At 155 kilometres long and up to 55 kilometres wide, it’s worth hiring a car so you can explore the island at the family’s leisure. The scenic North Coast has some of the best beaches around, many of them hidden away. At Stokes Bay, a natural tunnel through the rocks comes out onto a long, sandy white beach with an enclosed rock pool, making it ideal for children. In the heart of a pastoral valley lies Western River Cove, a picturesque sandy beach accessed by a footbridge along the riverbank.
Many of the roads are unsealed so you’ll find yourself driving more slowly than usual. This is just as well as you may need to stop to let a goanna or kangaroo cross the road, identify one of the island’s many native wildflowers, or grab your binoculars to identify a bird – over 260 species call Kangaroo Island home.
From dusk onwards, watch out for brushtail possums, bats, grazing kangaroos, and wallabies. Related to the Western Grey, Kangaroo Island kangaroos are smaller, darker and have thicker fur. Along with the Tammar wallaby – now extinct in mainland south-eastern Australia – you’re sure to see them in large numbers all over the island. And that’s the beauty of the place: the natural world is alive, kicking, and in abundance.
Photograph © SATC/Adam Bruzzone.