No two South Australia cruises are the same. Throughout the expedition, allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Below is a selection of the key destinations visited.
Arrive at Yorke Peninsula’s Troubridge Island to enjoy a walk circumnavigating the small sand cay island, guided by the specialist guest lecturer, and learn of the many birds which have made Troubridge their home. Troubridge Island is part of Troubridge Shoals which extend across to Yorke Peninsula and constitutes a hazard to shipping. Troubridge Shoals has been the cause of over 33 wrecks and groundings. The island’s Conservation Park is an important breeding area for birds and is home to a large colony of little penguins, black-faced cormorants, pacific gulls and crested terns—an ideal environment for bird enthusiasts. Visit the site of an operating lighthouse from 1856 until 2002—the second lighthouse to be built in South Australia. Despite earthquake, fire and constant erosion of this island that continually moves and reshapes itself, the Troubridge Island Lighthouse has survived this far. As the erosion continues to eat towards the foundations of the tower, it is very much under threat.
Antechamber Bay & Cape Willoughby—Kangaroo Island
Antechamber Bay, located on the north coast of the Dudley Peninsula, is one of Kangaroo Island’s finest coastal havens. The deserted, untouched long beach of the bay is where Chapman river meets the sea. The area is covered with a forest of gum trees and narrow-leaf mallee which makes the walk at Lashmar Conservation park truly a magnificent experience. At the other end of the bay, Cape Willoughby juts into the Backstairs Passage—the narrow strait between Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula that was named by Matthew Flinders as the private entrance to the two gulfs. Lighting this nearly 9-mile-wide strait is the Cape Willoughby Light Station. Visit the Lighthouse keeper’s cottage and learn of its interesting stories and have an opportunity to climb the lighthouse itself. In the grounds, do a loop walk from the lighthouse to the beautiful Smuggler’s Cove and often the special KI wallaby are spotted along the way.
> Cape Willoughby Light Station Heritage Walk (1 Hour Return, 1.2 miles, moderate)
A hike into the sheltered gully of the original light station settlement. An insight into how the early light keepers lived, with demanding routine and isolation heightened by the distance between their homes and the lighthouse. Visit the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse (Sturt Light), the first lighthouse in South Australia.
> Antechamber Bay Walk (1 Hour Return, 2.6 miles one way, easy-moderate)
> Cape Willoughby Smuggler’s Cove Walk (1 Hour Return, 0.9 miles one way, easy)
> Lashmar Conservation Park (1 Hour Return, 0.6 miles, easy-moderate)
Western River Cove—Kangaroo Island
Land at isolated Western River Cove to visit the beautiful historic homestead. There may be an opportunity to meet the homestead owners and hear their stories. A walk along the ridge reveals spectacular views of the valley at the back of the property, and the beach offers excellent swimming. Weather permitting, visit beautiful Snug Cove. Later, cruise past the rarely viewed northern cliffs of Kangaroo Island towards Cape Borda.
Bordered by sea and National Parks, Coffin Bay is a stunning destination. The pristine waters of the bays in this area are home to numerous pods of dolphins, sea lions, seals and many seabirds. Emus and kangaroos roam and the natural beauty of the turquoise sea, white sand dunes and bright blue sky is a wonderful backdrop to the day’s adventures. Walk through the Coffin Bay National Park at Point Sir Isaac to get an understanding of the forests and environment—enjoy the interpretation of the heathlands, mallee forest and she-oak woodlands. Discover the tranquil bays, protected from the might of the Southern Ocean, and snorkel or kayak with the chance to spot some of the marine life. There is also the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable wild cuisine experience—enjoy a small boat cruise along the oyster beds to collect and enjoy them fresh from the sea.
Located around 22 miles from the Eyre Peninsula Coast, Flinders Island has a long history of sealing, whaling and farming. Owned by the Woolford family since 1979, they run an established sheep farm, abalone harvesting business and are working to establish a safe haven for vulnerable native species. Meet the Woolford family to learn about the history and conservation projects on the island. Visit the Kapara shipwreck at Bryant’s Bay and stroll through the shearing sheds at the farm. Taste fresh abalone at Eyrewoolf Abalone.
