About Western End
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Kangaroo Island’s Western End: Remote and Wild
The West End is Kangaroo Island’s most secluded region, composed mostly of protected wildlife reserves and a marine park just beyond the shore. Stroll for hours in Flinders Chase National Park, along rugged trails leading to scenic lookouts. As you wander, you’ll discover unique rock formations shaped by millions of years of erosion.
Observe koalas, wallabies and other iconic Australian species in their natural habitat. Cool off at one of the remote beaches at the western tip of the island, or try your luck catching salmon in Hanson’s Bay. While you’re at it, grab your snorkelling or diving gear and explore life beneath the ocean’s surface. Outdoor adventures are endless in Kangaroo Island’s West End.
When you book a holiday rental on Kangaroo Island’s Western End, make sure to bring everything you need with you, as stores are limited in these parts.
Wildlife in the Western End
As the least inhabited part of Kangaroo Island, the West End is a haven for wildlife. Start your discovery of the area’s fauna at Hanson Bay Sanctuary. Visitors will be likely to spot some of the island’s wild koalas. Take a self-guided walking tour of the sanctuary, or sign up for after dark tours for closeups of the area’s nocturnal species. In addition to koalas, the sanctuary is home to wallabies, possums, kangaroos and echidnas.
The waters hugging the shore are part of the Western Kangaroo Island Marine Park. The park is a great spot for whale and dolphin watching. To get to know the species beneath the surface, you hire diving gear and explore the reefs. In the estuaries on to the coast, fur seals raise their young. When you look up towards the sky, you might also spot a white-bellied sea eagle. To get out in the open water, you can hire a boat for the day.
Western End Sights and Lookouts
Cape Borda Lightstation was built in 1858 on the northwest point of Kangaroo Island. This is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country. Towering at 155 m above sea level, it affords panoramic ocean and coastal views. Guided tours of the lighthouse allow visitors to find out more about the island’s past, as well as the lives of the first lightkeepers, who were very much isolated from the mainland.
Kangaroo Island’s western, natural landmarks include the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. The Remarkable Rocks are a 500 million-year-old granite formation on the coast. Watch the sun rise or set over these imposing, jagged boulders, which have an orangish tint due to lichen. Visitors can climb on the rocks on dry days. A viewing platform near the rocks affords views out to the Casuarina Islets.
A boardwalk leads to Admirals Arch, a naturally formed rock arch, the remains of a cave. Travellers can still see stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Admirals Arch acts as an observation post for watching the fur seal colony in the rock pools below, and sometimes dolphins swimming close by. Admirals Arch is the starting point to several walking tracks.
Walks and Hikes in Kangaroo Island’s West
The Western End of Kangaroo Island is covered in the untouched forests of Flinders Chase National Park. The park is crisscrossed by many different trails, some leading further inland and others making their way to the coast. Ambitious walkers may undertake part, or all, of the 61 km Wilderness Trail, a track leading past isolated beaches, windswept landscapes, caves, bushland and rocky shores.
Shorter, easier walks depart from the park’s Visitor Centre. A 200m Discover Walk leads to the Black Swamp Lookout. A 1.5 km Heritage Walk introduces visitors to the island’s human and natural heritage via interpretive signage. Keep your eyes peeled for platypus as you cross the Black Swamp via the Platypus Waterholes Walk, a two-hour journey (both ways).
West End Beaches
Hanson Bay’s beach is a hub for fishing enthusiasts, who will be trying to reel in a prized Australian salmon. You can cast your line right in the surf. On top of fishing, travellers will be able to swim and snorkel in the sheltered waters. For swimming amidst scenic views, head to West Bay, an untouched beach at the western end of Flinders Chase National Park. This is another good fishing spot.
As you wander through the national park, you will find more secluded beaches, accessible by footpath only. Make your way along Sandy Creek’s shores to reach a quiet, deserted beach. Follow a trail leading through the Valley of the Cassowaries, abuting at another remote stretch of sand. Be mindful of tides and stormy weather as you head to these unpatrolled beaches.
Getting to Kangaroo Island’s Western End
If you’re travelling to the West End, you first need to get to Kangaroo Island from the mainland. Take a ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw or fly from Adelaide to the island’s airport, Kingscote. From there, you can hire a car and drive to your final destination in about an hour.