At seven times the size of Singapore, Kangaroo Island is bigger than you might think, and you can spend a fair bit of time getting from one place of interest to the next. Of the many places to see on the island, Flinders Chase National Park is one of the most important. Your first stop should be the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre, where you can purchase park entry, view the interpretive display, dine at the licensed cafe, buy souvenirs, and obtain parks information. After 30 years of lobbying, reluctant politicians finally agreed to preserve this region of the island in 1919. Today it makes up around 17% of the island and is home to true wilderness, some beautiful coastal scenery, two old lighthouses, and plenty of animals. Birders have recorded at least 243 species here. Koalas are so common that they're almost falling out of the trees. Platypuses have been seen, but you'll probably need to make a special effort and sit next to a stream in the dark for a few hours for any chance of spotting one. The Platypus Waterholes walk is a 2-hour walk that's great for all ages. It begins at the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre and has an option that's suitable for wheelchairs. Kangaroos, wallabies, and brush-tailed possums, on the other hand, are so tame and numerous that the authorities were forced to erect a barrier around the Rocky River Campground to stop them from stealing picnickers' sandwiches!
The most impressive coastal scenery is at Cape du Couedic, at the southern tip of the park. Millions of years of crashing ocean have created curious structures, such as the hollowed-out limestone promontory called Admiral's Arch and the aptly named Remarkable Rocks, where you'll see huge boulders balancing on top of a massive granite dome. Admiral's Arch is home to a colony of some 4,000 New Zealand fur seals that play in the rock pools and rest on the rocks.
You shouldn't miss out on the unforgettable experience of walking through a colony of Australian sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park (tel. 08/8559 4207). The colony consists of about 500 animals, but at any one time you might see up to 100 basking with their pups. The rangers who supervise the area lead guided trips throughout the day, every 15 to 30 minutes from 9am to 4:15pm. If you come here without a coach group, you must join a tour. Beach tours that take you on to the sand and up close to the sea lions cost A$28 for adults and A$17 for children. A cheaper option is a boardwalk tour (A$13 for adults and A$8 for children), but you will not get nearly as close to the animals.
If you want to see Little Penguins -- tiny animals that stand just 33 centimeters (13 in.) tall, you can see them in a natural environment at both Kingscote and Penneshaw. Call ahead to confirm times, which are subject to change. Twice-nightly tours depart from Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre at Kingscote Wharf (tel. 08/8553 3112) and cost A$17 for adults, A$6 for children. The Penneshaw Penguin Centre (tel. 08/8553 1103), adjacent to the beach and Lloyd Collins Reserve, has the largest penguin colony on the island. Tours cost A$10 for adults, A$8.50 for kids, free for children under 12. Reservations are not required, but there are no tours at either Penguin Centre during most of February (Feb 1-21), when the penguins head out to sea to feed.
Finally, Kangaroo Island is renowned for its fresh food, and across the island you'll see signs beckoning to you to have a taste of cheese, honey, wine, or the like. One place worth a stop is Clifford's Honey Farm on Elsegood Road (tel. 08/8553 8295), which is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The farm is the home of the only pure strain of Ligurian bee in the world. The honey ice cream is divine. Island Pure Sheep Dairy on Gum Creek Road (tel. 08/8553 9110) is another worthwhile stop. Tours and tastings are conducted at milking time (3-5pm). Tours cost A$5.50 for adults and A$4.50 for kids and include tastings of all the cheeses. It's open daily, 1 to 5pm. Ask at the tourist office for directions to both.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.