> Western River Cove Walk to Viewpoint (1 Hour, 1.2 miles return, moderate/steep)
A walk from the beach to the nearby historic Western River Homestead and the river valley beyond. While the beautiful homestead survived, the whole valley was heavily impacted by recent fires, with opportunity to look at the effects of these fires and the bushland recovery since.
> Flinders Island Shearing Shed Walk (45 mins, 0.8 miles return, easy)
> Bryant’s Bay & Kapara
1. Sealing Ruins Walk (15mins, 0.3 miles, easy)
2. Kapara Boiler Walk (10mins, 0.3 miles, moderate/rocky-sandy)
3. Sheok Forrest Walk (30mins, 0.9 miles, moderate)
4. Cliff Walk (30mins, 0.9 miles, hard/rocky climb-walk)
Cape Donington & Maclaren Point
A headland at the most northerly part of the Jussieu Peninsula on the east coast of Eyre Peninsula, Cape Donington is a great spot to enjoy refreshing sea views and rocky coastline. Take a dip at Cape Donington Beach before heading along the 1.2-mile trail over to September Beach. Keep an eye out for western grey kangaroos, emus or goannas near the Cape Donington lighthouse, or head out to Donington Island to view long-nosed fur seals or Australian sea lions from the Xplorer tender vessel.
> Donington Loop Hike – Lincoln National Park (2 Hour Return, 3.8-mile circuit, moderate)
Admire offshore islands, granite outcrops and sandy beaches while exploring the Donington Peninsula. Populations of Australian Sea Lions and New Zealand Fur-seals inhabit Donington Island near the lighthouse.
> Walk Donington September Beach (1 Hour Return, 1.2 miles, easy)
A short, easy hike with refreshing sea views and rocky coastlines.
> Stamford Hill Hike to Woodcutter’s Beach (1.5 Hour Return, 2.5 miles, hard/steep and irregular surface)
Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Lincoln National Park, Boston Bay and numerous offshore islands from the historic Flinders Monument at the top of Stamford Hill. A reasonably challenging hike, this trail has some moderate inclines but has a good trail surface.
Head to Reevesby Island, part of the Sir Joseph Banks Group; an archipelago on the eastern coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Accessible only by boat, this island is one of the largest of the group. Women played a major role in the island’s history, especially in the early days leading up to the Great Depression. Take a hike around this important seabird breeding site and visit the homestead and machinery sheds. This beautiful chain of islands offers a range of sheltered bays, golden sand beaches and reefs teeming with marine life.
The rich sea life around these islands attracts top predators including white pointers. There may be marine activity to spot as the ship cruises to Wedge Island. The island is privately owned and was notably used as a secret radar station during WWII. Wedge Island is also home to unique Australian fauna—you might spot endangered bettong, fairy penguins, rock wallabies, emus, wombats and a large variety of bird species. This evening, enjoy sunset drinks while cruising past the Althorpe Island Lighthouse.
As a secondary option, possibly visit historical Penneshaw. Land at Hogs Bay and learn of the history of Baudin and Flinders.
> Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail (0.9 miles, easy)
The trail is 0.9 miles in length, an easy walk but with some steps, and offers original artwork in a beautiful natural setting.
> Fireball Bates Walking Trail (1-2 hours, 1.9 miles)
George Bates, called Fireball because of his red hair, was one of the first settlers to Kangaroo Island. He joined a sealing expedition in 1823, jumping ship 13 years before settlers arrived. The trail begins at the now closed Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Center and loops down to near the ferry and back.
> Wallaby Track (1.9 miles, moderate)
It’s a 1.9-mile return hike which follows a natural spring-fed creek bed with naturally occurring waterfalls into limestone features. A little more challenging, so wear good sturdy walking shoes.