A week on Kangaroo Island (Part 1)

Southwest of Adelaide is the Kangaroo Island, which is Australia’s third largest island. To go there, you take a ferry from Cape Jervis which takes about 50 minutes. 

In Adelaide, we rented a car to explore Kangaroo Island. As the car company is called Hertz and it was a Kia Cerato, our car was now called “Herk”. The journey from and to Kangaroo Island is quite expensive. Taking the ferry with the care costs $380 (about 240 €). In addition to that we bought the Kangaroo Island Tour Pass, which is an additional $74,50 per person (about 93 € for both of us). The tour pass includes many guided tours though. 

The map shows the places mentioned in this blog post:

Our accommodations: Hostel Kangaroo Island Backpackers and Flinders Chase Farm

We had booked our two accommodations already in advance when we were still in Germany. We stayed the first and the last night at the Kangaroo Island Backpackers, which is a hostel that is close to the ferry terminal. The remaining four nights we stayed at Flinders Chase Farm – farmhouse holidays so to speak. Flinders Chase Farm is located on the other side of the island and is close to many points of interest. So this was the perfect starting point for us.

Kangaroo Island Backpackers
Our room

Life on Flinders Chase Farm was just wonderful. We had booked a little cabin with a cute little front porch and a small kitchen, which was perfect. That way we could cook ourselves and keep an eye on our budget. The communal bathroom was spotless clean and had beautiful plants in it. It almost felt like a jungle. In the evening we were visited by wildlife again, for example, possums, wallabies and of course kangaroos.

Our little cabin
Interior of our cabin
Bathroom

The North of Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is about 155 km long and has only a couple of tarred roads. There are two main roads that take you from the east to the west; one of which is located in the south and one in the north. When we arrived, we took the northern main road and then drove on gravel roads to visit two very beautiful bays. The weather was a bit up-and-down, so we stayed sometimes in the car until the rain stopped.

Emu Bay
Stokes Bay

Cape Borda Lighthouse

In the northwest of the Island is the Cape Borda lighthouse. To get here, you drive about 30 km along a gravel road, which was a bit unnerving for me. Our rental “Herk” was a brand new car with a mileage of only 180 km, no scratches or cracks from stone chippings on the windscreen. And of course we had to go back on the same gravel road – so I was a bit worried about our Herk.

Cape Borda Lighthouse

As I said, there are several guided tours included in the Kangaroo Island Tour Pass among which is the Cape Borda lighthouse tour. We had to kill some time before the next tour started, so we did the little “Clifftop Walk” where we could observe a cute lazy kangaroo.

At 14 o’clock we got a very private guided tour from Mick, given that we were the only ones who were there. And it was just fantastic. Mick is exactly like we would have imagined an Australian guy living in the outback. With an outworn hat and endless enthusiasm, he told us everything there is to know about “his” lighthouse – the only REAL one.

A short summary what we learned: The lighthouse is not round but cornered, which is quite unusual. The reason is that the cliff is already very high, so the lighthouse doesn’t need to be. And because of that, the lighthouse doesn’t have to be round either; the cheaper and square version is sufficient. Material handling had to be organized via the beach that is good 6 km away, because everywhere else, the cliffs were just too high.

Cape Borda Lighthouse

Each lighthouse sends its own and unique light signal so that it can be distinguished from the sea.

Lens

Mick showed us how to determine latitudes with a sextant and also explained how to determine longitudes. For this a cannon was fired at Cape Borda Lighthouse always at 13 o’clock. Although not needed anymore, this is still a tradition today and part of his job, so it was a pity that we were too late for the 12:30 guided tour.

Canon

Last but not least he mentioned probably ten times that Cape Borda is the only REAL lighthouse, because unlike the other lighthouses it still has the traditional rotation instead those modern bulbs (or beacons) that just blink. “BOOORING”, as Mick exclaimed. The other lighthouses of Kangaroo Island at Cape du Couedic (according to Mick Cape “Cape Could Be”) and Cape Willoughby (according to Mick “Cape-Wannabe”) can of course go home ?.

Kelly Hills Caves

Kelly Hill caves are part of the Kelly Hill Conservation Park and are in the southwest of the island. Our Tour Pass also included a guided tour through the caves which we of course wanted to see. These are limestone caves that arise when the rock absorbs moisture and eventually becomes so heavy that it collapses. The caves are about 12 m below the ground and the structure of the rock ensures that every sound is absorbed. During the tour the light is turned off and you stand in absolute darkness and silence. Nightmarish!

Accommodations, Herk, Kangaroo Island, Lighthouse, South Australia
Welcome to Adelaide
A week on Kangaroo Island (Part 2)

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