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Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2018 8:07 pm
by jobell
With a few extra days on my hands before I could start the Heysen Trail I took advantage of the proximity and spent five days walking on the KIWT.

I had read the discussion on here about this trail when it was first being opened (a year or two ago? Not long anyway). I thought I would share a few thoughts here in case it us helpful to someone else.

Getting there: I hopped on the ferry as a walk on passenger after bussing from Adelaide. On the ferry I got cheeky and put a sign on my backpack reading "lift needed to Western KI pls" and wandered around smiling a lot. It worked....and my lift dropped me at the Western KI Caravan Park. I could have equally gone straight to the trail but I had left an extra day in my schedule in case I took a while to get my lift. If you arrived late there is a great little backpackers in Penneshaw where the ferry arrives and where I hapoen to be now - single room tiny but super clean and $38 a night. Plenty of new tourists arriving on ferry's to potentially hitch with. There's a well stocked IGA here too but no gas canisters that I could find.

The Western KI Caravan Park people offer trail transfers ($20 each way) which I used to be dropped at the trail start and picked up at the end. They also do sell gas canisters but don't have many so best to ring in advance I think and ask them to hold one for you if needed. They were also handy for me as they were prepared to receive and hold my resupply package for my next walk. They also offer daily trail transfers for those who prefer to day walk the trail or even pack transfers from campsite to campsite for those who choose that option.

I started on a Wednesday and had the trail and campsites to myself which helped up the "wilderness" factor for me. No independent walkers or tour groups. The ranger said a mid week start was more likely to avoid crowds. Walking in May possibly helped too.

Distances aren't huge. 5 says: 12km, 14km, 14km, 13km, 7km. I just took it easy, slept in, mooched around and enjoyed the serenity. But if you wanted to speed it up you could start late on Day 1, Day 2 add a 9km side trip to lighthouse and historic stuff at Cape de Couedic, Day 3...read a book in the avo? There's also a couple of little side trips that day to add interest that could be stretched a bit. Days 4 and 5 would easily combine inyo one plus there's a little side trip or two there as well.

Campgrounds: Well thought out and designed, easily the best I have experienced. And they were MINE, all mine for each night. LEVEL tent pads carefully framed and crafted, camping platforms with seats, bush furniture galore, cooking shelters with water on tap and sinks and lighting in the evening, good bathroom facilities. Can you tell how highly I rate a level tent pad? The number of paid campsites I have had where it's a rare, rare thing.

The booking fee (currently $161) included a map, an infomative but smidgen heavy guidebook and a tour of the show cave at Kelly Hill Caves at the finish.

Overall very scenic, pleasant and cruisy walking. Possibly the perfect walk for introducing that non walking partner to the sport.

If you'd like a bit more of a blow by blow story and more pics you'll find that on my FB page facebook.com/ratherbebushwalking.

Cheers Joanne ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2018 11:00 am
by eggs
Thanks for the report.

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2018 4:58 pm
by GregR
Thanks Jo

Great report. I have to admit my total ignorance of this walk until today, and now I'm looking at seeing if my Adelaide based daughter wants to join me next year -looks fabulous and certainly not too demanding either.
Cheers
Greg

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Sat 19 May, 2018 6:35 pm
by Lizzy
Nice one! Thanks for the report. Looks very civilised. Mid week in May or winter sound like the plan.

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2018 7:40 am
by contiki30
That's a very detailed report Joanne. My family and I are looking at doing a multiday hike and this trail is on the list so a big thank you for the detail. And stunning pics :)

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Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 22 May, 2018 8:25 pm
by scoha
Excellent report JoBell - its now on my list

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 29 May, 2018 9:46 pm
by jobell
Happy to see it was useful. Cheers!

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Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Sun 10 Jun, 2018 10:00 am
by dagsands
Thanks Jo. Planning to do this in November. Your report was great - and the facilities look great too!

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2018 2:16 pm
by Ms_Mudd
Great report, looks excellent. Look forward to reading a Heysen report when its done too

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2018 10:01 pm
by jobell
How does a Cape Jervis to Tanunda Heysen report sound? I could probably rustle one of those up given I decided to beat a strategic retreat from winter in South Australia once I reached Tanunda.... that was about two weeks ago now!

