Penneshaw is the first port of call on Kangaroo Island. Perched on the northern coast of the Dudley Peninsula, the township’s intriguing sights and historic monuments make it much more than just a gateway to your Kangaroo Island adventure. Check out the beautiful bays that were surveyed by French and English explorers in the early 19th century and get a closer look at some of the wild animals that make the coastline their home.
Many of Kangaroo Island’s visitors arrive by boat to Penneshaw Wharf. Step onto the jetty and take in the views of Hog Bay and its arc of white sand. Go for a walk along the sandy beach and overlook Backstairs Passage and the mainland of South Australia. The beach is a lovely spot for a swim and a picnic. Reach Frenchman’s Rock on the beach’s eastern edge to see a replica of the stone that the French explorer Nicolas Baudin carved into to mark his expedition to Kangaroo Island in 1803. You can see the original rock at the Gateway Information Centre to the west of town.
Stroll into town and spend some time exploring the collection of shops and cafés. Watch the world go by as you sit at a table in one of the cozy cafés fronting the rugged coastline of Hog Point, which stretches along the north of the town. To the west, you’ll find the heritage-listed Christmas Cove and the town’s Uniting Church, which was established in 1883.
As the sun goes down, return to the wharf to visit the Penguin Interpretive Centre and join your guide on a sunset tour that follows a boardwalk situated above the penguin rookery. For a daytrip from Penneshaw, visit Antechamber Bay or American Beach for great swimming and scenery.
Penneshaw is easy to reach from Cape Jervis on the mainland of South Australia via the Kangaroo Island Sealink vehicular ferry. Ferries operate several times a day. There is a range of accommodations options in Penneshaw, from seaside cottages to rural retreats. Visit the town on the first Sunday of the month to experience the Penneshaw Markets, where local stallholders sell regional produce, artisan crafts and second-hand goods.