasn’t possible, I was delighted to find that SeaLink offers a one-day trip to and around Kangaroo Island.  My husband and I made plans for a trip that included hotel pick-up, ferry to the island, bus tour around the Island which includes lunch and a flight back to Adelaide.

SeaLink Tour Bus

This experience was one of the highlights of our Australian visit. We were impressed with the professionalism and knowledge exhibited by the drivers and all connected with our tour.  It began with an on time pick-up at our hotel and continued with a ride to the ferry. During  the hour and a half ride, we went through the city of Adelaide and the countryside to the Fleurieu Peninsula.  We passed by the home of the first wine making area in South Australia, McLaren Vale, and some of Australia’s favorite beachside holiday towns.

Boarding SeaLink Ferry

Boarding the ferry, we enjoyed our 45-minute SeaLink ferry ride to Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island. The ferry was completely filled with tourists from all over the globe.   Another bus was waiting at the dock and took us for the drive around Kangaroo Island.  Off we went with our driver, Richard, who offered information about every aspect of the Island, flora, fauna, geology and history.  Long stretches of driving were an opportunity to better understand the Island.

Sea Lions unique to Kangaroo Island

In 1802 British explorer Matthew Flinders named the land "Kanguroo (sic) Island” after landing near Kangaroo Head on the north coast of Dudley Peninsula. During our time there, we discovered what makes Kangaroo Island one of Australia’s great natural wonders.  Our first stop was Seal Bay, home to the second largest breeding colony of the Australian sea lion.  At this conservation park the Parks Interpretive Officer lead our group down to the beach.  We walked cautiously among the sea lions, observing the way they behaved in their natural habitat.  Watching the males rear up to assert their dominance was fascinating.  The view of the shore was beautiful.

Sea Lions at Seal Bay

Boarding the bus again, the drive took us to the Vivonne Bay Eco Adventures Bistro and Function Centre which is set among the natural bushland at Vivonne Bay.  I was especially impressed with the two-course Australian style lunch.  It was plentiful and attractive and I was given special consideration when a vegetarian, gluten-free meal was offered to me.  It was delicious.  After enjoying our lovely lunch, a short walk took our group to the site of the Birds of Prey ‘Free-Flight’ Presentation.

Kookaburra laughs

The presentation of the birds of prey was captivating.  In each case the birds in the presentation had been found, orphaned or hurt.  They are rehabilitated in the sanctuary with an attempt to release them into their natural habitat if possible.  The eagles, hawks, falcons and owls did a great job but my favorite were the two laughing kookaburra.

Tour group watching the owl perform

Our next stop was a stretch of outcropping by the water with a very unusual formation, which has been named “ Remarkable Rocks”.  I want to call them amazing rocks because they do seem amazing to me.  They felt “otherworldly” as though they were on another planet.  I felt that we were very fortunate to be there on a dry day because the rocks would be slippery and dangerous in the rain. This day, visitors were enjoying climbing the rocks.

Remarkable Rocks

After a brief stop at Cape du Couedic Lighthouse built in 1906, we drove to Admirals Arch.  Our driver was very informative and at one point told us about a very serious fire that was set by several lighting strikes in December of 2007.  When it was put out, twenty per cent of the Island had been burned.  It is believed that the forests will heal themselves but not for 40 or 50 years.  As we drove, we could see some of the burned trees with new growth coming from the base of the tree and others with new growth coming from the branches.  There were long stretches that also seemed “otherworldly”.  Here our spectacular view was of stark grey, bare, burned trees surrounded by light green carpets of sphagnum moss. Our next stop was the Admirals Arch.

Looking at area that was burned in 2007

Walking along a steep, winding path toward the sea, a colony of New Zealand
Fur Seals resting on the rocks came into view.  This is their breeding ground.  Continuing further along this path, I was surprised and awed by this natural wonder - an arch formed by the erosion of the pounding sea.

Admiral's Arch - breathtaking

Our last stop was the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre.  Generally there is a lot of wildlife here, including Kangaroos, but due to the fire, animals need to go further away to find food and generally are seen at night.  Friends told us there is honey found only at Kangaroo Island and asked us to get some. Luckily, we found some here. Kangaroo Island is home to the only known pure strain of Ligurian bee in the world. The bees that descended from the Italian province of Liguria were imported in twelve hives in the 1880's and were protected from other breeds of bee by the Island's isolation.  When we tasted it, we were delighted to have been introduced to it.

Leaving on the comfortable Regional Express flight

Just before the bus deposited us at the Kingscote airport, there was a kangaroo sighting from the bus. We entered the smallest airport I've ever been in in time to board a Regional Express plane back to Adelaide.  And so we departed from Kangaroo Island with much to remember.  The airline was impressive.  It was very comfortable and efficient and in half an hour, we were looking for a taxi back to our hotel.  This is a trip we would highly recommend.

Sealink Travel Group Reservations can be accessed at Phone: 13 13 01, FAX: (08) 8202 8666, email: [email protected],

Regional Express can be reached by Phone: 13 17 13, FAX: +61 2 6393 5598, email: [email protected],

Photos: Leon Keer

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