Fresh air, a pristine environment, wild animals in their natural habitat and a world away from ugly mass tourism – there is very little not to love about Kangaroo Island. It is South Australia’s pride and rightly so – it caters to every traveller's needs whether you prefer camping under the stars or a glamorous luxury experience, adventure activities or nothing more exciting than hanging out on the beach with some seals. Here is how to do Kangaroo Island with kids.
The multiple family-friendly activities on Kangaroo Island will easily fill a few days, especially if you adopt the isle’s laid back pace. Here, it is all about getting back to nature. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to camp or rough it (although you can do that), all the most unique parts of “K.I.” involve being outside – wildlife spotting, driving from farm to seafood markets or getting out on the water. It really is a beautiful spot to visit.
K.I. promotes itself as a destination for all types so if you prefer to sit inside a hotel with a view and a book, that is available. If you have very small children, doing short activities around the island is easy and safe. And if you have older kids that need to burn energy and be constantly entertained and busy, that is well catered for as well.
Kangaroo Island is perhaps most famous for its wildlife, particularly the sea lions and fur seals at Sea Bay and Admirals Arch. At Seal Bay there are guided tours that will bring you surprisingly close to the thriving population and allow for some memorable interactions and photo opportunities.
If you an international tourist, this is one of the few places in Australia where you might actually see a kangaroo hopping down the road or spot a koala in a tree in the backyard without going to a zoo.
Locals hold a soft spot for John the “Pelican Man” who is at Kingscote Wharf at 5pm every day giving talks while he throws out fish to the lively birds. While this is technically a free activity, it is good etiquette to support Pelican Man’s conservation efforts and contribute a small donation as he works entirely on a volunteer basis.
Then there are all the adventure activities – climbing the Little Sahara sand dunes, having a boat ride or paddle around the island and enjoying the waves on the beach.
On top of that, Kangaroo Island has some incredibly fresh farm produce so there is the organic Clifford’s Honey Farm and fresh live oysters and king crabs to be consumed from Ferguson Australia. Many of these small food producers have interesting interactive elements as well as shopfronts that will keep children amused while the adults indulge – for instance at the Island Pure Sheep Dairy and Cheese Factory they hold tours of the milking process.
Every type of accommodation is available from camp sites to bed and breakfasts, motels to five star resorts. They can be easily assessed at the helpful Kangaroo Island website. For a unique experience try out one of the three lighthouse keepers’ heritage cottage accommodations listed at the site.
For more on family holiday destinations in South Australia, look up "South Australia" on the "Destinations" tab on the suitcases&strollers website.