In 1802 a British and a French explorer set foot on Kangaroo Island, an island in the south of Australia. They discovered the land, naming areas and mapping it out. The island was full of kangaroos, an animal they had never seen before. At first the men and their crews easily hunted these large, dark animals since the kangaroos were not scared of the humans, using the kangaroo meat regularly for steak and soup. The island’s name comes from the abundance of the animals that were seen on the land.
Today Kangaroo Island is the 3rd largest island in Australia and is known for a lot more than just kangaroos, which are no longer hunted. Beaches, wine and honey production, wildlife, nature, and lighthouses are just a few of the reasons that each year over 140,000 tourists are drawn to the island, making reservations at the Kangaroo Island accommodation options. With so much to do, at least a few days are needed to see one of the country’s most popular vacation spots.
As in most of Australia, surfing and beaches are a main attraction on Kangaroo Island. Each part of the island has different conditions, some stronger than others. All the beaches have one thing in common; they are beautiful, clean, and well taken care of by locals, which is something they expect from visitors as well. Enjoy fishing, sailing, scuba diving, surfing, and swimming. The water off the island is always very cold, so when participating in a water sport a wetsuit is recommended. Researching the different conditions is a good idea, as choppier waters, such as in the south, are better suited for more experienced surfers and swimmers.
Agriculture is a large part of the Kangaroo Island economy. The island was proclaimed an Australian wine region in 2001, although wine has been produced on the island for many years before that. 494 acres of vines and 30 growers result in 18 home made brands. Some of the wines are exported to Asia, the United States, and Europe. Visitors to the island can tour the various vineyards for wine tasting, beautiful views, restaurants, and to learn about the individual wines.
In addition to wine, honey is widely produced on Kangaroo Island. All of the bees on the island are Ligurian Bees, a gentle Italian bee that was first brought to the island in 1884. The island’s honey producers are proud to make delicious pure strained honey from the Ligurian Bees. Other bees or bee products are prohibited to enter the island, in order to prevent disrupting the natural bee population. Visit Island Beehive for more information about tours, bees and the process of extracting honey.
Besides kangaroos, Australia is known for several other unique animals, many of which reside on Kangaroo Island. Due to the isolation of the island foxes and rabbit are easily kept off the land, allowing the other animals there to thrive without being hunted or disturbed. Walking trails and guided tours, including at night when some of the animals are most active, are available in the National Parks. The most common animals that will be spotted are Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Australian Sea Lions, New Zealand Fur Seals, Heath Goannas, Echidnas, and Koalas. These animals are observed from a distance so as not to interrupt their normal activity.
Kangaroo Island is fortunate enough to have a beautiful and natural environment that is well taken care of. In fact, over one third of the island is declared as National Park or Conservation, protecting the natural habitats and the animals that live there. The natives expect that all visitors have the same pride and respect for the land as they do. They ask that visitors take care to walk on beaches as opposed to driving, unless necessary, to cooperate with tour guides and follow the rules, not to litter, to wash shoes off after a wildlife tour to avoid passing along fungus, and to observe wildlife from a distance for the animal’s safety and your own. Take advantage of the beautiful environment including the beaches, the National Parks, and the wine vineyards.
The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island
The island’s beautiful lighthouses are as much a part of history as they are a tourist attraction. Kangaroo Island holds the first lighthouse in South Australia, which was built in 1852, and since then two more have been built on the island. Each is beautiful in its own way and each has a unique history. Tours of the lighthouses and museums are given daily.