Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

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Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Johnnie Walker » Fri 27 May, 2016 7:19 pm

Website is on-line http://www.kangarooislandwildernesstrail.sa.gov.au
Bookings open June 1st 2016.

Quote from the website:
The trail cost is AUS$161 per person for independent walkers. Included in this cost is your park entry fee, car parking at Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre, Trail Guide and Trail Map. A bus transfer from Kelly Hill Caves to Flinders Chase Visitor Centre is an additional $25 per person.

Unfortunately there's no transport from the ferry to the trailhead (yet).
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Bubbalouie » Mon 30 May, 2016 12:07 am

Transportation aside this is great news, hopefully enough people use it, that way it'll get to stay :)

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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Eremophila » Mon 30 May, 2016 2:32 pm

This looks lovely. Very limited numbers, I'm guessing the bookings will fill up quite quickly, especially during school holidays.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Hallu » Mon 30 May, 2016 6:16 pm

I wouldn't call Kangaroo Island "wilderness". It's quite small, with a lot of tourists, many attractions, introduced species (koalas, platypuses), and now this expensive walk. It's becoming more and more a family destination.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby bohwaz » Thu 02 Jun, 2016 2:40 pm

A maximum of 12 independent and 36 commercial tour operator guided walkers (including guides) are permitted to depart each day.


That's not really what I would call a fair balance…

That plus the price of $186 for "just" a few campsites seems a bit more an entertainment venue than a "wilderness trail".
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby whitefang » Thu 02 Jun, 2016 2:50 pm

bohwaz wrote:
A maximum of 12 independent and 36 commercial tour operator guided walkers (including guides) are permitted to depart each day.


That's not really what I would call a fair balance…

That plus the price of $186 for "just" a few campsites seems a bit more an entertainment venue than a "wilderness trail".


Only 12 of the commercial guided walkers are allowed to camp each night.

My problem with this trail is that it seems to be planned a bit like 3 Capes Track where you have to stay in certain places each night. 5 days for 66km just seems like way too long to me. I know people would disagree with me here, but I would personally do it over two days if I could.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby photohiker » Thu 02 Jun, 2016 5:25 pm

Yep, 13.2km per day average. Not much of a slog, is it?

When doing multi day walks, I prefer to choose where and when to camp. 24 campers per day in each camping spot takes out the wilderness.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby hikingoz » Sat 04 Jun, 2016 2:12 pm

The track mostly avoids existing tourist infrastructure and feels somewhat remote. It's flat, easy country for the most part which might be attractive to some people.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Eremophila » Sat 04 Jun, 2016 5:08 pm

Probably a good introductory walk for those new to multi-day walks, and possibly families although the cost may be prohibitive if you have a couple of kids. Still, it's going to be less than what you would otherwise spend on a family holiday.

And for anyone who simply wants to get out of doors for a few days without having to worry too much about survival, getting lost, finding water and campsites.

Anything that gets people outdoors, exercising and interested in nature is a good thing in my book.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Johnnie Walker » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 1:42 pm

I know KI quite well and I'm sure this is a beautiful walk as most of it is through Flinders Chase National Park and Kelly Hill conservation Park. When it hits the "tourist" stuff like the Remarkable Rocks, the trail has it's own dedicate walking track in and out.

I was seriously thinking about booking this one for our annual multi-day hike until I crunched some numbers......

Since there is no transport from ferry to trailhead you have to take a car on the ferry, this will add an extra $196. Two 2 adults and a car is $376 return. Add 2 x $161 for the trail and 2 x $25 for the bus back and the total is $748. Still ok for a 5 day walk, but this one is just not worth it. It's an easy walk with short distances (roughly 13 km per day). With our early starts and sturdy pace we'll be at the next camp-site around lunch.

Since I was on the various websites already and this is a nice walk for families (not too hard / too long), I did the numbers for a family of 4.
Flights to Adelaide, at least $250 for a hire car which will be parked at the trailhead for 5 days, ferry at least $528, trail fee $644 and bus back $100. Total $1522 excluding flights.

I don't think this is going to be a success unless they organise transport from ferry to trailhead and / or discounted ferry fares. Maybe some more flexible walking days as well?
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 5:19 pm

Edited... Apparently hire cars from the mainland are now permitted on KI.

Regardless, hiring cars on the island is prohibitively and ridiculously expensive. Best off to take one from the mainland.

Some insurers prohibit driving from sunset to sunrise on KI, so do your research on the terms and conditions.
Last edited by South_Aussie_Hiker on Mon 06 Jun, 2016 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Johnnie Walker » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 6:18 pm

South_Aussie_Hiker wrote:Good luck hiring a car for 5 days for $250 on KI. They've even gone so far as to prohibit hire cars from Adelaide on the ferry, to protect the island's exclusive rental market. You'd really be looking at six days car hire for a five day walk, which for a compact like a Corolla, is $480 ... BEFORE insurance.

