Your Guide To Penneshaw
By Sherry Lam
One of the oldest settlement on Kangaroo Island, Penneshaw is the main arrival and departure point when travelling by ferry. If you’re planning a trip to the island, you’ll no doubt want to know what there is to see and do in Penneshaw.
Hop off the ferry and you’ll be greeted by the township’s serene surrounds - think crystal clear water, a pristine sandy beach and a sense of calm as you slip away from life on the mainland.
Located on the northeast coast of the Dudley Peninsula on Kangaroo Island, Penneshaw provides access to the main ferry port. The township was named after a combination of influencial names; Dr. F.W.Pennefather, private secretary to Governor Jervois, and Flora Louisa Shaw, The Times colonial editor.
Hog Bay Beach
The main beach at Penneshaw is known as Hog Bay Beach and is a great place for a wander along the coast to admire the crystal clear water, white sandy coastline, see the Frenchman’s Rock Monument and watch the ferries as they roll in and out of the SeaLink Penneshaw Terminal.
Photo supplied by SA Tourism Commission.
Frenchman’s Rock Monument
At the far end of Hog Bay Beach, you’ll find the Frenchman’s Rock Monument and this is where explorer Nicholas Baudin found freshwater when navigating the North Coast of Kangaroo Island in 1802.
Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail
Take a walk to explore the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail which spans for 1.5km and is set on over 4 hectares of bushland. The trail is free and offers stunning lookouts and views. The main entrance is located on Frenchman’s Terrace, adjacent to Penneshaw Beach.
The trail is an iconic drawcard for locals and visitors, as it balances the natural surrounds, great opportunities for wildlife viewing, sculptures dotted along the path and a scenic swing bridge. Please note, the path consists of steps and is not suitable for those with accessibility issues.
Mini Golf at the KI Seafront Hotel
Fancy a hit of mini golf while you’re on KI? This recently renovated 18-hole mini golf course is located at the Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel, with views over the coast. This is a great activity for small and big kids alike.
Penneshaw Penguin Centre
Book in for a Penguin Tour with the Penneshaw Penguin Centre while on the island, for a very special evening wildlife experience. It is the only operational penguin centre in South Australia and a great way to see little penguins and learn about their habitat. Plus you’ll be supporting conservation and research with 5% of funds going towards initiatives with the centre. Bookings essential.
Image courtesy of the Penneshaw Maritime and Folklore Museum.
Penneshaw Maritime and Folklore Museums
Started in 1968 by a group of dedicated locals, the Penneshaw Maritime and Folklore Museum is a national trust situated in Penneshaw. Visit to learn about the town’s rich history of early settlers, see photos that reflect on past eras of rural living, as well as artefacts on the maritime and folk history. Open Wednesday to Sunday or by appointment.
Image by Jesse Ehlers.
From schools of salmon, king george whiting, snook, sand crabs and squid, Penneshaw is known for being one of the best places for fishing on Kangaroo Island. Throw a line off the jetty, head to the rocks on the far side of the beach or cast out from shore. After supplies? Pick up some fishing tackle and bait from Penneshaw Fuel & Hardware.
Head along to the Penneshaw Markets on the first Sunday of each month from October to April, held at the Penneshaw Oval just walking distance from the Penneshaw Ferry Terminal. Peruse the markets and meet the very people who grow, farm and make the arts, crafts and produce available. See SeaLink Kangaroo Island’s special Market Day ferry fares to visit for the day.
Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari
Head out on the water with Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari to see wild dolphins and seals basking on the rocks. Jump in for a snorkel with 75 minute or 2 hour sessions or private charters also available. Find out more.
Where to eat?
Located just 300m from the ferry terminal, the historic Penneshaw Hotel is the place to dine in Penneshaw and is famously known as the only pub in Australia where you can see extraordinary views over the mainland of Australia!
Dine inside at Penny’s Restaurant or sit outside undercover to enjoy the sea breeze and views. Order a delicious aussie schnitzel as well as a range of modern Australian cuisine sourced locally from Kangaroo Island and around South Australia. Bookings essential recommended especially over long weekends and school holidays.
