An AUD $18 million upgrade of the Kangaroo Island runway and terminal has allowed Qantas to offer direct flights from Adelaide and Melbourne during the island’s busy summer months.
“Kangaroo Island is already one of our State’s most popular destinations and now thousands more people will get to experience one of our great natural wonders,” said South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.
“The Island is world-renowned for its premium food and wine and is the ultimate taste of Australia for visitors with its abundant wildlife.”
Kangaroo Island, fondly known by many as the Galapagos of Australia, is a pristine wilderness that is home to a vast amount of animals that are native to Australia.
Over 150km long, KI boasts towering cliffs, sparkling white beaches, huge sand dunes, dense forest and literally acres of wilderness. The beaches are deserted and the landscapes are stunning.
Kangaroo Island is just 200 kilometres from the South Australia capital of Adelaide but was only accessible by ferry or limited air services.
The main runway is being extended and a new terminal building will be built with the ability to handle security screening. Works are expected to be finished in November.
Qantas will offer three flights per week from Adelaide, increasing to five times per week during the peak summer period through to Easter.
The flights will commence from December 2017, as part of an agreement between Qantas, the South Australian Government, Kangaroo Island Council and Adelaide Airport Limited. The flights will be able to bring an extra 20,000 visitors to the island each year.
Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young said the new QantasLink service, which will operate in addition to the existing REX Airlines service, will significantly improve access to Kangaroo Island for tourists and island residents.
“Kangaroo Island is a must-see destination for visitors to South Australia. It’s truly one of the most spectacular places to visit in Australia due to its rugged landscape and abundance of wildlife,” Young said.
The airport upgrade and increased flights come as more tourists are expected to experience the $5.8 million Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, which opened last year and was ranked third on Lonely Planet’s list of top new travel destinations for 2017.