I've just called Hertz Adelaide Airport. All their cars are allowed on the ferry and on KI.
They have a Corolla for 6 days and that's is $340 aud. without insurance but that can also be covert by travel insurance.
Updated total $1612 excluding flights and assuming you'll all fit in a Corolla :wink:

South_Aussie_Hiker wrote:It'd be cheaper to get a cab to and from the trailhead.... Oh wait a minute, they don't have taxis in the island either. Captive market!

Website mentions that Kangaroo Island Transfers does private transfers. That can be expensive with a trailhead 100 km. from the airport and 150 km from the ferry.

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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 8:19 pm

Well maybe the policies have changed. I looked into it less than twelve months ago. Glad to see common sense has prevailed.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Hallu » Tue 07 Jun, 2016 1:26 am

I went with a rental car there in 2012. I wasn't impressed by it honestly. I'd started with Tasmania, so doing KI after was a bit of a letdown. It's smaller, less wild, you pay for everything, we did the sea lion tour which is ok, but you can see them for free and close up on the beaches in New Zealand. As for the lighthouse tour, it was disappointing as you can't go up the tower. I did a walk in Flinders Chase, and it was flat and a bit boring. The koalas in a reserve we toured were a disappointment too, and remarkable rocks is a selfie spot now. It's simply not worth the ferry price when you have Tassie which is much more varied, less touristy and less expensive. As of today, KI's potential is only as a foodie/family destination for wealthy parents in Adelaide. I'm sure even people from Adelaide who did both KI and Tassie recognize Tassie as the superior choice, even for families. I just wished KI had more character, a cheaper ferry, and a more laidback attitude.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby photohiker » Tue 07 Jun, 2016 8:54 am

KI has changed a lot. It was a very unique and more rural place when I first visited it in the '80s. I guess the proximity to Adelaide has made it a bit of a successful tourist venue, but I do agree that it is not a wilderness destination. It is interesting though.

In the '80's, there were few bitumen roads, and most of the roads were ball bearing dirt. I loved them, having driven on similar roads previously, they were ideal for driving using the Scandinavian flick rally style, but your average city dweller who visited KI had a very high chance of crashing their hire car and rates were pretty high. Apparently city slickers didn't have any idea of driving on ball bearings. :D

KI is still worth a visit, but it isn't Tasmania.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby gang-gang » Tue 07 Jun, 2016 5:50 pm

My wife and I visited Kangaroo Island in October last year to "pre-view" the Wilderness Trail. The track does cover a range of habitat types, which is good - wetlands, open forest, heath, cliffs and beach - the spectacular part of Kangaroo Island is the rugged coast line bordering the wild Southern Ocean. The central part of the Wilderness Trail passes extensive areas of this coast, but also spends a lot of its time wandering through thick mallee, ostensibly to avoid civilisation, i.e. coastal houses and lighthouses. We found this a bit disappointing, Cape du Couedic and Hansons Bay are beautiful areas and there is no need to be a pedant about wilderness. A mix of the pristine and the odd pockets of "civilisation" can still make for an excellent walk, especially when there is an historic or cultural component. For those interested in the landscapes the trail passes through, I have written up our pre-view with lots of photos at http://www.gang-gang.net/nomad/southaustralia/sa06.html. This covers much of the trail - we weren't allowed to walk on the track section under construction.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby bigkev » Sun 12 Jun, 2016 9:09 pm

Love your work Gang-Gang
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Johnnie Walker » Tue 09 Aug, 2016 1:07 pm

Thanks for all the info and photos Gang-gang, looks good.

Did anyone did this walk? Any reports, photos or feedback?
Is it worth all the hassles getting to KI and the money?
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby cooperplace » Sun 02 Oct, 2016 8:37 pm

I was excited when I first heard of this, but am very disappointed at the details. Here's my list of issues:
1. cost:
2. 13km/day: are they kidding?
3.inflexibility: it MUST be done over 5 days. Who carries 4 days food? Especially for a trail that could be done over 3 days.
4. need to watch a safety video: nanny state nitwits designed this.
5. Not a circular walk.

I could go on. I think it's doomed to failure.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby whitefang » Sun 02 Oct, 2016 11:38 pm

cooperplace wrote:I was excited when I first heard of this, but am very disappointed at the details. Here's my list of issues:
1. cost:
2. 13km/day: are they kidding?
3.inflexibility: it MUST be done over 5 days. Who carries 4 days food? Especially for a trail that could be done over 3 days.
4. need to watch a safety video: nanny state nitwits designed this.
5. Not a circular walk.

I could go on. I think it's doomed to failure.


