Kangaroo Island Day 3: Vivonne Bay and Kelly Hill Caves

Well today I got up early. I mean I was up at 7 and was riding by 8:30. For anyone who knows me this is the moment to be suitably impressed!

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The first part of the day was highly uneventful. The strong winds over night had died down and it was a pleasant ride down to Vivonne Bay where I stopped to get any supplies I could find and some post cards. I ended up coming out with three post cards and a packet of shapes, so beware anyone planning a ride around KI, don’ rely on Vivonne General Store for a large range of supplies.

Moving on I took a left past the bridge and down towards the jetty and point of Vivonne Bay. The white limestone road was nearly intolerable but the view at the Bay was worth it as the rock platform, jetty and large wind driven waves made for an awesome site. I had imagined it as a very different based on a claim by Sydney Uni Researchers that it was Australia’s Best Beach, but I will have to wait to visit on a sunny day before judging.


After a cup of much needed tea I rode up to Kelly Hill Caves for lunch and a tour of the caves. The caves are interesting because they are formed out of calcified sand dunes rather than ex-coral reef, and I would highly recommend a stop for lunch and going on the walks around the area. The tour itself was a little lack-lustre, but the caves are interesting and the pure white shawls are worth a look.

The final stretch of the day was to West Kangaroo Island Caravan Park. This had to be the easiest section of riding of the trip, with very few hills and nice scenery to keep me interested.  Along the side of the road were little Tammar Wallabies that scampered into the bushes, Cape Barren Geese and every now and then the calls of yellow tail black cockatoos.

West KI Caravan Park itself is quite nice, with great facilities, so it was a pleasant evening.

Kangaroo Island Day 2: Seal Bay

What an awesome day! I woke up in splendid isolation at Murrays Lagoon to sunrise to the sound of birds and not much else. After fumbling around for a while I set out towards Seal Bay, with the aim of getting to Vivonne Bay for the evening. 6km of dirt and and a short section of sealed roads, and I made it to Seal Bay Cafe at 11am. A few hundred meters east of the turn off down to Seal Bay, the cafe is currently being Tyler and Melissa, two Colorado born backpackers who have taken a year off to check out Aus. Tyler and I chatted for a while and  I ordered a coffee (soy latte of course) and a bacon and egg surprise. What came out was a massive coffee and a bacon and egg burrito. It was so good I almost ordered a second!

Murray Lagoon to Seal Bay

Murray Lagoon to Seal Bay

After chatting for an hour or so I dumped my panniers and rode down to Seal Bay to check out the Australian Seal Lion Colony. I’d highly recommend doing the paid tour because it was well presented and the sea lions are amazing up close.

KI Sea Lions on the beach.

KI Sea Lions on the beach.

Australian Sea Lions in the surf.

KI Sea Lions up close, with a bull in the background and a mum and pup in the fore ground.

KI Sea Lions up close, with a bull in the background and a mum and pup in the fore ground.

Anyway riding back I noticed the wind speed had increased, and in fact was continuing to do so, but without panniers I wasn’t really aware of how much until I got back to the cafe and the winds were gusting at about 45knots. After much to-ing and fro-ing I made the “tough” decision and decided to stay put and enjoy the luxury of the Seal Bay Cafe hostel rooms for the night.

As it turns out Tyler and Melissa are both keen cyclists so a night of chatting, great food and relaxing was in store.

If anyone is heading towards KI I would seriously recommend staying with these guys!

The view from the back of the Seal Bay Cafe

The view from the back of the Seal Bay Cafe

The Seal Bay Cafe. A really easy place to hang out for an afternoon.

The Seal Bay Cafe. A really easy place to hang out for an afternoon.

Koala in the tree at the cafe.

Koala in the tree at the cafe.

Kangaroo Island Day 1: Penneshaw to Murrays Lagoon

Tired! Tell me if I am wrong, but day 3 of a cycle tour always seems to be the hardest day of a ride.

Map of day 1 on Kangaroo Island

Map of day 1 on Kangaroo Island

I made it out of Penneshaw at a good time, by which I mean the civilised time of 9:30am, and I was immediately confronted by Penneshaw Hill. According to everyone in town it is the biggest hill on the island, and judging by the fact I entered granny gear just looking at the hill I hope it is true. Despite this, and a bike loaded with 5-8days of food, I only took breaks to adjust my seat and was happy to find that my bike was well loaded for the trip. I also realised as I pedalled up the hill that most of my knee problems so far on the ride were to do with pedalling technique. For anyone new to cycle touring the most important thing to remember about pedalling is o put no force through your knees, just spin the pedals and let the bike do the work.


