There are many places to visit on Kangaroo Island, and after our hiking adventure we were pretty happy to relax and enjoy some of island’s more chilled out attractions – small coastal villages, great produce and beautiful beaches.
American River and The Oyster Farm Shop
American River is a small town with a lovely estuary. We took a very leisurely walk along the Fish Cannery trail, listening out for the glossy black cockatoos but instead seeing lots of robins, wrens, finches and of course waterbirds.
After the walk, we had lunch at The Oyster Farm Shop. The shop has a select few fresh seafood items for lunches but is currently expanding their menu. When we visited we enjoyed the fresh oysters, beautiful King George whiting and some abalettes (baby abalone). These were really tasty and highly recommended!
Island Pure Sheep Dairy
Being big fans of cheese, we also called in to Island Pure Sheep Dairy. For $4 there was an informative video, lots of fun Q&As to test yourself on, and of course tasting of the cheese. This included kefalotiri, labneh, manchengo, feta and freshly cooked haloumi which was particularly delicious. If you visit in the afternoon, you also can see the sheep milking in progress which was interesting – the sheep know the milking drill pretty well. The shop sells cheese and other KI produce, we stocked up and later enjoyed a nice sunset ‘happy hour’.
Kangaroo Island is famous for its honey. It has the last remaining pure Ligurian bees in the world, which were imported in the 1880’s. Ligurian bees are known for being docile, yet productive and Kangaroo Island was declared a bee sanctuary in 1885 with no other types of bees imported.
There are a few different places to visit for honey on Kangaroo Island, we went to Island Beehive as it is conveniently located near to Kingscote. We tried the various different honey flavours – cup gum, sugar gum, spring flora – but in the end bought some coastal flora honey to have on our toast. It was very yummy, as were the honeycomb ice-creams…
Kangaroo Island Spirits
There are a few wineries on Kangaroo Island but as our next exploration in South Australia was going to be McLaren Vale, we decided to give them a miss and instead visited Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS).
KIS is mainly known for its gin, which they distill with ingredients such as native juniper berry or Kangaroo Island daisy. In fact their KIS O’Gin has previously won the best Botanical Gin in Australia and was very nice. They also have vodka and a selection of liqueurs. I couldn’t go past purchasing some Honey and Walnut liqueur (of course made with Kangaroo Island honey).
Seal Bay on a sunny day is beautiful – the seals have definitely picked a great beach to laze about on! There is a boardwalk to view the seals from, and the option of guided tours which allow you to get closer to the seals on the beach.
The seals are actually Australian Sea Lions and Seal Bay is the third largest colony of these endangered animals. (The seals at Admirals Arch are Fur Seals). It was great to see the sea lions surfing back into the beach after returning from a hunting voyage, which can involve diving up to 200m!
Places to Stay
We stayed for a night in Penneshaw, which is the small town where the ferry arrives. There is a good pub, nice cafe (Fat Beagle Coffee Shop) and you can go on penguin tours in the evening. Walking along the coast in the morning is very pleasant (running up the nearby hills is not quite as much fun!)
After staying on the western end of the island for our hiking, we then stayed in Baudin Beach which is located between Pennshaw and American River. It is a small residential hamlet with lovely sunsets over the cliffs, friendly kangaroos and our holiday house had a lovely deck with lots of birds visiting the bird baths. It was a fantastic place to relax, although some of the other small beachside spots like Vivonne Bay or Hanson Bay would also have been nice.
Finally, being the off season, some of Kangaroo Island’s well regarded restaurants were closed (Sunset Food and Wine, The Enchanted Fig Tree), but that means we have an excuse to visit again!