One of the Best Hiking Trails in South Australia Has Koalas, Kangaroos, and Miles of Gorgeous Coastline
The five-day hiking trail just happens to bypass the region’s most spectacular hotel.
Flinders Chase National Park is one of the state of South Australia's major draws for nature-lovers, and the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail deserves to be on any adventurous traveler’s international bucket list.
The 126-square-mile park is on Kangaroo Island — a 35-minute flight southwest from Adelaide — and is home to free-roaming kangaroos (as the name makes clear) and koalas, among other fauna and flora. The trail, which follows a 40-mile path along the island’s southwestern coast, takes up to five days to hike (depending on how far you go), and there are options for roughing it as well as living it up.
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While the wilderness trail may not have the name recognition of, say, the PCT, this island hike offers spectacular views as hikers make their way through “Australia’s zoo without fences.” There are 400 species of native plants in Flinders Chase, and the diverse wildlife ranges from the well-known — koalas, kangaroos, and dolphins — to the more exotic — wallabies, bandicoots, echidnas, and goannas.
The park's attractions don't stop with the wildlife. The Remarkable Rocks are a grouping of granite boulders that form a natural sculpture high above the sea, offering a striking setting for sunrises and sunsets. Nearby is Admirals Arch, where you can take in views of the ocean or (depending on the time of year) catch fur seal pups playing in the rock pools below.
The best time to go to Kangaroo Island is from March to September, however Kangaroo Island has a temperate climate similar to the Mediterranean, making visiting possible year-round.
The cost to access the trail is $168.50 AUD for each adult (16 years of age and older), and $100 for each child age 15 or under. (The trail isn’t recommended for kids under 10.) The price includes a trail pass, a map, the use of four campsites, and unisex toilets.
Don’t feel like camping? There are other options, from package tours with meals and accommodations included, to the nearby glam 21-room Southern Ocean Lodge. One of the best hotels in the region, the lodge bypasses the trail and offers a variety of itineraries and packages for those who prefer to rough it by day and sip cognac next to a roaring fire by night.