DAY ONE - TWO
Collect your car from Adelaide Airport and head south out of town. That's easy, because the main South Road is nearby, leading to the Southern Expressway and the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula at Cape Jervis where you'll catch the car ferry to Kangaroo Island. It's an hour's sea-crossing to Penneshaw via the SeaLink car ferry.
On the way you'll pass through the winegrowing region of McLaren Vale – but no need to stop and stock up, there are more wineries on Kangaroo Island.
You'll need at least two days on the island – more if you can spare it. There are 1600km of roads on the island, most of the main roads are sealed but take great care on the unsealed roads if you head off the beaten track.
There are several must-dos, depending on your time. Be sure to join a ranger-led walk among the sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park. If you’ve got kids, stop at Little Sahara to hire a sandboard and surf the dunes, or ride quad bikes through the bush with Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action.
In the remote south-western corner, walk a trail through Flinders Chase National Park, looking out for the native tammar wallabies, koalas and reclusive echidnas; while you're there, stop to admire Admirals Arch and its seal colony, and the surreal forms of Remarkable Rocks perched high over powerful seas. A short drive further north, climb the lighthouse at Cape Borda and enjoy some of South Australia’s best views. Or just stand on a southern shore in the cooler months and watch migrating Southern Right whales and their calves.
At the other end of this 150km-long island, Cape Willoughby Conservation Park is home to South Australia's first lighthouse. Go underground to explore the limestone caves in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park, and visit Seal Bay Conservation Park on the south coast, home to a colony of Australian sea lions.
If your itinerary allows, the island is a great place to visit the local gourmet food producers: try Kangaroo Island Spirits' gin made from local juniper, Island Pure's sheep cheese, two honey farms producing unique Ligurian bee honey, marron (freshwater crays) plus several wineries.
There are loads of accommodation options, from camping under the stars to self-contained beachside flats and houses – none more spectacular than the Cliff House at LifeTime Private Retreats, wilderness and health retreats, and world-class luxury resorts such as the spectacular eco-resort, Southern Ocean Lodge. You can even spend the night in a historic lighthouse keeper's cottage at Cape Willoughby.
One of the most magical dining experiences in Australia is Hannaford & Sachs Enchanted Fig Tree near Snellings Beach on the north coast. The restaurant is within the canopy of a massive fig tree – but it's only open while the tree is in leaf, between December and the end of March.