American River Accommodation, Hotels, Tours & Information

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American River

American River is a small town tucked into native bushland overlooking Eastern Cove and Pelican Lagoon. Its natural surroundings, lack of crowds or hustle and bustle make it a haven for wildlife and birdwatching.

At night the town comes alive with nocturnal animals such as wallabies and possums. The town and surrounds are dotted with self guided walking trails that are the perfect setting for prolific birdlife and native flora.

For those seeking peace and quiet amongst nature, American River is an ideal central location for touring Kangaroo Island.

With the integration of bushland and accommodation, the nightlife in American River is naturally wild. A leisurely walk with a torch will reveal an array of native life including Tammar Wallabies and Brush-tailed Possums.

Organised nocturnal tours are available, incorporating Little Penguins at Penneshaw (please contact the tour operator as some tours may not be running at certain times of the year). The bushland surrounding the village is habitat to the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo, which are often seen in the area. Eastern Cove, the outer bay, offers excellent sailing and fishing in semi-protected waters. The village of American River supports these pursuits with an excellent boat ramp, barbecue and picnic facilities, fishing charters and boat hire.

The Kangaroo Island oyster industry is based here and oysters are available, seasonally. Pelican Lagoon, the inner bay, is a natural fish nursery and is protected as an Aquatic Reserve. The islands within the lagoon are important bird-breeding habitats. Black Swans, Cape Barren Geese, Australian Pelicans and other birds make the area an excellent bird-watching destination. The foreshore and the Fish Cannery Walking Trail are great places to pursue this.

American River

American River: Where To Go / Sightseeing

Rebuild Independence Project


The Rebuild Independence Project is a volunteer group that is re-creating the first vessel ever built in South Australia - the 45ft United States Schooner "Independence." The original Schooner was built on the banks of inlet, where now stands the town of American River. She was built by American sealers from Stonington in Connecticut, USA, in 1803, who sailed here in their Brig "Union".

The vessel is being built in the "RIG Boathouse", which is at the entrance to the American Wharf. Visit us and see out interpretive display, which details the adventures and fate of the "Union" and "Independence". Discover their association with the great explorers Nicholas Baudin and Matthew Flinders.

The vessel is being built entirely by voluntary labour and will take some three to five years to complete. Once finished visitors will be able to climb aboard and go for a short sail around the beautiful Eastern Cove and learn how these old sailing vessels were handled.

Looking for refreshments? Our adjoining licensed water front Deck Cafe, with ample parking, looks out over the anchorage. While away the time over a delicious lunch or coffee and watch the many birds, and maybe a seal or dolphin.




The Wharf, Tangarra Drive
American River, SA, 5221

Located 1.5K from American River

Artworks Gallery


Artworks is a friendly, informal community gallery manned and run entirely by the artists themselves and volunteer members of the artists Collective KI Inc.

The gallery is housed in an attractive open space building with light and airy display areas. The wide range of art and craft work for sale is a feature of artworks and includes paintings, photography, prints, collages, lino and solar etching prints, paper tole, jewellery, pottery, sculptures, wood and metal work, handmade felt items, hand knitted scarves and hats, cards, bookmarks and much more!

Whether you are looking for a unique piece of artwork from Kangaroo Island or a small memento of your visit you will find plenty to choose from at Artworks. A special photo opportunity is the giant limestone octopus at the entrance!




Bessell Drive
Baudin Beach, SA, 5222

Located 8.3K from American River

Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail


Take the road less travelled and discover food and wine at nature's pure heart on the Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail.

Take a trail to surprising places on wild and welcoming Kangaroo Island where you can taste the unexpected and wondrous in food and wine.

The Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail introduces you to producers and products at their source. It invites you to enjoy the rich fruits of Kangaroo Island producers' labours in your own time in a natural unspoilt environment.

Farm gate and cellar door locations are listed separately and alphabetically. Each has its own specialities and personality. Refer to the guide for individual opening times.

The three listed suggested itineraries cover three areas, each about a day's drive (but you're welcome to take two). The Dudley Peninsula, Central and South Coast, and Kingscote and surrounds trails are a suggested guide to a variety of sensations and connections with locals. Choose your own, guided by the listed farm gate and cellar door venues, and mix in a splash of art, scenery and natural delights.

Copies of the guide can be downloaded from the website.




Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre,
Howard Street
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 14.7K from American River

Investigator Trail, The


Prospect Hill is one of the most stopped by spots on Kangaroo Island. The road from the ferry terminal at Penneshaw goes right by and so just about every visitor to the island passes it. Explorer Matthew Flinders rowed to the end of Pelican Lagoon, a few hundred metres away, in 1802 and then tramped up the hill. The Investigator Trail more or less follows his steps.

