Culture

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Kangaroo Island

From caves to wildlife and stunning natural sculptures, there's so much to see on Kangaroo Island.

Situated about 110km from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is a natural marvel and a haven of beautiful, unique Australian flora and fauna.

And it’s about to get a whole lot easier to explore.  Thanks to Qantas, a new route will fly directly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide and Melbourne, starting in December 2017.

There’s so much to offer that you could easily spend a week or more on this beautiful island. Here are five things you may not know about Kangaroo Island.

#1 It’s actually pretty big

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Photo: MaxPixel

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, following Tasmania and Melville Island off the coast of the Northern Territory. Clocking in at 4.405 square kilometres, it’s 150km wide with 509km of coastline, making it about the same size as Canberra, and seven times the size of Singapore.

Considering the permanent population of Kangaroo Island is only about 4400, there’s still plenty of space left for the many lush national and conservation parks which take up much of the island.


#2 Bees, glorious bees

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Photo: Wikipedia

Ligurian bees (or Italian bees) are one of the most interesting species found on Kangaroo Island. Though they can be found around Europe, Kangaroo Island is home to the only “genetically pure” population of Ligurian bees on the planet (that is, they haven’t bred with other bee species).

It’s the perfect spot for these honey-makers, with plentiful flora and a climate similar to their native northern Italy. After the bees first arrived on the island in 1881, the population grew so quickly that, by 1885, the entire island was declared a bee sanctuary — the oldest in the world.


#3 Just about every cool Australian animal can be found on Kangaroo Island

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Photo: Wikipedia

While the island is named after our most-famous marsupials, there are so many Australian animals on the island that the whole place feels like a wildlife park. Hundreds, if not thousands, of species call the island home, with many visible year-round, including kangaroos, tammar wallabies, koalas, echidnas, brush-tailed possums bottlenose dolphins, sea lions and more.

The diversity of wildlife on Kangaroo Island is truly remarkable; throughout the year, you can also find black swans, goannas, cockatoos, echidnas and so much more. The best part? You don’t even need to venture into the national parkland, many of these animals simply roam free throughout.


#4 The Remarkable Rocks are, well, remarkable

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Photo: Wikipedia

Situated within the Flinders Chase National Park, Remarkable Rocks are one of the most cherished and breathtaking natural landmarks on Kangaroo Island. One of the most popular tourist attractions throughout, the enormous naturally sculpted rocks stand atop granite outcrop, and have been sculpted thanks to strong winds and seaspray. They’re so unusual and dramatic that they look like specially-crafted artworks — in fact, some have likened them to the designs of sculptor Henry Moore.


#5 It’s full of conservation parks

Kangaroo Island is home to six conservation parks, including Seal Bay, where you’ll find over 1000 rare Australian sea lions, and Lashmar Conservation Park, where a river and beach set a spectacular scene for fishing, canoeing, swimming, birdwatching and more.

Perhaps the most intriguing of these is Kelly Hill Conservation Park, home to stunning caves, perfect for underground adventures. Not only are the caves filled with stalactites, stalagmites and other geographical wonders, but dozens of beautiful animal fossils also give these caves a deeply interesting history.

Qantas will fly from Melbourne and Adelaide to Kangaroo Island from December 2017. Flights from Adelaide will commence on December 4, operating three times per week year-round. Flights will also increase to five times per week over the peak summer season through to Easter. As for Melbourne timings, flights will commence on December 17, operating three times per week during the peak summer holiday season through to the end of January.

What’s not to love? Ease, convenience, and your ticket to exploring some of Australia’s more adorable wildlife. More information and bookings will be available in the coming months.

(Lead image: Domenico Salvagnin/Flickr CC)