Discover Kangaroo Island's fascinating History and walk in the footsteps of the island's past. Visit historical landmarks, such as Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and Reeves Point Historic Site.
Day oneFrenchman's RockThe rock, named Frenchman's Rock, was inscribed by the members of Nicolas Baudin's crew on the ship Le Geographe in 1803 on their expedition to map the coast of New Holland (now Australia).
They stopped at the bay to collect meat and fresh water. Baudin and his crew stayed for 3 weeks and during that time, he mapped the island and collected many flora and fauna specimens.
Baudin and his men announced their arrival to the island by inscribing the rock. The inscription reads: "Expedition de decourverte par le commandant Baudin sur le Geographe 1803". The English translation is "Expedition of discovery by Captain Baudin in the Geographe 1803".Penneshaw Maritime And Folk MuseumThe Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum is a National Trust Museum situated in Penneshaw on the Dudley Peninsula at the eastern end of Kangaroo Island. It has displays, information and artefacts on the maritime and folk history of the Dudley Peninsula.
The Museum was started in 1968 by a group of dedicated local people led by Keith and Margot McKenzie. At that time many people came forward to donate personal historical items from the Dudley Peninsula.
The Museum was initially a sub branch of the Kingscote Museum and the Kangaroo Island Branch of the National Trust. In the 1980s the Dudley area became a National Trust branch in its own right.
The Museum is open Wed. to Sun. from 2 pm to 4.30pm or by appointment. Group bookings welcome. Please note this run by volunteers and opening times may vary.Cape Willoughby Lightstation - Cape Willoughby Conservation ParkSituated in the easternmost point of Kangaroo Island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built in South Australia in 1852. It stands 27 metres high with 102 steps to the lookout tower, and offers stunning panoramic view across Backstairs Passage and the Kangaroo Island coastline.
Guided tours of the Lightstation precinct, including the tower, are held daily. The Visitor Centre includes a fascinating museum reading room, with light refreshments and souvenirs available.
The isolation, ruggedness and beauty of this part of Kangaroo Island, is striking. Stay overnight in a spacious lightkeeper’s cottage to live the experience from the comfort of one of these beautifully restored cottages.
Self-guided walking trails provide further insight into the lives of the early Lighthouse Keepers and the construction of the Lightstation. A 1.9 kilometre loop walk commences from the Visitors Centre.
Nearby Antechamber Bay, in Lashmar Conservation Park, offers a long sandy beach perfect for swimming, beachcombing, with picnic and camping facilities.Penneshaw Town WalkWelcome to the beautiful town of Penneshaw perched on the Dudley Peninsula overlooking Backstairs Passage. Explore the fascinating history, engaging stories, meet locals, discover the power of glaciers, enjoy fantastic Kangaroo Island food and beverages, connect with our pioneers, swim in beautiful blue water, learn about our brave Aboriginal women, and meet our amazing wildlife.
All this in a walk in two parts. The first walk section heads east to Baudin Conservation Park, a 3.5 km return walk with the optional extension of continuing on the more challenging Ironstone Hill Hike. The second section is an undulating 5 km return walk that heads up to the old cemetery. Both sections of the walk provide spectacular views of the beach, bays and mainland Australia.
Day twoKingscote Town WalkA beautiful town perched between Nepean Bay and the Bay of Shoals.
Come and explore the fascinating history, engaging stories, meet locals, discover art, enjoy fantastic Kangaroo Island food and beverages, learn about our pioneers, go for a swim and meet the amazing wildlife. All this in an easy walk in two parts. This involves a flat 6.5 km return walk to Brownlow Beach, best experienced in the morning, and the second part, which is an undulating 6 km loop that takes you through to Reeve’s Point, a local winery with spectacular views of the Bay of Shoals and larger than life Silo Art before returning back to the trail head near the town centre.Hope Cottage National Trust MuseumOne of three original cottages built at Kingscote in 1856.
