Take a Tour of Australia's Wild Side on Kangaroo Island
From the dramatic cliffs and secluded sandy beaches, to an abundance of local produce and native Australian animals and wildflowers, Kangaroo Island is one of the world's most pristine wilderness destinations.
Stretching 155km in length, the most popular way to explore the island is to join a small group tour, an organised bus tour or alternatively rent a car or four-wheel drive and enjoy a scenic journey through dense forests, soaring cliffs, endless white sandy beaches, and historic towns like Kingscote, Penneshaw and American River.
Known as "KI" to the locals, this isolated island has offered protection to substantial populations of Australian wildlife. The island is often referred to as "a zoo without fences" because visitors can get up close with animals in their natural environment, including echidnas, koalas, wallabies, goannas, possums and of course kangaroos, which can often be seen in the paddocks and bushland.
Australia's Southern Ocean, the island's rugged coastline is teeming with marine life, including dolphins, leafy sea dragons, sea lions, fur seals and little penguins. In the cooler months, between May and August, visitors can also watch migrating southern right whales and their calves. The marsupials on Kangaroo Island still out-number the human population of 4,400. Due to its isolation, the island has not suffered the usual impacts of human settlement and predators, and as a result, animals, birds and plant life have flourished. Many exist nowhere else in Australia.
The Australian sea lion, hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century, is one of the rarest species of seal, but there are more than 600 of them at Seal Bay Conservation Park on the island's south coast.
Some 267 species of birds can be found among the diverse range of habitats, among them black swans, Cape Barren geese and wedge-tailed eagles. Little Penguins are found living and breeding in sheltered burrows around the coastline and the rare and endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo is found only on KI. Kangaroo Island also produces some of Australia's finest gourmet produce, including sheep's milk cheese, Ligurian Bee honey, King George Whiting, lobster, crab, marron and premium South Rock Lamb.
Exclusive to the Island is the pure-bred Ligurian Bee, which first arrived in 1884 from Italy. Since then, no other breeds have been introduced and the present-day pure-strain bees are unique in the world. Due to its temperate climate, the island also boasts over 30 wine growers and 200 hectares of vineyards, all packed with strong varietal fruit flavours and intense colours.
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