Kangaroo Island. Just the thought brings up images of idyllic coastlines, abundant wildlife and of course the iconic KI SeaLink ferry. But to be honest, we’ve never taken the kids and think it’s long overdue!
Sure I’d been before, many years ago BK (before kids) and that was hardly sightseeing – we came, we camped and we left. And with so many friends repeatedly saying they’d love to go to Kangaroo Island or have been meaning but never made it got me thinking…
I was brainstorming with my husband Jason on locations to take the kids as we had some ‘research’ to do with our Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Kangaroo Island kept coming to mind and, to be honest, a trip to the island sounded like a match made it heaven as it offers an adventurous holiday for families with kids of all ages and that’s exactly what we were looking for!
Thanks to the great folk SeaLink Kangaroo Island, before we knew it there were ferry fares booked and our weekend on the island was fast approaching. A weekend I hear you say? Yes I know, you need SO much more than a weekend to discover this great island (at least 4 or 5 days would be fab). Unfortunately though our time was limited and we’re always up for a jam-packed adventure! With that in mind we packed up the car and off we went!
Stop 1: SeaLink Ferry Terminal, Cape Jervis
We arrived just under an hour from leaving Adelaide and promptly checked in and received our ferry tickets. The kids were super excited as they saw the ferry approaching the dock and soon enough we were boarding the ferry while Jason patiently lined up in the Pajero Sport to be ushered onto the boat and prepare for our trip across.
SeaLink Kangaroo Island operate two large car and passenger ferries up to 12 times a day in peak period and can accommodate cars, caravans, trailers, campervans, motorbikes and trucks. Not forgetting foot-traffic as well, it’s the connection between the island and the mainland. If you’re wanting to get to Kangaroo Island but don’t have your own wheels, Coach Connection services operate between Adelaide and the SeaLink Ferry Terminal at Cape Jervis and again from the Penneshaw Ferry Terminal and American River & Kingscote.
It was perfect timing to enjoy sunset as the ferry departed for her 6pm sailing and we quickly took our seat inside, ready for the 45 minute trip across to the island. The sailing across was pretty smooth with only a slight swell so we were all happy campers on arrival! 😉
Pretty soon we’d reached the dock at Penneshaw and our adventures on Kangaroo Island had begun. Our accommodation was a short 40 minute drive to Kingscote so we wasted no time in heading for our home away from home for the next few days and settled in for the night.
Stop 2: Kangaroo Island Cabins
We had arranged to stay in a cute self contained cabin at Kangaroo Island Cabins just out of Kingscote. The cabin was really well setup and actually quite spacious, sleeping up to 5. With two young kids it hands-down beat a hotel room – plenty of room to move and with 2 separate bedrooms (both doubles – one with a single bunk overhead), a bathroom and lounge/dining area, there was plenty of space for the kids without them going stir-crazy (and for you to enjoy yourselves long after they’ve gone to bed!). There was also a small balcony/deck and LOADS of green space (and wildlife) to enjoy around the cabins. 2 bedroom cabins start at $135 per night!
Master 4 wasted no time in dragging out the Lego for a quick building session before bed. Clearly he was loving his new surrounds and settled in fast!
Stop 3: Seal Bay
Our first stop of the morning was a guided tour of Seal Bay. Judging by what we’re wearing it’s easy to see it wasn’t the sunniest of mornings however we didn’t let that dampen our spirits and thank goodness we didn’t – this was a showstopper! (see what I did there?!) 😉
Our tour guide explained to us how the sea lions come up into the dunes to escape the wind, especially at night so first up their job is to locate them in the sand dunes and how they head up and take shelter in the swales. We spotted quite a few along the way and thought that was amazing … until we got to the beach. Oh what a sight to behold. Truly breathtaking. There they were, dozens and dozens of seals and sea lions lazing on the beach (with other cheeky males chasing the females around).
Stop 4: Raptor Domain
A few minutes up the road was Raptor Domain, a must-see destination for any KI visitor! It’s an up close and personal visitor experience with various shows involving snakes, spiders, scorpions, lizards and some pretty incredible birds of prey.
We got closer than I would have liked in the ‘Venom Pit’ with a Funnel Web Spider, Brown Snakes, Tiger Snakes and even scorpions! The boys loved it (and as much as I kept stepping away from the enclosure) I have to say I did too!
After the snake and reptile show, we headed across after a short break to their outside pavilion for the ‘In Flight’ show to meet and learn about their birds of prey. Wow! What an experience!
They started with a magpie that was super tame, followed by a few owls and then started moving into different birds including xxx, xxx and the big grand daddy – the xxx eagle! It was a really interactive show and great for the kids as they tried to encourage each of the children to get up and hold/pat a bird. As you can see James (below) was no shybird and held about 3 different types of birds throughout the show.
It’s the small things that make for magical family experiences and judging by the big grin on his face below, I think this one will go up there as one of them!
As time went on the birds got bigger and BIGGER until eventually we met the grandaddy of all birds of prey, the Wedge Tail Eagle! After some pretty impressive manouvres it was time for those of us in the audience to hold one if we wanted to (additional charge towards upkeep of the birds). Jason didn’t hold back and the sheer weight and magnitude of this beautiful creature was incredible.
Raptor Domain was an awesome experience and highly recommended. You can easily spend 2-3 hours here!
Stop 5: Little Sahara (TOP SPOT!)
Not even 10 minutes further down the road was Little Sahara, run by KI Outdoor Action. Completely out of nowhere you’ll discover a series of huge sand dunes nestled into the landscape and what goes hand in hand with sand dunes? A sandboard! We grabbed one and headed up to the dunes with the kids. Well you know how it feels walking in loose sand, let me just tell you it was a GREAT workout just getting to the bottom of the dunes! They also offer quad biking and kayaking adventures too!
I stayed down the bottom for the first ride down to capture the squeals and cheers on the way down. I did have my heart in my mouth the first time round watching all 3 of them slide down the dune at the same time but quickly relaxed when I realised it was pretty harmless fun (within reason!) 😉
Pretty soon the boys were begging me to come to the top and join them and Jason convincing me that it was just STUNNING from the top so I gave it everything I got and climbed to the top. Once I was up there WOW! I was so impressed – just a stunning vista and the most amazing feeling!