Australia’s third largest island is separated from South Australia by a 14km strip of water known as Backstairs Passage. The island (known locally as ‘KI’) is often called Australia’s version of the Galapagos because of its role as a wildlife sanctuary – kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, wallabies, sea lions, goannas and many species of native birds can be seen here. In addition, the island has a thriving community of food and wine producers; its sheep’s cheeses, oysters, Ligurian honey and cool climate wines are now exported around the world. KI, which is seven times the size of Singapore, is remote, beautiful and largely untouched, with wild surf beaches, dense bushland and dramatic sea cliffs and coves.
Who goes there: Holland America, P&O, Princess Cruises, Cunard, True North, Norwegian Cruise Line.
Cruisers like: KI offers many different wildlife experiences, including American River, a habitat for many bird species, including the Glossy Black Cockatoo, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, where visitors can see koalas, penguins, snakes, kangaroos and wallabies, and Raptor Domain, which provides aerial displays featuring Wedge-Tail Eagles, Barn Owls, Kestrels, Buzzards and Falcons. But the island’s principal wildlife attraction is the Seal Bay Conservation Park, which offers a rare chance to see Australian sea lions in the wild. Flinders Chase National Park contains a number of natural rock formations such as the Remarkable Rocks and Admiral’s Arch. Food lovers will find vineyards, oyster farms, honey producers, cheese factories and distilleries to savour.
Best for: Cruisers of all ages love Kangaroo Island, but the destination particularly appeals to wildlife lovers, hikers, surfers, sports fishers, wine buffs and gourmands.
Getting around: Visiting cruise ships moor off Penneshaw and guests are tendered ashore. The island has limited public transport so the best way to get around is by joining an organised tour or hiring you own car.