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Mon 25 Jun, 2018 8:28 pm
by Eremophila
Yes please !!

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 1:42 pm
by jobell
Done! See thread under trip reports in SA/WA section. [SMILING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]

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Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2018 9:08 pm
by Ms_Mudd
jobell wrote:How does a Cape Jervis to Tanunda Heysen report sound? I could probably rustle one of those up given I decided to beat a strategic retreat from winter in South Australia once I reached Tanunda.... that was about two weeks ago now!


sounds like it would be a great read too :wink: Oh goody by the time I have seen this you have already written it. Will make a cuppa and settle in to read

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 04 Dec, 2018 10:12 pm
by dagsands
My partner and I did the KIWT last month and loved it. Amazing scenery, Quite easy in terms of elevation, world class facilities, hardly anybody on the trail, great wildlife experiences.
Only downside was a couple of days of really, really rocky path. If you looked up to check out the views while still walking during those times there's a high likelihood of stubbing a toe or mis-steps. Just got a bit tedious through those sections.

Totally unique experience, highly recommended to go do it before people catch on and it gets busier.
Tour of Kelly caves is included in the KIWT price. Our timing was lucky and it was just the two of us on the cave tour with our guide. Highly recommend checking out the birds of prey show at raptor domain while you are on the island.

For planning info - we left our car at Western KI caravan park and got then to shuttle us to the start and they picked us up at the end, same price as the tourist office charges but your vehicle is secure. And great service.

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 05 Feb, 2019 2:58 am
by Ms_Mudd
I just remembered you said you were going to do it dagsands and looked for the thread to see what you thought. Seems like a successful trip! What were the numbers of walkers like? Was it at the daily maximum? Did you drive all the way from NSW? Impressive! I do have a fuel card that could fund the petrol, but driving solo, or with my daughter seems like a big leap to take. Although airfares are pretty scary if flying direct to Kingscote.

I have a few multiday walks planned this year outside of my local neighbourhood (Barrington Tops) and KIWT is actually a thought for Septemberish. I would be going on my own, or taking my 11yo with me, depending on how she feels about bush walking after walking Light to Light with me in the next month or two ;-) For the walk I take in September, I am looking for low stress, not too technical terrain and some different landscapes to what I am used to. This walk seems to meet most of what I am looking for.

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Tue 05 Feb, 2019 8:49 pm
by Eremophila
Booked in for late May with 2 girlfriends, can't wait :D

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2019 9:28 pm
by Ms_Mudd
Eremophila wrote:Booked in for late May with 2 girlfriends, can't wait :D

enjoy!

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb, 2019 11:46 am
by dagsands
Ms_Mudd wrote:I just remembered you said you were going to do it dagsands and looked for the thread to see what you thought. Seems like a successful trip! What were the numbers of walkers like? Was it at the daily maximum? Did you drive all the way from NSW? Impressive! I do have a fuel card that could fund the petrol, but driving solo, or with my daughter seems like a big leap to take. Although airfares are pretty scary if flying direct to Kingscote.

I have a few multiday walks planned this year outside of my local neighbourhood (Barrington Tops) and KIWT is actually a thought for Septemberish. I would be going on my own, or taking my 11yo with me, depending on how she feels about bush walking after walking Light to Light with me in the next month or two ;-) For the walk I take in September, I am looking for low stress, not too technical terrain and some different landscapes to what I am used to. This walk seems to meet most of what I am looking for.


Hi Ms Mudd
Sorry I did not reply before now. Only just saw your post. We were the only people that we saw doing the hike except for a family of two adults and three or four female children. The youngest of the group was six I think. They loved it. So yeah we just had the same company each night so there was tons and tons of space and lots and lots of peace and quiet.
Yes we drove all the way from Northern New South Wales. But we did have a wedding to go to and family to visit in Adelaide and surrounds so that's how we were able to justify driving all that way.
It is definitely not technical terrain at all and the landscapes are really varied. It's just, as I said, a bit rocky for a while there but the views and the wildlife and the wildflowers make it worthwhile. Safe, peaceful, stunning, excellent facilities.
I can highly recommend it. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help :-)

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar, 2019 8:19 pm
by Ms_Mudd
Thanks for the reply!
Safe, peaceful and stunning- I think you have me sold on doing it with those three words!