Park at the small parking area by the road at Pelican Lagoon and walk the trail to Prospect Hill. The lookout there offers glorious views across the narrowest part of the island. Signs explain the flora, fauna, geology and history of the area. The walk back to your car takes only a few minutes.




Hog Bay Road,
Prospect Hill
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 14.8K from American River

Drift Away Massage


Relax the mind, renew the body, revive the soul.

When was the last time you relaxed and gave some of your time to yourself?

Whether you're on holidays or simply need to unwind... Massage is the systematic and scientific manipulation of soft body tissue. It has been used for thousands of years for relaxation and to restore and promote the good health of mind, body and soul.

So isn't it about time you Drift Away?

Talk to Kelly Smith, Qualified Massage Therapist.

Bookings essential.




Howard Drive
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.1K from American River

Taste of Kangaroo Island Outlet


For your convenience, the Visitor Information Centre at Penneshaw is now offering a Taste of Kangaroo Island Outlet - a one-stop shop for locally produced food, skincare, homewares and gifts.

Whether you just want something delicious to snack on as you tour around the island, some * local supplies to make your own lunch or dinner or a souvenir gift to take home for yourself or a loved one, we've got it all at one convenient location.

We stock everything from fresh frozen lobster, prawns, whiting, abilini (baby abalone), oysters, honey, condiments, olives, figs and sheep dairy cheese to homewares, skincare, jewellery, postcards, books and more.

Make the Taste of Kangaroo Island Outlet your first stop on arrival to the island and your last stop before heading home.




Howard Drive
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.1K from American River

Penneshaw Maritime And Folk Museum


The Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum is a National Trust Museum situated in Penneshaw on the Dudley Peninsula at the eastern end of Kangaroo Island. It has displays, information and artefacts on the maritime and folk history of the Dudley Peninsula.

The Museum was started in 1968 by a group of dedicated local people led by Keith and Margot McKenzie. At that time many people came forward to donate personal historical items from the Dudley Peninsula.

The Museum was initially a sub branch of the Kingscote Museum and the Kangaroo Island Branch of the National Trust. In the 1980s the Dudley area became a National Trust branch in its own right.

Open from September to May inclusive or by appointment. First Sunday of the month open 12pm to 5pm.




52 Howard Drive
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.1K from American River

Penneshaw Penguin Centre


Take a nocturnal tour with an experienced guide, and learn about the fascinating life cycle of the Little Penguin. Group sizes are limited, so booking is advisable. You can book via Tourism Kangaroo Island, telephone 08 8553 1255.

Penguin numbers in South Australia and Kangaroo Island have suffered a serious decline in recent years. The colony at Penneshaw is much smaller than it used to be, but it is still possible to have intimate views of these beautiful birds. Because the numbers are small, on some nights it can be difficult to see them well, and patience may be needed.

The Penneshaw Penguin Centre is located within walking distance of Penneshaw accommodation and SeaLink Ferry Service.

Tour times vary according to season, current times are on the website.

The centre closes during February, as all the penguins are at sea at this time.




Corner Middle Terrace and Bay Terrace
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.7K from American River

American River: Events

Kangaroo Island Art Feast 2016


Kangaroo Island Art Feast is an incorporated, not-for-profit community organisation founded by the late Peter Walker in 2003. It was his inspired vision to create a venue-based festival to celebrate the art and gourmet produce of Kangaroo Island. The annual event now boasts a range of venues right around the Island, from its most easterly point at Cape Willoughby down to the more remote western end.

Art Feast celebrates the work of almost 150 of the island's artists, including painters, photographers, digital, print, textile and installation artists, sculptors, musicians and writers, as well as the best of the island's chefs, wine makers, distillers of fine spirits and fermenters of cider. All of this wonderful creative activity contributes to a vibrant festival during springtime on the island.

See website for more information.



Event Dates
2016
      2nd Oct
      3rd Oct


Various locations
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.5K from American River

American River: Travel Tips

Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre


Kangaroo Island's only Accredited Visitor Information Centre (VIC) offers a one-stop shop for transport, accommodation and attraction bookings prior to arrival and once on-island.

Included at the VIC is a well-stocked souvenir shop including local Kangaroo Island produce and product.

The Kangaroo Island Visitor Information Centre is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10am to 4pm (closed Christmas Day).

Contact us today to start planning your Kangaroo Island visit.

... just across the water, but a world away!




Howard Drive
Penneshaw, SA, 5222

Located 15.1K from American River

American River Map

American River Map - Legend
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