Sorrento’s Pizza at the KI Seafront Hotel
Offering delicious Italian cuisine, dine in or takeaway from Sorrento’s Pizza for the best pizza in town. Enjoy made to order pizza and pastas, or dine in to take in the views over this stretch of beach frontage.
Fat Beagle Café
Pick up your barista made coffee, breakfast and lunch at the Fat Beagle Café in Penneshaw opposite the Penneshaw Oval or dine in. You’ll love this small family-run café, the quirky artwork and their delicious assortment of baked goods. Make sure you try the very popular vanilla slice, if you’re lucky enough to get one in time…
Millie Mae’s Pantry
Make your way to Millie Mae’s Pantry for coffee and a perfectly presented breakfast, brunch or lunch, utilising local ingredients. While here pop into their gift store to peruse the Kangaroo Island produce and locally made products to support small business on the island.
Fire and Smoke KI
Enjoy indoor or alfresco dining overlooking the waters edge, with an extensive menu of local seafood, hand rolled pizzas, slow cooked ribs & steaks, homemade pastas, burgers, schnitzels and more. Fully licensed and can accommodation gluten free, vegan and vegetarian guests. Find out more.
Where to stay?
Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel
Book your perfect stay at the Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel, conveniently located just 300 metres from the SeaLink Ferry Terminal. With a range of accommodation options to choose from such as hotel rooms, two or three bedroom villas, this place is ideal for your weekend away with friends or a family stay. Features include Sorrento’s Restaurant on-site, a mini golf course for the whole family, an outdoor swimming pool and BBQ facilities. Find out more.
Seafront Holiday Park
Located a short distance from the SeaLink Ferry Terminal, just hop off the ferry and you’re almost there to begin your time away. Pull up your tent on a powered or unpowered site, bring your caravan, book in an eco-tent with built in en-suite facilities or stay in one of the popular bell tents.
Be surrounded by nature in this idyllic setting over looking the Backstairs Passage and Hog Bay Beach. Find out more.
Self-Contained Holiday Homes
Escape for the week or weekend with so many holiday homes available for short term holiday rental in the region. Find a range of two to four bedroom homes, most with outdoor decks and BBQ facilities and everything you need to be comfortable for your time away. Graceland featured in the image above. Search properties here with SeaLink.
Dudley Wines Clifftop Cellar Door is the place to be on a sunny Saturday or Sunday. Enjoy a wine tasting on their deck with spectacular views across Backstairs Passage, try their delicious gourmet pizzas and platters, and have a swing of golf with their one par golf course!
Kids will enjoy the on-site playground with great views over the passage. Plus you’ll find a great range of All Season’s wool and natural fibre clothing range, produce and artworks. Bookings essential.
False Cape Wines
Located 15km inland from Penneshaw, is False Cape Wines Cellar Door and is an absolute must-visit when in the region. Try their range of boutique wines, deluxe platters, homemade pies and other seasonal menu items.
Enoy the uninterrupted views over the vineyards from inside the Cellar Door or out on the deck. Suitable for the whole family with nature playground for kids and pet the friendly resident farm animals.
Cape Willoughby Lighthouse
Cape Willoughby Conservation Park is home to South Australia’s very first lighthouse, built in 1852 to prevent shipwrecks in the area. Make your way out to Cape Willoughby to take in the panoramic views or join a tour of the lighthouse to learn about rich maritime history and see the inside to gain an insight into the harsh and remote living conditions experienced by the early light keepers.
Lashmar Conservation Park
Located at the eastern end of Kangaroo Island, Lashmar Conservation Park adjoins the stunning Antechamber Bay, where the Chapman River follows through. The park is a well-known camping and picnic ground, or explore the area further by canoeing along the Chapman River.
Start planning your trip to Kangaroo Island and book your ferry travel with SeaLink, or find a range of holiday packages including ferry fares and accommodation.