Our New Mate Kangaroo Island
By Mardi Zeunert, Create.Talk
Having lived in South Australia all my life, I was embarrassed to admit I hadn’t been back to Kangaroo Island since I was a child. We won’t talk age now will we… My husband and ten year-old daughter had never been. So, as you can imagine, we were very excited about our Island holiday in our very own backyard - South Australia.
We set off in our car on a glorious Autumn morning from Adelaide, bound for Cape Jervis where the SeaLink ferry sails from. A road trip isn’t complete without a pit stop in a cute town, our pick being Yankalilla for a coffee. For once our daughter didn’t ask “are we there yet…?”
At Cape Jervis, our excitement grew while watching the ferry being loaded. Seriously, you feel like you are going ‘overseas’. Well it’s true!
Before we knew it, the ferry ride was over and we were back in our car and at the delightful Penneshaw Beach House. We saw Dolphins in the bay the minute we arrived and was greeted by Fairy Wrens and a Tamar Wallaby. What a welcome!
One of the highlights of staying in Penneshaw is watching the ferries in the beautiful morning light. We stood on the deck mesmerized, watching the Captain back the ferry in perfectly.
I must admit. I am not a huge planner, nor do I like a tight holiday schedule with a list that has to be ticked off. So, we eased into day one of our holiday by driving out to Dudley Wines. Nothing beats pizza, wine and an amazing view to start us off on the right foot. Our daughter even made a new friend who was also on holiday – as you do.
Her new friend’s family asked us along that evening to a SA History Festival event at South Australia’s oldest lighthouse, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse. We had an amazing guided tour, while a local woman played music inside the lighthouse. The sound was incredible.
Waking up the next day I quickly realised – Kangaroo Island is rather big and we wouldn’t get to see ‘everything’. My tip is to do a little planning by working out your ‘must sees’ then adopt Island Time – go with the flow. It is a thing you know!
By day three our daughter announced, “Kangaroo Island is a little piece of everywhere.” It made so much sense. It’s diverse, untouched, raw. Breathtakingly beautiful. From stunning farming landscapes to pristine beaches. Even salt lakes and rivers. Not a piece of rubbish in sight! As a visitor, you feel very protective of it too.
The thing I love about self-drive holidays is you can do them at your own pace. You never know what you will find, especially if you just meander along and take different roads. Stop the car – there’s honey. Stop the car – there’s gin being made here. Stop the car – fresh oysters!
As for seafood, no Island holiday is complete without a feed of fish and chips! Unfortunately, the fish our daughter caught were little ones. They’ve lived to tell the tale! We found our fish and chips at The Rockpool Café at Stokes Bay. It’s never tasted so good… After our feast, we headed along a secret path to the secret beach - so worth it!
More highlights from our holiday was seeing abundant kangaroos – Spotto Skippy is a new game by the way. Another highlight was Seal Bay. We took a guided tour with a local guide and it was the best money ever spent. Especially as we were lucky to see precious Australian Sea Lion Pups!
We also enjoyed beach picnics, long walks and fishing (it became our daughter’s new hobby). Looking down at the water from the Vivonne Bay jetty was incredible, the bluest water I’ve ever seen.
Before you could say Spotto Skippy, our Island Time was up… As we sat in the Penneshaw Hotel having a farewell KI wine, we actually were pleased there was much more to see. Because we’ve written down in our old school diary (in PEN) another date to return!
Back on the Ferry we hopped, as the sun was setting over the Island. We waved goodbye and had a tear in our eyes…. Until next time KI. You’re a friend for life.