This fact sheet is intended as an introductory guide to cycle camping on Kangaroo Island (KI). The region is an established tourist destination, and general tourist and promotional information is readily available from mainstream sources elsewhere. This fact sheet assumes the reader has, or will have, access to those sources. Comprehensive visitor information is available from http://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/
The main industries are sheep farming, fishing and tourism. Grape growing and winemaking are emerging new industries with local wines winning awards nationally.
Aquaculture is also a developing industry with marron being farmed. The island's isolation has also protected a pure and valuable strain of Ligurian honey bees, and queen bees are exported all over the world. The island can be very quiet away from towns and tourist sites.
KI was separated from the mainland by glacial action 200 million years ago. It was uninhabited at the time of European exploration, and very few traces of aboriginal occupation have been found. It was circumnavigated by Matthew Flinders and a French expedition under Baudin in 1802. The French inscribed a rock at Penneshaw, now on display at the Gateway Information Centre at Penneshaw. The present feral pigs are descended from animals left behind by the French, as a food source for future shipwrecked sailors.
In the early 19th century,
SA [Bi]Cycle Map Series:
The Royal Automobile Association (RAA) regional map is also useful, and is free to car club members.
Tourist Map of
Freewheeling Magazine ( # 46: 65) featured a touring narrative of KI.
There is an interesting site for sustainable tourism for KI at www.tomm.info/
Bicycle Hire is available from Penneshaw Youth Hostel and Flour Cask Bay Sanctuary: http://www.eco-sanctuaries.com/
Tourism Kangaroo Island PO Box 336 Penneshaw SA 5222 (08) 8553 1185 Website: http://tourkangarooisland.com.au/
Tourism SA (Government Tourist Commission) www.southaustralia.com/
Dept of Environment/National Parks Service 37 Dauncey Street Kingscote SA 5223 (08) 8553 2381. Website: http://www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/parks/kangaroo_is/index.htm
The ride from
KI Sealink Ferries (13 1301) runs several times a day from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw (one way $39.00 + $9.00 bike) with a bus to/from Adelaide (~$20.00 extra). http://www.sealink.com.au/
KI Ferries http://www.kiferries-sa.com/ run a service from Wirrina Cove to Kingscote 2 or 3 times daily, which is slightly cheaper than Sealink ($35 + 5 vs $40 + 9.50 for person + bike) and possibly more convenient for riders with limited time as it's slightly closer to the excitement of the west :)
There are two
airlines flying daily scheduled air services from
KI has a reputation for rough
roads, and they are very rough in many places. The roads are sealed between
Kingscote, Penneshaw , Parndana & the SW corner, and it is now possible to cycle
from Penneshaw to the SW corner all on bitumen. The
Another 1700 km is unsealed, and is
sometimes said to be the worst in
However, for a keen cycle camper, with the right bike and tyres, this will be no great difficulty, and any MTB with semi knobblies will be fine, if a little slower than usual. Road bikes would be restricted to the sealed parts.
Traffic is generally light in proportion to the amount of road -- few suburban drivers want to risk saloon cars on these roads, so 4WDs predominate. In addition, ferry fares encourage package tours by bus rather than by private car. However, main tourist sites will have morning and afternoon 'rush hours' as tour companies operate day trip schedules. Car drivers are warned to slow down due to the condition of the roads, and most do, though some will pass you too quickly. All in all, though, with some care, you will cope with traffic easily.
There are limited grocery supplies away
from Kingscote, Parndana and Penneshaw. You could mail a food parcel (non
perishables only) to the NPWS Site Office at
Alternatively, it would be possible, but time consuming, to hitch a ride back to one of the towns.
To protect the bee keeping industry, no honey or other bee products can be brought onto the island.
Tap water may be discoloured -- try rainwater from tanks if possible. NPWS and Kangaroo Island Council maintain some rain water tanks at roadside stops, but these may not be reliable. Ground water is not drinkable anywhere on the island. A cyclist will need to be able to be able to carry at least five litres of water for a summer day's ride and overnight camp.
Currently (2007) there is a drought, so water might be available at:
KI is unusual in
There are many established bush camping sites in NPWS reserves across the island. For permits, contact the NPWS. For camping outside National Parks, the official KI Guide indicates that permits are available from Council offices and Tourist Information Centres in Kingscote and Penneshaw.
Camping is available in the two caravan parks, at Kingscote http://www.kingscotetouristpark.com.au/ and near Flinders Chase.
There is no public transport, though there are lots of tour buses around the island.
There are ATMs at the ANZ and BankSA banks in Kingscote, and EFTPOS is widely available in the towns.
The 'capital' of KI, with about 1200 people. A well established tourist centre, and also the administrative and communications centre. There is a National Trust museum and historic sites, along with some pleasantly antiquated shopping facilities. Pelican feeding is conducted at 5pm each day at the wharf, and aquarium and penguin tours each evening.
A pub, a dynamic backpackers' ( with MTB hire by the manager, a keen cyclist), and penguin colonies.
A small, friendly town, with two grocery stores, and a 'community' pub [a peculiarly South Australian institution ?]
Last revised : 2007 / March 20
My thanks to Graeme Hurrell of 2000 updates.
PO Box 3331
Rundle Mall SA 5000
This fact sheet was produced by grassroots cyclists. No responsibility for errors or omissions can be accepted. It is intended for free or low cost distribution on paper or on the www, and you are free to copy it on that basis. Suggestions for improvement are most welcome!
Other Bicycle Camping Fact Sheets in this series include