Anyway, issues resolved I made good time to Prospect Hill, where Matthew Flinders climbed up high and surveyed the waters north of Kangaroo Island. Before I embarked on the steep climb I enjoyed a pleasant lunch break (sans picnic table) being ignored by tourists and backpackers alike.

From here on the going gets tougher as I entered the realm of the Three Chain Road, a 30km section of unsealed road that would take allow me to save 30-40km at the cost of limestone, sand and iron pea gravel. To my advantage the road had been graded recently so there were few corrugations, but the loose top soil had collected in every little depression resulting in lots of foot work to keep the bike vertical. I’d go so far as to say that most of tomorrows sore leg complaints will be from catching the weight of a 60kg bike and not from cycling itself.

Three Chains Road, some sections were like this, other sections were red pea gravel of deep sand.

Three Chains Road, some sections were like this, other sections were red pea gravel of deep sand.

Along the side of the road there were a few of the amazing salt lakes that are scattered across KI despite its coastal location.

Kangaroo Island is spotted with salt lakes despite the coastal location. I'd love to know how they form.

Kangaroo Island is spotted with salt lakes despite the coastal location. I’d love to know how they form.

A tree encrusted with salt.

A tree encrusted with salt.

Anyway the day ended up being very pleasant in reality, and I would recommend the Three Chain Road to any cycle tourists going to KI. Just check on the quality of the road with the locals before headings into this area.

The day ended with a coffee and fruit cake at the Murray Lagoon which is a nice enough campsite, though really it is probably just a glorified campsite.Three Chain Road 2

Kangaroo Island – An Awesome Place to Ride

What island has a really unoriginal name, is really easy to get too, and is absolutely amazing?

Well unfortunately I can’t tell you that because it is a surprisingly well kept secret, but I would strongly recommend looking at the title of this post.

As you’ve probably worked out, I recently spent 2 days riding from Adelaide to Cape Jervis and 8 days riding around Kangaroo Island camping in caravan parks and national parks and council campgrounds. Some of these campgrounds have hot showers, while some are pretty basic without water sources. The roads around Kangaroo Island are a mix of great sealed roads and unsealed roads that range from well made gravel to white limestone and sand constructions which makes the days variable and fun. Anyway that is probably enough of a summary of facts. Here is a list of links to the days of my trip each one will eventually be linked to a full description of the day and a collection of the best photos.

Day 1: Glenelg to Aldinga Beach (58km)

Day 2: Aldinga to Cape Jervis and Penneshaw (64km)

Day 3: Penneshaw to Murray Lagoon (62km)

Day 4: Murray Lagoon to Seal Bay (41km)

Day 5: Seal Bay to West KI Caravan Park (57km)

Day 6: Rest Day (Remarkable Rocks) (51km)

Day 7: West KI to Stokes Bay (85km)

Day 8: Stokes Bay to Kingscote (58km)

Day 9: Kingscote to Brown Beach (57km)

Day 10: Browns Beach to Penneshaw via Cape Willoughby (56km)

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Kangaroo Island – tick

Just a quick note to let to world know I’ve finished my ride around kangaroo island as of this afternoon.

Crucial statistics are as follows:
10 days
2 light houses
8 beaches
3 hamburgers
1steak sandwich
0 crashes….

Oh and a stupid number of photos.

Detailled posts will be forthcoming, but for now let me say that kangaroo island is awesome, I highly recommend it to anyone, and next time I’m riding a fat bike!

Kingscote, nearly done…


I haven’t put up an update on the trip because it has been rather busy and reception free, but I’m chilling this afternoon in Kingscote so here is a pvot fron the beach. Three more part days of riding and I will be back in the big smoke for a while. Can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to it!

Alll packed up, but where to go…

I’m in (R)Adelaide ready for another cycling adventure to start tomorrow. As usual I don’t really have a plan except that I will start by riding south towards Kangaroo Island, and that I will work it out from there. What I do have however is a heavily laden bike and a sense of adventure. These things have seen me through a lot so here is to adventures ahead.