Dermott Brereton took the journey to Kangaroo Island, 110km off South Australia's Cape Jervis. You can imagine how Matthew Flinders and his crew must have thought they had found heaven on earth there in 1802. Almost dead from starvation, they came across the island, found copious food and water and lived to tell the tale. The island is still a popular place for food and drink, but without the hardship.
SeaLink Kangaroo Island run car ferry services every day between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. More than 150km from one end to the other, Kangaroo Island is one of Australia's most exceptional natural environments. The powerful ocean has sculpted its rocks and made it quite surreal.
It's full of fantastic wildlife and Seal Bay Conservation Park is a favourite place to see some of it. The large sandy beach and dune area is home to a breeding colony of around 600 Australian sea lions. It's mesmerising to watch them riding waves, feeding at sea or just lying on the beach after a big day.
Sea lions are protected by law and visitors must be accompanied at all times by a National Parks ranger who will take you to around 8m of them. They can also be viewed from a boardwalk. The sea lions' ancestors have been around for 6000 years and luckily for everyone, nothing has changed to diminish their lifestyle.
For active adventure, sand boarding at Little Sahara is fantastic. The ancient dune system is surrounded by vegetation. Run by KI Outdoor Action, it all began as friends surfing the dunes on cardboard, old car bonnets or anything they could sit on and slide. Now you can hire sand boards and fly down the slopes at Vivonne Bay which was named one of Australia's best beaches by University of Sydney researchers. KI Outdoor Action also operates sunrise, day and sunset quad bike tours and tuition. They cover 200 hectares of bushland and trails.
Locals will tell you the northern side of the island is calmer and better for swimming. Around 60 years ago crates of TNT were used to blast through a rocky headland. Stokes Bay is a hidden gem, reached by a secret walk through boulders. Its white beach is surrounded by cliffs and rock pools protected from the surf making it safe to swim and wonderful for families.
Dermott dangled a line with Greg Bald of Emu Bay Fishing Charters. Snapper and King George whiting are plentiful so take a container and you're sure to have enough for a meal or two.
Whatever you choose to do, Kangaroo Island is full of surprises for everyone.
Kangaroo Island, 110km off the South Australian coast.
SeaLink Kangaroo Island return ferry fare is $86 for adults and $48 for children. Return vehicle fare is $168. They run every day.
Seal Bay Conservation tours are $27.50 for adults and $16.50 for children.
KI Outdoor Action sand board hire is $29 for up to four hours.
Emu Bay Fishing Charters half-day tours are $120 for adults and $95 for children with a minimum of 4 people.
Prices correct at October 1, 2009.
For further information
SeaLink Kangaroo Island
440 King William Street
Ph: (08) 8202 8688
Fax: (08) 8202 8666
Seal Bay Conservation Park
C/- PO Box 39
Ph: (08) 8559 4207
Fax: (08) 8559 4295
KI Outdoor Action
Vivonne Bay 5223
Ph: (08) 8559 4296
Fax: (08) 8559 4296
Emu Bay Fishing Charters
Section 19, Hundred of Haines
Emu Bay 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 9084