If you're considering Australia and New Zealand travel, you may be envisioning afternoons spent frolicking alongside troops of kangaroos. While that isn't necessarily an option in every region of these countries, there's one area in particular where those dreams can come true.
Off the coast of South Australia is Kangaroo Island, where more than 500 kilometres of coastline and an amazing assortment of animals await you. Book a flight, find solid travel insurance and pack your bags - then jump on down to Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Island is about 150 kilometres from east to west, but the geography ranges from wetlands and untouched forests to sand dunes and exquisite beaches. Although more than half of the island is preserved and protected, there are about 4,500 residents. According to Kangaroo Island Tourism, these lifetime islanders mainly make their livings from farming, fishing and various facets of the tourism industry.
Perhaps the most convenient method of travel to Kangaroo Island is a short flight from Adelaide, one of the country's southernmost cities. There are also ferries that run from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, which is about two hours south of Adelaide, The Kangaroo Island Visitor Guide explained.
You can either bring a car to the island on the ferry or rent one once you're on Kangaroo Island. It's a good idea to secure a pair of wheels if you want to visit all of the major parks, since they're scattered around the area.
If you're looking to be a beach bum on Kangaroo Island, you have what seems like endless lengths of coastline to scout out. The dunes are great for riding quads and sandboarding, plus you can rent kayaks to explore by sea.
In addition to being a haven for unique animals, Kangaroo Island has become a great place to enjoy locally produced wine, gourmet food and artisan crafts. Try cheese made from goat's milk or oysters that were caught earlier that day in the small cafes and restaurants.
When it comes time to consider accommodations, there's a variety to choose from. Southern Ocean Lodge is one of the most renowned hotels on the island, especially for couples. According to the lodge's website, it's a luxury establishment that offers views of the Southern Ocean as well as Kangaroo Islands's dense forests. With 21 luxury suites, culinary delicacies and an exclusive spa, it's a top-notch option for visitors.
Considered the top attraction on TripAdvisor, Paul's Place Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature reserve where tourists can interact directly with the animals. Stop by to hand-feed kangaroos, cuddle with koala bears and hang out with snakes. You can also feed emus, birds and possums. The sanctuary is full of animals that were rescued after being injured or abandoned.
Nearly every corner of Kangaroo Island is brimming with wildlife. Between feeding pelicans, seeing a variety of penguins and watching sea wallabies, there's something for everyone. Don't miss Seal Bay Conservation Park, where you can learn a bounty of information about the creatures as they bask on the beach. If you just want to take a peek, there isn't an entrance fee to the park, according to TripAdvisor.
For bird lovers, you can't skip out on Raptor Domain. Deemed "heaven for bird fans" by people who've visited, there you can see animals like eagles and hawks. Raptor Domain also has reptiles and arachnids for tourists to enjoy. There are daily shows about birds of prey, so be sure to check the company's website if that interests you.