Kangaroo Island is situated off the coast of South Australia and is a wonderful and unique example of a “living flora and fauna” island. You won’t see performing seals; you’ll see seals in their natural habitat. You won’t be able to cuddle Koalas. But you will see them in the gum trees, living as nature intended.
Kangaroo Island was so named by Matthew Flinders in 1802, when he discovered the natural island wilderness whilst circumnavigating Australia. Because of the distance from the mainland (roughly 13km), Kangaroo Island has experienced much less impact on its flora and fauna since European settlement and as a result offers a very unique view of a wilderness habitat.
There has been a deliberate effort to minimize the introduction of foreign species of animals and vegetation. There is no bridge to the island, and the authorities are very sensitive to the numbers of tourists that are on the island at any one time. Managing the environment is key to Kangaroo Islands uniqueness. The first settlers were sealers and settlers who, because of the isolation led a very self sufficient existence.
Ligurian Bees are one of Kangaroo Islands claims to fame. In 1880 August Fiebig bought 12 hives from Italy and established an apiary on the Island. No other breeds of bees have been introduced to the island, and all present day bees on the island are descendants of those first hives. These Ligurian bees are renowned for their productivity and the Kangaroo Island Ligurian bees are world famous for their purity of strain, thus making them a very precious gene pool.
Kangaroo Island offers many different experiences. Gourmet food products are one such industry that is making its mark on the Island. A large number of enterprises have been set up to manufacture and showcase niche foods, using the wonderful array of food resources available on the Island. Gourmet produce such as honey, freshwater marron, olive oil, boutique wines, cheese and milk products are made on the island. One of the main food producers is Island Pure who are a Sheep Dairy and Cheese Factory. Island Pure makes niche cheese and yogurt from sheep milk. You can witness the milking of the sheep, which is a truly unique experience. Whilst I was visiting I had the pleasure of tasting the many cheeses that are manufactured and the sheep milk haloumi was to die for!
Outstanding scenery abounds at every turn on Kangaroo Island. More than one third of the island is devoted to National Park. Flinders Chase National Park has a great visitor’s centre and a number of rock formations – Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch being just two. There are about 30 animal, 250 bird and 850 plant species that are native to Kangaroo Island.
Getting to Kangaroo Island is an adventure in itself. A daily ferry service is run by SeaLink between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. Travelling time is a pleasant 45 minutes and transport coaches are available once on the island. Air services also run from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Island offers the traveller a unique experience in a pristine environment. A visit is thoroughly recommended.
Kangaroo Island Webpage