Review: Kangaroo Island walking tours from Adelaide are remarkable
Many of Australia’s most iconic landscapes are located well off the beaten track, which makes walking one of the best ways to experience them. This five-day walking tour of spectacular Kangaroo Island in South Australia offers multiple opportunities to truly immerse yourself in the island's diverse natural beauty. Review: Adam Ford
Kangaroo Island walking tour from Adelaide with Park Trek Walking Holidays
Immerse yourself in one of the most stunning parts of Australia on these fully accommodated and guided Kangaroo Island walking tours from Adelaide. Spend five days hiking many of the most spectacular natural landscapes on the island, before returning each evening to your comfortable accommodation and a hearty home cooked meal. Transport, most meals, accommodation, guided walks and national park fees are all included. Duration: 5 days
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Like pieces of a sculptural installation that wouldn’t look out of place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Remarkable Rocks perch on top of a large sandstone dome protruding from the landscape by the vast Southern Ocean.
Clearly the pieces originally fitted together as part of their own orb, so it’s almost a case of nature’s babushka dolls. Maybe there’s an even bigger dome lying in wait underneath.
Remarkable is a theme that carries through the Kangaroo Island walking tours from Adelaide offered by Park Trek Walking Holidays. Over the past five days we’ve had the chance to immerse ourselves in one of the most stunning parts of Australia; one that offers breathtaking vistas at every turn and almost unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities.
Located off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is the third largest island in Australia (behind Tasmania and Melville Island). It’s one of those destinations that generally draw a rapturous response from the listener when you mention it, particularly it’s fair to say, if they’re from SA. OK, so they’re probably a little biased, but the reality is there’s a lot to get excited about.
These Kangaroo Island walking tours from Adelaide include comfortable accommodation, most meals and guided daily walks. The walks are moderately paced and suitable for anyone of a reasonable level of fitness. As we explore the coastline, soaring escarpments give way to secluded sandy beaches and pristine coves. You will almost certainly see young sea lions body surfing the waves and having a lovely time. More on that a little later.
Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide. Looking for ideas for things to do on Kangaroo Island? In this video we join Park Trek Walking Holidays on a fabulous five-day short break hiking around Kangaroo Island.
At the western end of the island, the Flinders Chase National Park offers a real diversity of landscapes, from eucalypt forest to low-rise coastal scrub. Highlights include the Hanson Bay Hike and a morning walk known as Snake Lagoon. The excellent Visitor Centre has lots of interpretive boards on the local ecology. They also do a mighty fine latte.
Back at the Remarkable Rocks, and except for two possible newly weds canoodling amongst the jigsaw pieces, we almost have the place to ourselves. That’s another theme running through this trip. We’ve hardly seen another soul on any of the walks we’ve done so far.
Human presence on the island has on the whole been rather sporadic. Kangaroo Island has been separated and rejoined to the Australian mainland several times. The last separation occurred around 10,000 years ago.
While there is evidence of human presence dating back around 16,000 years, there were no known Indigenous inhabitants here at the time of European settlement, which officially occurred in 1836 as part of the South Australian colony.
We get to experience a little of that pioneering way of life with two nights at the Cape Du Couedic Lightstation heritage cottages. Located right in the heart of the Flinders Chase National Park and built around the turn of the 20th century, the lightstation was the home of the head lighthouse keeper, his assistants and their families.
Supplies would arrive by ship only once every three months and would be winched up the steep cliffs by flying fox. Any visitors would arrive in the same daring manner as the supplies! See the remains of the winch at Weirs Cove.
One night I step outside our cottage. It’s pitch black. The wind howls and shrieks around the covered verandah. You can only imagine what it would have been like living in this remote outpost for months on end.
There are actually some other residents in the hood. Down at Admiral’s Arch, just a short walk from the cottages, you can visit a colony of long-nosed fur seals. The colony’s home is accessed via a series of boardwalks. It’s possible to get extremely close, particularly to the pups sleeping high up above the shoreline as they wait patiently for their mothers to return from feeding in the shark-inhabited waters.
That brings me to the wildlife, and for me, it’s what makes this trip so special. The wildlife viewing is superb.
There are no foxes or rabbits on the island, and you can expect to see lots of native mammals — including the Tamar wallaby and the Kangaroo Island kangaroo (a sub species of the western grey).
Koalas, platypus and Cape Baron geese, while not native to the island, have all been introduced at various times for conservational reasons and they all thrive here.
The native bird life is also prolific and within just minutes of heading off on our first walk, we spot a pair of the endangered glossy black cockatoo. Beautiful finches and delicate honeyeaters abound.
The biggest highlight though is the sea lion colony at Seal Bay Conservation Park. Managed by National Parks South Australia, this is a truly magnificent experience. A ranger escorts our group down onto the beach and we are able to walk within metres of members of the colony — including large males and mothers with feeding pups.
It’s not uncommon for an inquisitive pup to wander up and investigate a group more closely. The animals are not habituated with food in any way and there is no interference in the life of the colony unless there is an issue caused by human impact (for example if a sea lion becomes entangled in fishing line).
As we farewell the Remarkable Rocks and take our leave, I can’t help but be amazed by this whole experience. Kangaroo Island is without doubt a remarkable piece of Australia and these Kangaroo Island walking tours from Adelaide are a remarkable way to see it.
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.