Kangaroo Island among one of 50 places in list of World’s Best Places of 2023

 Thursday, March 23, 2023 


Kangaroo Island has completed a tourism trifecta by receiving its third destination award in three months, but its mayor is concerned that the island may be unable to keep up with its own popularity, ABC news portal reported.

Time Magazine listed the environment and wildlife haven off the coast of South Australia as one of 50 places in The World’s Best Places of 2023.

It comes after the New York Times named Stokes Bay as one of the Top 10 Places to Visit in 2023, and after Tourism Australia named Stokes Bay the Best Australian Beach, the first for a South Australian beach.

Australia’s third-largest island is noted for its wildlife sanctuary, pure strain of the sought-after Ligurian bees, and natural, rugged beauty.

Brisbane was also nominated on Time Magazine’s list for its Queen Wharf development and infrastructure investment in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Kangaroo Island Mayor Michael Pengilly welcomed the recent recognition, even if it came as a surprise.
“The [accolades] seem to be coming left, right and centre,” he said adding, “We welcome that publicity. You cannot actually buy that sort of publicity.

“Our natural attractions, our coastline, our beaches, of course, our native bush and our animals [played a role].”

Mayor Pengilly also emphasised the island’s distilleries and vineyards, and joked about a unique selling advantage that no other place in the world can match.

While Mayor Pengilly saw the honour as a boon to the tourism economy, it came at a cost. He stated that the island’s road infrastructure needed to be improved.

“Our roads are still a nightmare. That’s a major thing, which we as a little council simply can’t cope with. I’ve spoken to the federal minister on that,” he said.

“I would like to see a federal state program of infrastructure put in on the roads particularly so we can cope with the numbers. That’s critical for us. We simply just can’t do it.

“One of the things that the jury’s out on at the moment is the imposition of cruise ship passengers who really don’t pay anything into the island to help with infrastructure.”

Therefore, economical and dependable air or boat access to the island remains exceedingly challenging.
“After the fires and with COVID we lost Regional Express, which was our mainstay airline. We’ve only got Qantas now, whose services are a bit hit and miss,” he said.

According to Mayor Pengilly, the lack of both an early morning and an evening flight made it difficult for international tourists, as well as local families and businesses, to schedule day trips on and off the island.
“It’s horrendously expensive, and also not everyone wants to go on the ferry. For example, it’s a 20-minute flight to Adelaide. However, if you go by ferry, in essence, it’s a seven-hour return trip.”

Like the rest of the nation, Kangaroo Island is also grappling with a housing crisis.

“It’s almost impossible to get a rental on the island. That’s not a lot different to a lot of other places. Anything that comes up sells very, very quickly, but there is no rental accommodation available,” Mayor Pengilly said.

The housing shortage also puts pressure on local businesses trying to secure workers. Many international visitors coming to the island for work are unable to find a place to stay.

“[There are] backpackers wanting to come in and work here but can’t get accommodation, so it’s presenting huge problems,” he said.

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