Don't Miss

Visitor Centre: This new facility serves both visitors arriving from the mainland by ferry and cruise passengers coming ashore. Apart from regular souvenirs, like postcards, fridge magnets and fluffy koalas, you can find much of the island's famous produce under one roof such as the delicious pure honeys as well as eucalyptus salves, oils, creams and lotions. There are even fishing rods for hire if you want to drop a line in across the road in Christmas Cove. Staff are happy to answer all your questions about KI and the free Wi-Fi has been upgraded, too. You can phone or email a few days in advance and book locally operated shore tours here, too, often at a considerable saving to onboard tours. (Howard Drive, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island; +61 8 8553 1185 or 1800 811 080 within Australia; info@tourkangarooisland.com.au)

Maritime Museum: Opposite the Visitor Centre is an old schoolhouse converted into a maritime and folk museum. There is quite comprehensive historical coverage of the shipping history of Kangaroo Island and documentation of the astonishing number of shipwrecks that occurred mainly in the late 19th century. The museum also contains quirky relics of the old school days, too, as well as some of the local characters and war veterans' stories. (52 Howard Dr, Penneshaw; +61 8 8553 1109; open on cruise days for a small admission fee.)

Ironstone Hill Hike: If you're tired of the jogging track around Deck 6 of your cruise ship, you might like to stretch your legs on this delightful short hike located at the far end of Hog Bay, near Frenchman's Rock. Officially called Baudin Conservation Park, the hike trail follows the original bullock track used by the old farmers. Birders bring your binoculars because you could well spot the rare glossy black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami) or even a wedge-tailed eagle. Generalists may catch a glimpse of the oh-so-cute tammar wallabies. It's a loop track easily completed in less than two hours and completely free of charge. (For more information, head to the Visitor Centre.)

Beaches

While Kangaroo Island loves to boast about its 50 individual beaches, the only beach you will have time to relax or swim at during shore time is in the immediate vicinity of Penneshaw and the terminal.

Best for day visitors: Hog Bay at Penneshaw is the premium, long, white sand beach a stone's throw from the terminal and cafes. With its own strip of parkland, it's a lovely spot for a stroll, picnic or nap. The water is safe to swim in, clear and sheltered, but anywhere you go in Kangaroo Island you'll find the water cool and rarely more than 20 degrees. Brrrr. The beach is also home to a colony of Fairy Penguins and if you visit before February, you may see some of the young ones making their first forays into the sea.