By David Nankervis
Last updated on: January 30, 2018 at 12:50 pm
There’s wildlife, wineries, stunning white sand beaches, farmers market, breweries, nature walks, superb seafood, sunsets, and even a spot of relaxation to catch your breath.
That’s what my wife Kathy, daughter May and I managed to pack into a recent weekend family vacation at the world famous island, most of which was new to us despite previous visits over the years.
We stayed at American River for the first time, which was ideally located at the island’s neck, between Dudley Peninsula and the main body of land.
It’s the home of the endangered Glossy Black cockatoo, as well as about 250 people perched on a hillside in native bushland who overlook the lagoon, oyster farm, boats, yachts and stunning sunrises.
After disembarking from the SeaLink Ferry at Penneshaw, we drove to Dudley Winery (pictured at the top) to enjoy some wine tasting, pizza and a glass of red for lunch. With stunning views across Backstairs Passage to the mainland, this is the ideal location for tourists to take selfies.
A short half hour drive and we arrived at our American River accommodation. The region was named after a group of American sealers from the ship Union who camped here for four months in 1803 and built another vessel, the Independence, from local timber.
We enjoyed an amble along the shoreline on the Fish Cannery Trail admiring the bird life, which included pelicans gliding over the lagoon. We then retired to our balcony for a cold beer before devouring King George Whiting and a bottle of local Malbec wine for dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day two began with a visit to the farmer’s market after a short drive to Kingscote. The market featured hot food, arts and crafts, vegetables, seedlings and music as well as some wine sampling at the Bay of Shoals winery cellar door.
Another short drive north brought us to Emu Bay – a sweeping beach of white sand under a cloudless blue sky. Although you can drive along the beach, we kicked off our shoes and went for a wade in the surprisingly warm waters before heading back to Kingscote for a lunch of local seafood.
Along the way we stopped at the KI Brewery to sample some ales and alcoholic ginger beer while my daughter swung lazily in a hammock.
We also had to give way to some cattle crossing the road near Cygnet River before stopping off at Pennington Bay for more spectacular scenery and beachcombing.
We were back on the boat at Penneshaw at 4:30pm for the 45-minute journey to Cape Jervis and home in Adelaide just in time for a late dinner.