The cottage has a collection of items depicting the early settlement of Kingscote, the site of South Australia's first official settlement, including the history of many early pioneers, photographs, automobile memorabilia, laundry display and an original cellar that can be viewed.
The display includes a large range of obsolete farm machinery, tractors and engines including the Ruston Hornsby engine which powered the electricity supply for Kingscote before the introduction of electricity from the mainland and a restored pre-diesel internal combustion engine. Some of the tractors and motor vehicles are still operational and more items are regularly obtained and restored.
The Lighthouse tower with light assembly was brought from Cape Willoughby when it became obsolete with the introduction of mainland electricity to Kangaroo Island in 1968. A good view of the town can be seen from the balcony of the tower.Reeves PointReeves Point is the site where the first official European settlement in South Australia was established.
The area was chosen for its vantage points to view Flagstaff Hill and Monument Hill.
Features a BBQ (Electric), Dogs on-leash exercise, Historic sites, Interpretive signage.
Lawn - grassed area, Lookout, Memorial, Monument, Native Bushland.
Parking (free) with Picnic Tables, Playground, Shelter, Toilets and Walking trails
The Mulberry Tree, Flagstaff Lookout and Pioneer Cemetary are located a Reeves Point along with numerous historic points of interest.Old Mulberry TreeOld Mulberry Tree is a tree located at Reeves Point in Kingscote on Kangaroo Island.
The tree, which was planted as early as 1836, is associated with the first official European settlement of South Australia and is considered to be the oldest surviving fruit tree in the state.
Due to its historical significance, the mulberry tree at Reeves Point is considered to be a living testament to the tenacious spirit of the early pioneers of South Australia.
Visitors to the historic site will see that the old tree has been propped up by a support system of cables and poles.Old Wisanger SchoolThe Old Wisanger School was opened in 1884.
Wisanger School was typical, built by local farmers as the Wisanger Farmers Assembly Room in 1884, and leased to the Education Department, this simple small building served as a focus of the district’s social life until the 1970s and gave the longest continuous service of any of the schools, until 1945.
The National Trust manage the old Wisanger School building on behalf of Council. Visitors can walk through the building and view photos and old test books in their original setting.
Day threeParndana Soldier Settlement MuseumThe Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum is a modern historical display telling the stories of the development of the soldier settlement scheme in the early 1950s.
A short stop will give you a snapshot of the lives of the settler's. Tales of logging, chaining, dozing and lavvy lane will capture your imagination. In an era before 240 volt power, good roads and telephones, the innovation and humour shown by this generation is a delight.
The hall was built by the Returned Services League and dedicated as a memorial to Soldier Settlement, the building now contains memorabilia, photographs and stories relating to the development of Parndana and surrounding districts. The museum tells of how the land was cleared and improved for farming. The stories tell of their experiences, hardships, fellowship and humour that saw them successfully reshape their lives and build a community to be proud of.Cape du Couedic LighthouseCape du Couedic Lighthouse is included with your Flinders Chase entry permit or Kangaroo Island Tour Pass. (please note there is no access inside)
The lighthouse which was constructed between 1906–1909, consists of a tower built from 2,000 pieces of local stone, together with three four-roomed cottages to house the head keeper and two assistants with their families. The light characteristic shows two flashes every ten seconds, emitted at a focal plane height of 103 metres (338 feet). A Fresnel lens made by Chance Brothers is used there.
For many of its early years the site was inaccessible by land. Stores, materials and equipment brought by boat to Weirs Cove and were hauled up to the lighthouse by a flying fox winching system originally powered by a pair of horses.
Today the lighthouse is automated.Cape Borda Lightstation - Flinders Chase National ParkCape Borda Lighthouse is perched on cliffs overlooking Investigator Strait. Located on the north western corner of Kangaroo Island, this unique square lighthouse was built in 1858 and is steeped in European history.
