A review of the new Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and gallery of 50 photos (high res available).
The new $5M Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is well worth the effort! A 45 minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis (on the mainland); then over an hours driving to the western end of the island. An efficient (and friendly) check in and induction from the Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre.
Be prepared, you are in a remote area (if needed, help is not too far away, but be prepared to walk). A fantastic feature is almost no mobile phone coverage (please never change this). How sweet it is to spend five days not communicating with the world!
A wilderness trail (which however passes by the much-visited Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks); but also opens up many new magnificent ocean vistas.
The trail is officially 61KM, but our GPS read 77KM with all the side trips. You are given an excellent map and guidebook. The track is well marked (but having basic navigation skills, such as in estimating times to track junctions would be useful). The advisory walk times are accurate.
For the five days (assuming a post lunch start on day 1; and early finish on day 5) – you will be carrying 4 each of breakfast, lunch, dinner meals – plus snacks. Carry out all your rubbish; and bring a gas cooker. One 100g gas-can almost lasted me the five days (I wasted a bit too much gas on pancake and mug cake experiments – failures but edible).
Reliable tank water is at each camp site (treatment is recommended, because the State Health people say so for all tank water).
You pay a walk fee of $161 (plus $25 for bus return to start)(as at Nov 2016).
The cooking and toilet shelters are well-designed and sustainable – a lot of very clever design thinking. The cooking shelters incorporate a large stainless-steel bench, sink, hand-pump tap, and fixed tables & chairs on a concrete pad & shelter (protection in case of adverse weather). The Park Rangers leave weather information on the whiteboards, and warn against feeding native animals (already a few problem crows/ravens – don’t leave food or rubbish bags unattended).
Sand base camping pads for each hiker’s tent (fantastic when compared to trying to bang aluminium pegs into limestone). Also a few timber platforms.
The track is fairly level; no crazy uphills; it’s enough just with the weight of everything in your pack. Lots of diverse native vegetation zones (eucalyptus, coastal, mallee, sugar gum, banksia) and wildlife. A lot of exposed coastal limestone cliff top walking – so be prepared for the wonderful views AND (at times) horizontal rain/gales, and baking heat.
It was great to visit Cape du Couedic first thing in the morning (before all the other tourists arrive). Sanderson Beach at dawn was beautiful too.
The ‘day three’ route between Hakea Campsite and Remarkable Rocks was described by a local as being “contrived”. A rather pointless loop through featureless mallee scrub. Next time I will walk along Boxer Drive and enjoy the ocean view. This is a compromise in the hike design and reflects many fingers in the bureaucratic pie. But you may just happen to love featureless mallee scrub!
The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is great training for a more difficult trek, to test group dynamics and gear. It is possible to do a food resupply on night two (ask me how). Don’t forget the sunscreen, insect repellent & fly mesh headgear! Look out for snakes sunning themselves on the path, and biting ants (welcome to Australia)!
#kangarooisland #kiwildernesstrail #kangarooislandwildernesstrail #southaustralia #hiking #traveleditor #traveleditorial #canon #tamron
Gallery below – click on a thumbnail to enlarge and -> to move forward:
All shot with the well-travelled (indestructible) Canon 5d II; and the wonderful (go anywhere, always on) Tamron 28-300.