Kangaroo Island, South Australia – with Kids

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Kangaroo in a Field - Kangaroo Island

You are going where?’ This was the common reply, when we told our Australian friends of our plans to take a side jaunt to this natural paradise.  Where I come from (Vancouver, Canada) I suppose it would be the equivalent of heading off to a bear watching lodge (which only a visitor would do).  We longed to have our children see kangaroos and koalas in the wild (nothing against the excellent Sydney zoo). We were not disappointed. Not only did we get wallabies on our doorstep and a koala in yard, we also ate great local fair including cheese from the island sheep dairy, olives from island trees and drank South Australian wine under the stars. What magnificent three days it was.

Beaches Kangaroo Island

 

Kangaroo Island – South Australia

Where: 112 km (70 miles) south west of Adelaide
Size : 150 km (93 miles) long and 57 km (35 miles) wide
Population : 4,300
Getting There: Fly to Adelaide, take a ferry to Kangaroo Island or fly from Adelaide airport.
Getting Around: You will need to rent a car on Kangaroo Island as there is quite a distance between many fabulous attractions and points of interest.

 

Family Friendly Accommodation on Kangaroo Island

There is a stunning hotel on Kangaroo Island called the Southern Ocean Lodge which I was absolutely dying to stay at, but alas, they do not accept children under 10 years old.  Instead we found this lovely house on a hill.

Screen shot 2014-03-12 at 11.57.42 AM

 

Snellings View Vacation Home (website)
Tripadvisor Family Rating: 100%  good or excellent
Rates: from $295 AUD per night
Note: east and west wing options available – great for a large group

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse Keepers Heritage Accommodations (website)
Tripadvisor Family Rating: 100%  rate as good or excellent
Family Rates: from $112 AUD per night

Acacia Apartments (website)
Tripadvisor Family Rating: 87% rate as very good or excellent
Family Rates: from $290 AUD per night

 

Family Friendly Activities on Kangaroo Island

 

Paul’s Place Wildlife Sanctuary (website)

Kangaroo Feeding Kangaroo Island

As a local said ” You need to go to Paul’s for the experience, let alone the animals”.  This is like no petting zoo you have been to before (at least not if you are from North America). Paul is a character and this place is great fun for the whole family.  This hands-on nature center invites visitors to pet and feed the wide variety of animal inhabitants, from turkeys, goats and kangaroos to emus, ducks and peacocks.  Do not miss this !

Location: north coast, 4 km from Stokes Bay
Reviews: 99% rate as very good or excellent
Hours: see schedule
Price: adults $15, kids 2 and older $10
Update: 5 years later, my kids are still asking when we can visit Paul’s again

 

Exceptional Kangaroo Island Tours (website)

Great for families, this tour company gets excellent reviews for their kid friendly island itineraries. Trips can include visits to the sand dunes, snorkeling, dolphin excursions, bush and beach treks and visits to the bee sanctuary and sheep farm.

Location: Kingscote
Reviews: 99% rate as very good or excellent
Hours: tours run daily
Price: depends on the tour

 

Flinders Chase National Park (website)

Fur Seals on Rocks on Kangaroo Island

 

Flinders Chase National Park is the home of the iconic Admiral’s Arch with its colony of New Zealand fur seals and the truly Remarkable Rocks. While the bush walks in the park may be too difficult for small children, they will certainly enjoy looking for fossils in the sand pit at the park visitor’s centre (which also has a nice gift shop and cafe) and watching the seals on the rocks .

Location: 110 km west of Kingscote
Reviews: 100% rate as very good or excellent on tripadvisor
Hours: open daily 9am-5pm
Price: adults $10 AUD, children $6 AUD

 

Pelican Feeding (website)

As one Tripadvisor reviewer described it ” it’s the most entertaining 15 minutes you can have while dressed”

Location: Kingscote, Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre
Times: 5pm daily
Price: adults $6 AUD, kids $3 AUD

 

Island Beehive (website)

Island Beehive from Ligurian bees (found only on Kangaroo island) produces honey that is world renowned for its quality and purity. Daily tours are enjoyable for all, but most fun for kids is the enclosed bee hive and the small play area.  There is also a nice cafe and an excellent gourmet store.

location: Kingscote
times: tours run daily from 9:30 – 3:30
price: free – but at least try some honey ice cream

 

Island Pure Sheep Dairy (website)

Visitors can catch a glimpse of life on a sheep dairy farm, learn about production and, more importantly, taste some of the world class products made from 100% ewes milk. The shop also stocks a wide range of the best produce on Kangaroo Island.

location: Cygnet River near Kingscote
hours: tours run 1-5 pm daily
price : free but great place to get gourmet local food

 

Kangaroo Island Spirits (website)

At their award-winning distillery on Kangaroo Island, Jon and Sarah Lark handmake high-quality liqueurs and spirits. KIS products reflect local and native ingredients such as wild fennel, Ligurian honey and native juniper berries.  While primarily for adults, kids will enjoy playing with the dog and chickens in the yard.

location: Cygnet River near Kingscote
hours: tastings 11am – 5pm  (closed tuesdays)
price : free – they also make a great cappuccino

 

Important Things to Know About Kangaroo Island:

  • If you are not staying in town, make sure you get everything you need from the grocery store, otherwise you will be driving 90 minutes for some butter.
  • Plan accordingly NOT to be driving before dawn or after dusk as there are animals everywhere on the roads at night.  In fact, the rental car companies will not insure you between these times.

 

 

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