THINGS TO DO IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
You can walk all year on KI - some suggestions for each season are in this guide. Island Chalet is a good base. On this page we talk about walking outside your front door and then link you to resources for walks further away. Across the road diagonally from Island Chalet, on your left is a park. Cross this and you come to a path - left, this leads around the coast into Kingscote - walking or cycling. Alternatively cross the path and you come to the beach. Usually pelicans and other sea/shore birds will greet you and you can walk along the sand in either direction. At low tide there are pools with little crabs and anemones
Walk about 3 km along the path into Kingscote. On the way you pass coastal vegetation and views along the shore. You reach the Sailing Club beach where the swimming is good. Continue past this up onto the cliff, you come to a narrow, rockier path (not suitable for cyclists) along the edge of the cliff. From this beautiful path you often see New Zealand Fur Seals, and very occasionally, in season, a whale. Eventually you come to a tidal swimming pool (great place for children and families to swim) where you can fish off the rocks.
After finishing your coffee and breakfast/lunch at, say Roger's Cafe (they deliver, too!) or ChocolArt in Kingscote (one block up from the beach), you can continue your walk along the Esplanade with beautiful views over the Nepean Bay and Kingscote jetty (a good spot to catch whiting).
There are many other beautiful walks on Kangaroo Island, and we recommend downloading the excellent booklet Parks of Kangaroo Island. This is put out by Natural Resources KI and gives details of walks in all the parks including distance, time and degree of difficulty. It is 72 pages, so perhaps plan online then pick up a hard copy from their office in Kingscote (Dauncey St) when you arrive. The 5 day, 61 Km Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail only opened last year and there is a lot of excitement about it. This video filmed by walkers gives you a taste of it.
Locally, you can cycle along the coast to Kingscote on the bushy towpath described above in 'WALKS'. Continue to walk or cycle up the Esplanade from Kingscote to the top of the slope where you have a panoramic view across Bay of Shoals Reeves Point, site of the first settlement in South Australia is laid out below you. At low tide you see a narrow spit of sand extending into the bay where the settlers tried to unload their supplies. Now it is covered in resting shore birds of many descriptions. Walk down to Reeves Point and view the birds from a bird hide which identifies them.
Continue to walk or cycle up to Flagstaff hill for more spectacular views. Then head back on Centenary Avenue and visit Hope Cottage, a museum of early life on the Island which has an original light house and displays helping you experience early life on the Island
A truly stunning ride is the 514Km circumnavigation of the Island. You can download the cyclemap here . It is a hard ride that takes in the major geographic regions of Kangaroo Island, and you can start from Island Chalet! Because KI is still mainly wild bush and rural, there are very few places to pick up supplies, so you do need to be self-sufficient.
You have many options. The beach closest to the house is shallow and great for small children and toddlers. Further along (about 1 km) is the Sailing Club beach which is deeper and suitable for adults. A little further around the coast (about 1 km) is a tidal pool with lawn and a picnic area which is suitable for the whole family. A beautiful white sand beach which stretches for miles is Emu Bay. It is a 15 minute drive from Kingscote and you pass the Lavender farm on the way. Stop in for lavender ice cream or a lavender jam Devonshire tea! Surfing on the south coast beaches where the southern ocean pounds the Island is good. Pennington , Vivonne or Hansen Bays are great spots
Fishing locally is good on KI - from the beach or particularly Kingscote jetty. Whiting, tommy ruffs and garfish are common catches. Bait and other gear can be found in obtained from the hardware store in Kingscote, one block up from the beach. The catch varies with the seasons, of course and here is a Fishing on KI fact sheet to tell you what you can catch and where in the different seasons.
Kingscote Golf Course is just down the road at 81 Links Rd, Brownlow. Phone (08) 8553 2520. It is adjacent to the beach and the Cygnet River and is a beautiful, peaceful place to spend a morning
You can easily spend a couple of hours at Hope cottage museum. It has original items from the maritime, farming and domestic life of the Island since settlement. First hand, written accounts of life from the early settlers to the present are quite fascinating, detailing tragedies, ship wrecks as well as family life. And you can climb into a real lighthouse that once shone from the eastern end of the Island
Don't miss the Fine Art Gallery on Dauncey St and a Kangaroo Island Gallery on Murray St, just behind the townhall in Kingscote. They both feature local artists. Here you can find postcards as well as smaller hand-crafted items
The bird watching is excellent on Kangaroo Island and we have a special section which gives resources here- from white-bellied sea eagles and nesting Eastern Osprey on the south coast, to ducks on Murray and Duck Lagoons especially in winter and shore birds on the spit at Reeves Point and many of the mud flats. You can see birds that are scarce or absent from the mainland such as the Glossy Black cockatoo, and the Southern Emu Wren. Island Chalet has resident pairs of superb fairy wrens and red-browed finches. Don't miss Reeves Point and the bird hide which looks out along a narrow spit of sand on which 100s of sea/shore birds gather. Duck Lagoon on the Cygnet river (about 15 minute drive from Kingscote) is another spot rich in bird-life. An overview of what you can see and where at different times of year is here.