Five days, the expe­ri­ence of a lifetime

Tow­er­ing cliffs of lime­stone and coag­u­lat­ed mag­ma, storm-blast­ed coastal scrub and mas­sive arcs of bone white beach; this is the wild­ness that awaits you on the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail. Few places in the world remain that pro­vide such a set­ting for inner, deep lis­ten­ing and qui­et, still aware­ness. Look around you and with­in — the oppor­tu­ni­ties for dis­cov­ery are endless.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Day 1: Rocky Riv­er to Snake Lagoon

Day one com­mences at Rocky Riv­er and takes you through Black Swamp, the final rest­ing place for many now-extinct megafau­na species. The euca­lypt wood­land is flour­ish­ing with fresh green growth. Lis­ten out for the calls of elu­sive bird species and watch for echid­na dig­gings in the soft earth. Reach­ing the Pardalote Look­out you will see the mean­der­ing Rocky Riv­er far below you as it flows out towards the South­ern Ocean. You will then pass through river­bank and mallee habi­tats where wild­flow­ers pro­vide stun­ning arrays of colour all year around, along with orchids and fun­gi in the cool­er months. Tra­vers­ing your way down from the ridge towards the riv­er you will come across the spec­tac­u­lar sight of the Rocky Riv­er Cas­cades. The day comes to a close amongst tall sug­ar gums and old-growth cup gums at Snake Lagoon.

Dis­tance: 10.5 km
Time: 4 hrs

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Day 2: Snake Lagoon to Cape du Couedic

Day two takes you along the Rocky Riv­er towards its mouth at the coast. Not long into the walk you’ll be reward­ed with your first breath­tak­ing view of the mighty South­ern Ocean. Here at the edge of the world there is noth­ing but the deep blue sea between you and Antarc­ti­ca. The trail then heads south along the island’s wild and rugged coast­line where birds of prey may be seen fly­ing over the land and sea, while on the water bot­tle-nosed dol­phins often sur­face as they hunt for fish. If you’re vis­it­ing between June and ear­ly Octo­ber, you may even by treat­ed to the majes­tic sight of South­ern Right Whales on their annu­al migra­tion to the Great Aus­tralian Bight. Upon reach­ing Mau­per­tu­is Bay you’ll head down from the clifftop onto the bone white beach below. Sea­far­ers found this wild coast­line unfor­giv­ing, with the rem­nants of ship­wrecks that cost the lives of many still vis­i­ble today. The trail even­tu­al­ly winds its way back up to the rocky clifftop, bring­ing you ever clos­er to the famous Cape du Couedic Light­house that sits atop the head­land in the dis­tance. Pause for a final look back on your day’s jour­ney along the spec­tac­u­lar­ly beau­ti­ful coast­line of Mau­per­tu­is Bay. When the trail turns inland you’ll be treat­ed to soft­er con­di­tions under­foot for the final stretch to Cape du Couedic. Ven­ture to Admi­rals Arch to fin­ish the day with a spec­tac­u­lar sun­set in the com­pa­ny of play­ful seals and sea-lions.

Dis­tance: 16 km
Time: 7 hrs

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Day 3: Weirs Cove to Sander­son Bay

Take in breath­tak­ing views from his­toric Weirs Cove before head­ing inland. The trail undu­lates over ancient sand dunes that pro­vide views across Yac­ca Flat – now flour­ish­ing with tow­er­ing flower spikes – and towards Remark­able Rocks and the pound­ing South­ern Ocean.

Turn back towards the coast­line and make your way to the incred­i­ble geo­log­i­cal for­ma­tions of Remark­able Rocks. Con­tin­u­ing on, the trail hugs the coast­line and offers cin­e­mat­ic views that inspire both awe and con­tem­pla­tion – be sure to glance back from time to time for an ever chang­ing view of the cap­ti­vat­ing Remark­able Rocks. As you near the end of the day’s walk you’ll find out­crop­pings of rocks hid­den amongst lush euca­lypts, the per­fect space to sit and reflect on your jour­ney. Just before you fin­ish your trek, take a short walk down to the small seclud­ed beach of Sander­son Bay to cool your tired feet.

Dis­tance: 14 km
Time: 6.5 hrs

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Day 4: Sander­son Bay to Han­son Bay Road

Day four offers high ener­gy coastal trekking at its best, with mas­sive swells, tow­er­ing cliffs and extend­ed views along the coast all the way from Sander­son Bay to the spec­tac­u­lar Cape Younghus­band. Look­ing back you’ll con­tin­ue to see Remark­able Rocks as it is rarely seen, framed by the sur­round­ing wild land­scape. When the trail heads inland along man­age­ment tracks you’ll be treat­ed to a dra­mat­ic change in veg­e­ta­tion from slow­ly recov­er­ing low coastal heath to tall mallee and tea tree. Keep your eyes peeled for goan­nas sun­ning them­selves on rocky out­crops and echid­na dig­gings near ant hills.

An option­al side trip off the wilder­ness trail to the near­by Han­son Bay head­land and the small set­tle­ment of Han­son Bay offers walk­ers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dip their toes in the crys­tal clear water.

Dis­tance: 10 km
Time: 6 hrs

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Day 5: Han­son Bay to Kel­ly Hill Caves

The final day’s walk is some­what more leisure­ly, but no less spec­tac­u­lar and beau­ti­ful. The trail pass­es through a diver­si­ty of habi­tats, from karst’ cave sys­tems to recov­er­ing wood­lands and fresh­wa­ter lakes. From Kel­ly Hill Caves, a rel­a­tive­ly short walk through sug­ar gum wood­land, rich with orchids and fun­gi in the wet­ter months, brings the trail to the stun­ning Wilder­ness and Grass­dale Lagoons, where bird­watch­ers will be reward­ed with sight­ings of local and vis­it­ing wood­land and wad­ing birds.

Wan­der through Cape Bouguer Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area before con­clud­ing your walk by wad­ing across the shal­low waters of South West Riv­er where it flows into Han­son Bay.

Dis­tance: 10 km
Time: 3 hrs