I agree with points 2 and 3. The cost for the walk itself is not actually that much. $40 a night isn't so bad. It's the cost of getting to the island itself that makes me think twice about doing it. As for point 4 making people watch a safety us a good idea. It makes DEWNR less liable fo in the event of emergency. And let's face it this trail is designed for the beginner. Some people have no clue about the dangers. And to your last point, you can book a bus back to the start for $25. That eliminates any troubles faced with transportation.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby cooperplace » Mon 03 Oct, 2016 6:18 pm

I agree that it makes DEWNR less liable, but it's not a good idea to encourage these people. Beaches are dangerous. So are rocks, creeks and for that matter, crossing roads and running with scissors. I'm sure there are good people in DEWNR but the corporate culture is that of nanny state nitwits.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Dreamer » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 1:29 pm

Full trip report (54 minutes!) on youtube: https://youtu.be/XQvY2I7CeUw

Hi all, we just completed this trail and loved it! The trail passes through some really unique & diverse landscapes. There is A LOT of wildlife although you have to be quick to record any sightings. The brand new campsite shelters & facilities (not enclosed huts - i.e camping only) are THE BEST that I have experienced - including Larapinta Trail, Bibbulman, Overland Track & any New Zealand great walk (maybe because these last 2 can be too crowded). Trail map & resource booklet provided when checking in are chock full of interesting well presented information. The distances per day are not high, but perfectly suited us (with a 10 year old), also exploration & side trips add to the total distance & time taken...after all it's not a race (for us). Despite some road crossings the trail & campsites feel quite remote and definitely give you the wilderness feel. The beaches are arguably the best in Australia (although the water feels like it comes straight from an Antarctic iceberg - and it possibly does!). We live in Adelaide so did not find it overly expensive to ferry across with car (approx $250 return), although it does take some time to get to the western end of the island. Flights from Adelaide start at around $150 one way and there are a few companies offering transfers on the island. I would only recommend doing the trail in late winter, spring or autumn (any day over 25 degrees would be too hot to fully enjoy in my opinion. Avoid June & July as apparently the winter coastal winds can be really brutal).

Base pack weights (without food & water) were: me (with 3-person tent, stove, water treatment kit, first aid kit/plb, etc) 8.7kg; wife: 5.5kg (inlcudes -15 degree sleeping bag!!); child: 3.5kg;
Total food weight for 3 poeple for 4 nights: 6.3kg (my wife & I split this weight);
Water: we carried just 700ml each for drinking (I carried 1 litre more on one day for lunch). This is plenty of non-potable tank water at each campsite (i.e needs to be treated).
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby eggs » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 2:38 pm

I remember visiting Rocky Creek outlet beach with small children.
One wave came in and just kept coming.
A child was just knocked over and rolled for some distance in the flow.
It did not look that different to other waves, but these beaches are remote, and the ocean to the west has thousands of kilometres to generate a nice swell to produce the odd King Waves along these shores.
Note - a real King Wave probably would have taken the lot of us out to sea.

PS - just glancing at the great video posted, Rocky Creek beach is entirely underwater - no sand to be seen. [around 12:25 in]
It was quite a large patch of sand when we were there. But I also note a fantastic flow in Rocky River - a good time to be there.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Dreamer » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 6:49 pm

Yes eggs, I'd suggest almost every South Australian river is flowing more fully than seen in decades...for a very dry state that looks & feels great! (after the initial floods anyway). The waves along the Maupertuis Bay coast are very fickle, my wife & daughter even got caught out (wet legs only). This area also notorius for shipwrecks - called the 'killer coast' with more than 80 vessels coming to grief there since colonial settlement in 1836. The story of the 'Loch Sloy' ship & its few surviviors is highlighted in the info booklet provided on the walk.
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby bigkev » Mon 17 Oct, 2016 6:51 pm

Hi Dreamer, I loved the video, you certainly don't have to worry about your daughter being camera shy! It was nice to get an idea of what the walk looks like on the ground. I've done the walk down from Ravine des Casoars to West Bay before and would like to take my wife back for something a little easier, the KIWT looks like it might fit the bill. Now if I could just sell an internal organ to pay for the ferry ride over I'll be sweet! Cheers Kevin
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby Dreamer » Tue 18 Oct, 2016 9:47 am

Cheers bigkev. :D I cut out a whole bundle more video of her singing, dancing & generally clowning about!

Sealink has a monopoly with the ferry, but being in Adelaide we did find the total cost of the walk much cheaper than flying to Tasi or elsewhere for a hike! I found it quite funny that people on this thread were even attempting to compare tiny Kangaroo Island to Tasmania...I'd compare Kangaroo Island to King or Bruny Island and Tasi to New Zealand south island...imo
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Re: Kangaroo Island wilderness trail

Postby bigkev » Thu 20 Oct, 2016 5:14 pm

Hi Dreamer. Tassie and New Zealand are great places to walk, not better and not worse than KI, just different and diversity is the key (for me anyway). The ferry is a bit expensive but what do you do? I look forward to seeing some more video trip reports in the future, your family's enjoyment bought a smile to my face. Cheers Kevin
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