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A local’s guide to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a place like no other – dramatic wilderness, pristine beaches and untouched native bushland merge seamlessly with an abundance of gourmet food and wine options. Emily McWaters, CEO of The Hamper Emporium, is lucky enough live on a farm in this idyllic location. She shares some of her favourite spots on Kangaroo Island for families.

Emily lives on Kangaroo Island with her husband and two kids. Photo: Supplied


Kangaroo Island has plenty of activities to enjoy, where you can really get a feel for the island’s atmosphere and rugged beauty. My top three must-visit locations are:

Stokes Bay

Stokes Bay is a stunning, safe beach with the clearest water, dotted with rock pools. Golden, sandy cliffs form a cove with a natural wall that creates a turquoise lagoon to relax in. It’s a quiet and secluded spot, perfect for families to have picnics, swim with the kids and enjoy some sun.

Raptor Domain

This is incredible animal sanctuary is run by a team who are truly passionate about animal conservation. The up-close-and-personal reptile and bird shows are not to be missed. Between shows, be sure to visit the sanctuary’s excellent food truck which sells the island’s best hamburgers.

Don’t miss the awesome bid shows at Raptor Domain. Photo: Shutterstock


If you’re after a fun, family-friendly activity, there’s nothing better than throwing a line in at the Kingscote jetty. Grab your fishing rod, handline or crab net. You can try your luck at catching anything from famous King George Whiting, Garfish and Salmon Trout and even catch a few Blue Swimmer and Sand crabs.


The island is full of quirky, local hot-spots, serving the freshest of food you can get your hands on. My favourite go-to places are:

Beach Barista Food Van, Pennington Bay

The Beach Barista boasts the island’s best coffee, as well as thick-shakes and chai lattes. You can accompany those with a crispy toastie or an expertly-baked scone or cake, all while enjoying a backdrop of the most spectacular, pristine beach you can imagine.

things to do on Kangaroo Island

Beach Barista Food Van in Pennington Bay. Photo: Supplied

Cactus Coffee and Food Bar, Kingscote

The Cactus boys combined their amazing hospitality skills to create an eatery where fresh, seasonal, local produce rules. You are guaranteed to be delighted by whatever you order, but I usually get the dumplings made with Kangaroo Island free range pork.

Frogs and Roses Garden Cafe & Pizza, Cygnet River

Nothing beats the smell of the hand-made dough and super fresh ingredients. These tantalising aromas his you as soon as you walk through the door of Frogs and Roses. This outfit produces the best pizza on KI, made from vegetables and herbs grown in the owner’s garden. You can grab a bite, then wander through the  native nursery on site.

things to do on Kangaroo Island

Pizza at Frogs and Roses Garden Cafe & Pizza in Cygnet River. Photo: Supplied


After eating your fill or having a day at the beach, it’s time to relax. Kangaroo Island has a variety of beautiful accommodation options. Below are three of my favourites:

Ecopia Retreat

This accommodation boasts the luxury comforts of a high-end hotel with a nature-centric focus. Located on a vast private property in the centre of Kangaroo Island, the rammed earth villas each include luxury appointments as well as a large free-standing bath and wood fire place.

Waves & Wildlife Cottages

These seven stand-alone cottages, overlooking Stokes Bay Beach, offer one of the best family experiences on the island. Expect to be surrounded by kangaroos, wallabies and possums  while you’re cooking a BBQ on the front deck. The beach is a short walk down the hill and is ideal for families with small children.

things to do on Kangaroo Island

Resident kangaroos soaking up the sun in Stokes Bay. Photo: Shutterstock

Wandering Souls Glamping Tents

For the ruggedness of camping combined with all your high-end comforts, glamping is the way to go. Wandering Souls provides a variety of seriously luxurious tents that can be set-up at a range of locations including Rocky River, Stokes Bay and Antechamber Bay.

Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park and Wildlife Reserve

Located on 17 hectares of natural Kangaroo Island bush and grassland, this family-friendly is located on the fringes of Flinders Chase National Park. Choose between a fully-equipped cabin or pull up and stay in your own caravan.

things to do on Kangaroo Island

The Remarkables Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

I fell in love with Kangaroo Island when I visited, so much so that I had to call it home. I have no doubt any visitor will adore this unique and idyllic location just as much as I do.

Emily McWaters is the CEO of The Hamper Emporium and a passionate, business savvy entrepreneur whose hands-on work ethic is at the forefront of her e-commerce success. She is also the CEO of the SOL Group, Australia’s leading online gifting company. Emily lives on a 100-acre property on Kangaroo Island where she farms Black Angus cattle and truffles.


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