Kate ( my wife ) and I are considering a few days, probably a weeks touring, Kangaroo Island on our Tandem. We are comfortable riding 60-80km on bitumen and probably 50-km on dirt.
We plan on using budget accommodation, but not under canvas, & we are looking at traveling in the October school holidays.
We are looking for any suggestions, tips etc to make this trip a success
Read this, if you haven't already;
Have a chat to Allan and Mary at adelaide Touring Cyclists as well. This was up on their site http://www.adelaidetouringcyclists.org/kangaroo_island.htm
Or join their group on AC here:
Peter Harrison or Michael Dwyer are the most active members. Drop them a line.
Also worth reading is Sophia's blog post about her trip there with Jeremy Miller last year:
For starters, if you haven't been to KI before then it is probably bigger than you think. "Days" won't cover it but a week should give you a good taste.The sealed roads now cover the south coast including all the main tourist attractions (Seal Bay, Admiral's Arch, etc). The West End Highway is sealed so you can easily traverse north-south on bitumen. I think all other north-south roads are dirt. By far the most scenic (and not so touristy) route is the North Coast Rd but it can get very hilly on its western half. The Dudley Penninsula is all dirt, except the main Rd to American River/Kingscote. The South Coast road is bitumen, long and tedious and doesn't give you coastal views as it is too far inland.
The sealed roads traverse very open country and supplies are only available at main towns which are few and far between. The dirt roads are notorious for marble-like gravel and out towards West Bay is corrugation central. There are some places I wouldn't go on a MTB let alone a tandem. Balance could be very difficult on a long wheel base on the marbles. Dust may be an issue as you are going during school hols and most tourist drivers in hire cars/people movers have very little idea how to handle their vehicles on dirt, let alone marbles! I have seen 3 4WDs on their roof or side.
Accommodation abounds as many of the local farmers have turned to B&B as supplemental income. Unfortunately "budget" can be hard to find. Kingscote has cabins at their "tourist park" as does the Western KI Caravan park. Cottages are available all over the place but are pricey. Book early if going during school hols or take a tent! Sealink "own" KI and last I heard they take 20%! commission off their listed providers if you book accomm thru Sealink. Might give you some haggling leeway if you book direct.
I'm not sure how you intend to do this but if I did it then I would take a vehicle and bike, make an accommodation base for a few days in a location central to things you want to do/see by bike and simply ride day trips. Then drive to the next base and repeat.
If you are going to do the main tourist attractions then get an Island Parks Pass (valid for a year last time I looked) as it is cheaper than pay as you go. Some of the entry fees are exorbitant!
Did I mention that KI is probably BIGGER than you think? ;-)
Hope this helps.
Sounds like fun pete! How does one find the Ferry to KI also...is that the one at point Jervois or whatever its called(far west of victor harbour and south-west of second valley). I wanted to see if i could ride the heysman all the way to the ferry and then tour KI, camping and navigating and chilling. Fun! Anyways sorry, im not informative...but you know me, just an interested cyclist with his head cut off. =D
60-80 km a day on bitumen.
The well known tourist attractions are at Flinders Chase national park on the west end of KI. I think will take you 3 days just to ride there.
Day 1 : ferry at Penneshaw, to Kingscote. Days 2 Kingscote to say Parndana. Day 3: finish up at west end. Then you would want a few days to explore that area... The S coast or N coast routes - similar.
Alternative : cycle to Kingscote - cycle explore places that end (Emu Bay; Seal bay, D'Estrees Bay; Pelican Lagoon; ), do the west end Remarkable Rocks, Kelly Hill Caves, Admirals Arch as a day coach trip.
Accommodation - SA Govt Travel place can advise; KI gets busy in school holidays so book. Should be plenty of budget stuff at Kingscote.
Another resource to have a look at. Enjoy!
I think gill pretty much nailed it but forgot to mention the wind and the flies. KI is famous for it's road kill so that means lots of flies IME, and being stuck in the middle of th southern ocean it can get windy, and as we cyclists know that means headwinds, no matter which way we are going.
Pat, I didn't want to kill the holiday dead in one hit. I planned to do it by instalments! ;-)
But yes, the road kill stinks when driving by if the aircon is on intake instead of recirc. I hate to think what it would be like by bike. You could hold your breath but will find exhalation points few and far between. This is where dirt roads come into their own as they are less travelled hence are only minor killing fields. I am still a bit dubious about a tandem on many of the dirt roads though??
The wind can be a complete pain in the arse on KI and is always onshore if you are on a diving trip. You may therefore assume that it will always be a head wind on a cycling trip. Murphy will confirm this.
KI is not all flat. But you will figure that out just beyond Penneshaw :-)
I don't want to kill the holiday completely, despite the problems highlighted I'd go back there tomorrow if I could. It's an awesome place to visit, from memory we were there for 7-10 days with a car and barely scratched the surface of what is on offer.
Thanks for your tips so far :)
Kate and I went to KI 14 years ago, but my guess is that things move pretty slowly over there, and therefore, not too much has changed.
We sat down last night & nutted out a possible itinerary as follows:
Day one: Drive to Cape Jervis, Park Car for the Week & Catch the Ferry to Penneshaw.
Day two: Penneshaw to American River, Stopping at Browns Beach. 35km ( some dirt )
Day three: American River to Parndana 58km ( All sealed roads )
Day four: Parndana to Vivonne bay via Seal bay 54km ( Lots of dirt )
Day five: Vivonne Bay to Kelly Hill Caves, Return to Vivonne Bay. 56km ( All sealed roads )
Day Six Vivonne Bay to Kingscote 61km ( All sealed roads )
Days 7 Kingscote to Penneshaw, Ferry & home. 60km ( All sealed roads )
This would give us a week on the Island, and main 'towns' to stay at each night.
Can you see anything obviously wrong with this plan ?
Are each of these 'towns big enough to get a feed & repack provisions ?
Also, Are there any bike shops on the Island ?