Kangaroo Island, Australia

No wonder the UK Sunday Telegraph called Kangaroo Island 'one of earth's last unspoilt refuges'. Here is an island seven times the size of Singapore, literally crawling with wildlife. The koalas aren't being cuddled - they're relaxing at home in native trees. The seals aren't performing - they're lazing beside you on the beach. There are echidnas, platypus, goannas, wallabies and kangaroos. All thriving. All mesmerising. Half the native bushland on Kangaroo Island remains just as it was when British navigator Matthew Flinders put a name to this untamed wilderness in 1802. And more than one-third of the Island is National or Conservation Park. But beauty comes in many forms: views from seaside cottages and cliff-top cabins; delicate handcrafted glassware; a day at the races in Kingscote. And, of course, there's the wine and food. Take a drive and collect wine, cheeses, oysters and lobsters and indulge on a secluded beach. And another thing that's guaranteed: the greeting you'll get from the locals. Tourism Kangaroo Island and its 190 members welcome you to our beautiful home. We look forward to showing you around.

The Island has a fascinating History and was almost claimed by the French in 1804. Throughout the nineteenth century various attempts were made to establish a viable industry on the Island. Salt was mined; farmers tried to carve pastoral leases out of the poor soils; eucalyptus oil stills were set up, Yacca was threshed for it's gum to produce lacquer and explosives; commercial fishing was undertaken, gypsum mining established itself and the tourism industry began. From the start of the 20th century tourism became a fundamental component of the islands economy. To this day Kangaroo Island's numerous natural wonders, beaches, conservation parks and wildlife sanctuaries are visited by tens of thousands of people each year.

Scenic Highlights:

Flinders Chase National Park: Marvel at Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, just two of the many amazing land formations within the 33,000-hectare Flinders Chase National Park. There's also the 1909 Cape du Couedic lighthouse and wildlife aplenty, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and the endangered Cape Barren geese. Start with a visit to the fabulous Flinders Chase Visitor Centre.

Kangaroo Island Caving: Sympathize with the poor horse that discovered Kelly Hill Caves in 1881 by accidentally falling into one, as you tour this beautiful cave system of caverns and sinkholes. Showcase tours run daily, but the more daring can also book an adventure caving tour for a deeper look into this underground world of ornate calcite formations.

Seal Bay Conservation Park: Walk among the nation's third largest and most accessible colony of Australian Sea Lions as these cute creatures doze in the sun after lengthy fishing forays in the Southern Ocean. Various tours are available at the hugely popular Seal Bay Conservation Park: you can join a park ranger for a guided walk on the beach, of take a self-guided tour on the more accessible boardwalk.

Penguin Pageantry: Join Little Penguins on their nightly procession from the waters around Kingscote and Penneshaw to cosy seaside burrows. The friendly folk of the Kangaroo Island Marine Centre in Kingscote run nightly tours, and will also show you around their illuminating saltwater aquariums, containing a huge variety of island marine life including seahorses, amazing cuttlefish and reef fish.

Visit the Lighthouses: Envelop yourself in the Island's history with a tour of its spectacular lighthouses. Dating back to 1852, Cape Willoughby is SA's oldest lighthouse: you can tour it daily. At Cape Borda, tour the lighthouse and museum before exploring the old landing site and lightkeeper's cemetery. And at Weirs Cove wonder at how life was for the early keepers of Cape du Couedic lighthouse, visiting the remains of the jetty, water tank and storerooms that sustained life in this isolated post between infrequent supply ships.

Vivonne Bay: When Sydney University evaluated 10,000 beaches across Australia (rating them on things like clarity of water, privacy and cleanliness) it was only natural that Kangaroo Island's Vivonne Bay would come out tops. But with so many long, curved, sandy beaches - perfect for beachcombing, picnics, surfing, swimming or fishing - it's a wonder the Island's other beaches didn't receive similar recognition.

Activities:

- Adventure Caving in the beautiful cave system of caverns and sinkholes
- Visit the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery
- Indulge in a Marine Tour, whether you charter a boat for an hour, half a day or overnight, you will be sure to have a great time.
- Kayaking, Snorkelling and Diving around the Island
- Toboggan down a dune in Little Sahara, an area of spectacular white sand dunes in bush vegetation is waiting for you to explore!
- Visit a wildlife park, feed a wallaby, cuddle a koala and view the echidnas.
- View the penguins at night at the Penneshaw Penguin Centre
- Pamper yourself for the day at a local health club or spa
- Enjoy an afternoon stroll along ane of the many walking trails