Wow, a huge drive, impressive.
It sounds very encouraging that it wasn't super crowded, that was probably my main concern with such a well set out trail- that it would be overrun with people. I understand I will see some people, just didn't want to be tripping over everyone all of the time. So pleased to hear the campsites have plenty of room.

My September annual leave request got rejected as too many others got in before me- booooo. So I have applied for leave for two weeks from Oct 21 instead- hopefully not getting too late in the year to walk it. I just did Green Gully Track Jan 21-26 and although I coped, walking in the heat is definitely not my preference. Thinking I will cough up the funds and fly direct to Kingscote, seems a bit fiddly to get to Adelaide and do the bus and ferry thing.

Re: Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

PostPosted: Mon 17 Jun, 2019 9:00 pm
by Eremophila
Walked the KIWT at the end of May with 2 girlfriends, loved it. Would like to return and re-do in a different season, probably spring. Definitely a good trail to introduce walkers to multi-day trips.
Weather was good, plenty of light rain but not enough to need our waterproof pants as the wind was drying things out pretty quickly! Temps were just right for walking, coldest night I think was 7C, coldest day 12C. My 2 co-walkers were from Central Australia and the Top End and they didn't get too cold.
Days 2 and 3 were pretty windy, Day 2 is very exposed for pretty much the whole day. If the tide is too high for the beach section, you have to find your own way along the dunes.
On Day 3 after we got past Remarkable Rocks we were having trouble staying upright for a couple of hours. No complaints though - seeing the Southern Ocean at its most spectacular was a real treat. That day there was a 6.5m swell and winds of 60km/h, I suspect maybe a bit more.
The seaspray was being funnelled up over the clifftop (and over us) and there were pieces of seaweed scattered along the clifftop, I was expecting to find fish flapping around at one stage! We could see the next day's clifftop walking and the spray showering over it from a distance, breathtaking.
Campsites are pretty luxurious with running water - filtered and unfiltered taps on the sinks in the camp shelter, plus 2 handbasins at the WC's. Lights in the shelter come on at dusk until 8pm, lights in the WC's until a bit later. Lovely level sand tent pads.
We didn't see much wildlife at all after the first day, wrong weather/season I guess. A good amount of birdlife when we were in the forest and away from the wind. It was nice though to NOT see wildlife hanging around the campsites - the only creature we saw was a possum which cruised through the shelter area on night 4 but didn't hang around.
Couple of grumbles:
The lovely young lady who checked us in at the Visitor Centre, didn't seem to have much first-hand knowledge of the trail. She didn't know the difference between "beach walking" and "coastal walking" and caused some brief concern when she told us we would be walking on the beach for most of Day 2.
Despite all the website information to the contrary, the limit of 12 self-guided walkers departing per day has been opened up to 24, except when there are guided groups departing. Thus we had a total of 18 self-guided walkers which included one party of 11.
We ended up using the tour group tent sites for a bit of privacy, apparently this should have been passed on that it was ok to do so.
And we didn't get to try the timber tent platforms as the large group took them all - being the slowest and last into camp each day, we just had to suck it up. Mind you, I reckon the platforms would have been colder anyway, and the "pop-up tent pegs" were not suited to our tents. (After I read about these I had left all the cup hooks at home) Some platforms were available in the group area on Day 2, but they were up high and exposed to the strong winds.
The large group were a nice bunch on the whole, although their camp etiquette could use some refining. Yelling across the campsite to one another at 5.30am is not my idea of good manners.
Anyhow, as I said to my friends, if those guys hadn't been there, we would have been the noisy ones! And we did score a free minibus trip to Admiral's Arch courtesy of their support driver. (who also gave us a bottle of port 8) )
Could've saved my friends $25 each by only paying one bus fare from Kelly Hill Caves back to the carpark, and me then collecting them from the Caves. Would we have bothered? Probably not, but it would have been nice to have the option. The aforementioned Parks staff member advised, "If you speak to Xxxx, she'll give you all the tips and tricks". Interesting comment when online bookings are encouraged over phone bookings!
Perhaps next time I would check numbers closer to the departure date - apparently there were no walkers departing the day after us.
All in all we had a terrific time and I'd love to return to see some wildflowers in bloom. Nice part of the world.