The lightstation was established to guide ships entering the dangerous waters of Investigator Strait from the west. During colonisation, the South Australian settlement was almost entirely dependent on the shipping trade.
Take a self-guided tour around the Cape Borda Lightstation settlement. It will give you an insight into the early lightkeepers’ living conditions, and how isolation and a demanding routine dominated their often harsh lives.
After the self-guided tour, enjoy a stroll along one of the walking trails around the park including the Cliff Top Hike. This short trail through a picturesque rock garden takes you to a stone lookout that provides an ideal vantage point for spotting whales and dolphins.
Day fourRebuild Independence ProjectThe Rebuild Independence Project is a volunteer group that is re-creating the first vessel ever built in South Australia - the 45ft United States Schooner "Independence." The original Schooner was built on the banks of an inlet, where now stands the town of American River. She was built by American sealers from Stonington in Connecticut, USA, in 1803, who sailed here in their Brig "Union".
The vessel is being built in the RIG Boathouse, which is at the entrance to the American River Wharf. Visit us and learn about the "Union" and "Independence". Discover their association with the great explorers Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders.
The vessel is being built entirely by voluntary labour and we estimate that we will need another three to five years to complete. Once finished visitors will be able to climb aboard and go for a short sail around the beautiful Eastern Cove and learn how these old sailing vessels were handled.
Looking for refreshments? The adjoining licensed water front Deck Cafe, with ample parking, looks out over the anchorage. While away the time over a delicious lunch or coffee and watch the many birds, and maybe our resident seal or dolphin.American River Town WalkWelcome to the beautiful town perched on the shores of the American River Inlet and Pelican Lagoon. Explore the fascinating history, engaging stories, meet locals, hear about conservation successes, find out about the local seafood and wildlife and discover early explorers.Enjoy fantastic Kangaroo Island food and beverages, honour our pioneers, hear some tales of the sea, and what it takes to build a ship.
All this in an enjoyable walk in two parts. The northern section is a 7 km return walk which includes the more challenging Fish Cannery Trail, an optional extension of the township walk. The southern section is an easier 7.5 km return walk and incorporates the Independence Trail.Tadpole Cove Walk - Cape Gantheaume Conservation ParkThis walk combines unusual coastal scenery with early settlement heritage sites. The walk starts at an old grain threshing floor, used by early settlers to process locally grown grain, and takes you past the ruins of a small cottage dating from the same period. The walk then meanders through regenerating vegetation to a lookout above Tadpole Cove, which is named after an unusual rock formation in the centre of the cove. Watch for ospreys soaring along the cliff edge as they hunt for fish in the calm waters of the cove.
The walk begins in the car park adjacent to the threshing floor just south of Wreckers Beach, D’Estrees Bay Road.Emu Ridge Eucalyptus DistilleryEmu Ridge is a unique attraction where you can find out how Australian Eucalyptus Oil is made - from past to present.
Eucalyptus oil was Australia’s first true export overseas and one of Kangaroo Islands major industries. Emu Ridge is now the only remaining commercial eucalyptus oil distillery in South Australia, and is proud to have preserved a major part of Kangaroo Island’s heritage our history and produce a eucalyptus oil that is unique to the world.
The award winning Emu Ridge site has an excellent retail outlet that offers an extensive range of local produce, art, craft and historical memorabilia. Emu Ridge manufacture and retail Eucalyptus oil and a large range of associated natural products.
They offer Guided and Self Guided Tours that take visitors through the distillery.
Emu Ridge has a cafe area which offers meals, light snacks, coffee & drinks and is also the cellar door for the award winning Kangaroo Island Cider. We have an indoor and 2 large outdoor eating areas plus a picnic area that are also available for events. The dining area offers a fully licensed bar.
Family and pet friendly
That's a wrapThis captivating history itinerary offers a deeper understanding of Kangaroo Island's rich past and cultural significance. Uncover the fascinating tales that shaped this remarkable destination.
Plan your adventure with our interactive