Pioneer Australia’s Epic New Trail // Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail (SA)

Nights are spent under sparkling milky ways and days gazing into the wide blue sea on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.


Highlights

  • Seal colonies + other wildlife (echidnas, kangaroos, platypuses, birds)
  • Remote and beautiful walking
  • Pretty easy walk as far as multi-day hikes go
  • Amazing rock formations (attention geologists and rock climbers!)

The Lowdown

Totalling around 70km, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail was only opened in October last year and was nominated one of Lonely Planet’s best new openings. It is remote but well maintained and with comfortable campsites; combined with its minimal elevation changes, making the walk ideal for hikers of most abilities.

Day 1

I took three days to do this hike in late June. On our first day, we doubled up and did two legs totalling 27kms. We checked out the platypus pools and headed for the coast complete with powerful waves, smoking with salt spray as they hit the rocks. The coastal walk was beautiful with shades of pink and purple in the sky. We had light showers in the evening and a hefty wind blowing onto us which made for an adventurous end to the day.

Day 2

The next day the brightest double rainbow I’d ever seen greeted us. We left our gear at camp to do the side trip to Admirals Arch and spent the late morning cooing over baby seals with sleepy brown eyes and podgy mamas playing in the surf.

We headed back at midday to get our stuff and kept walking through to the Remarkable Rocks, framed by another double rainbow. You are able to walk amongst the rocks, and there aren’t too many people. It is undoubtedly one of the lesser known wonders of the world! Some orange crust of sorts grows on the rocks like a natural photo editor at sunset. It was the highlight of the walk for me, and I felt like I was in a dream.

Saphira Schroers kangaroo island south australia sa double rainbow

Day 3

The next morning, we hiked through a lot of duller woodlands until the track turned into a beach walk. The walk has the novel feature of a boat crossing at a river here, which was great fun. We had lunch at Hanson Bay before trudging onto the end of the trail, passing through what felt like fairy forests finishing at the Kelly Hill Caves. We spent that evening at Western KI Caravan Park with a fire roaring inside the dinner room, reminiscing on our trip.

Points of Interest

If you time your trip for a new moon there are also some fantastic opportunities for astrophotography. Botano-philes will appreciate the many different vegetation types throughout the walk, including sugar, pink, blue, and cup gums. The best leg of the hike is Cape du Coedic to Sanderson bay which passes both Admiral’s Arch, a stunning rock formation and seal breeding ground, and the Remarkable Rocks.

Essential Gear

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Water purification device
  • Food and water bottles
  • Warm clothing
  • Camera
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Rain-jackets and quick-dry clothes
  • First aid kit
  • Camping permit (130 dollars for students)
  • Other gear as required by season and person.

How To Get There

From the Adelaide airport, drive South two hours to Cape Jervis. Take the ferry (this will cost a pretty penny) to Kangaroo Island and then drive across the island for another two hours to the SW corner. The hike starts at the visitors’ centre where you will need to be inducted. I would recommend staying at Western Caravan Park nearby as Mike the owner will be able to shuttle you to and from the hike at a custom time for pretty cheap.

Activities

  • Wildlife watching
  • Photography
  • Hiking
  • Stargazing

Skill Level

Appropriate for most hikers who have been on overnighters before. Some navigation experience desirable. Intermediate.

Distance Covered / Duration

Officially closer to 60km, but with side trips (which really can’t be missed) it’s around 70km. Recommended time for the hike is 5 days (5 hours per day), and since the trail is so scenic I recommend you don’t double up on days like I did (3 days, 8 hours per day).


Check out some more crackers in South Australia…

EXPLORING THE YORKE PENINSULA (SA)

CHASING MOUNTAINS // MOUNT GREENLY (SA)

SNUBA // DIVING DEEP AT PORT NOARLUNGA (SA)

KNIGHTS BEACH TREK (SA)

FLINDERS RANGES // WILD FLOWERS AND OUTBACK MOUNTAINS (SA)