Opening in October 2016, the KI Wilderness Trail is a five-day, 61km trail developed by National Parks South Australia and is on track to be one of Australia’s great walks. The trail begins at the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre, takes in the Platypus Waterholes and Snake Lagoon, Cape du Couedic, Sanderson Bay, Grassdale and Kelly Hill with wildlife, views and unforgettable experiences to be had along the way. We’re so excited about the opportunities the trail offers for our guests, as well as to have played a small part in its formation, as it courses through the hinterland of the natural heritage sanctuary created in the planning of Southern Ocean Lodge. The trail spans Kangaroo Island’s varying wild terrains, from eucalypt forests to marshland, beaches and coastal heath, and offers boardwalks and sign-posted trails complete with information about the island’s fascinating flora, fauna and ecology.
For guests at Southern Ocean Lodge, there are now more options than ever to explore the island on foot right from our doorstep. Armed with water and a healthy snack, guests can choose to self explore, or select a private, personally-guided option. A series of trails offers walks of varying degrees of difficulty, from a 7km circuit to a 12km half-day trek. The Hanson Bay trail leads walkers on a meandering discovery of the coastal wilderness that surrounds the lodge. The seven kilometre door-to-door loop joins the KI Wilderness Trail before crossing the South West River via punt-style-boat (a novel option!) and climbing the white sand dunes to reach Hanson Bay. There’s time for a quick dip in the ocean before the track continues along the coast to Southern Ocean Lodge.
Another great option accessible from the lodge is the 9km Cape Younghusband circuit, which offers a spectacular journey along the clifftops, sheer limestone bluffs stretching below to the cobalt blue ocean. The intriguingly-named cape offers views west to Remarkable Rocks, and the trail then winds back through mallee forest and along the clifftop to the lodge. Heading in the opposite direction, the walk through Kelly Hill Conservation Park offers guests a different perspective of the island’s south west, with a back country wander through the historic Grassdale property, through marshlands and freshwater lagoons home to birds, wallabies and kangaroos. This twelve kilometre track takes in Hanson Bay via the river, before heading back towards the lodge along the coast.
The KI Wilderness Trail has opened up a new signature experience that can be enjoyed in many ways: The Remarkable Rocks to Southern Ocean Lodge walk. A four hour journey covering some 13kms, the trek starts at the Remarkable Rocks and follows the spectacular coast, with views of the wild ocean and untouched bushland, past Sanderson Bay to Cape Younghusband. Here, the track heads inland to a low cathedral of mallee forests, providing cool sanctuary for birds and wildlife, and trails east towards the lodge. The track joins the Clifftop Walk, leading back along the limestone cliffs, past the tempting Southern Spa to the lodge. This walk can be done with a guide on a private basis, or self-guided given fitness and favourable weather. Another option is to start the walk as part of the signature ‘Wonders of KI’ tour of the Flinders Chase National Park, leaving the lodge vehicle at Remarkable Rocks and simply walking back. A great new way to experience Kangaroo Island, this walk is set to delight new and returning guests.