11 reasons to choose American River to stay on Kangaroo Island

We regularly received great feedback from guests as they enjoy seeing Kangaroo Island while quickly getting into a chill-out zone in our Sunrise on Falie apartment.

'Normal' World Travel expectations don't apply on K.I. Many feel that when touring the world, you need to be right in the main local town preferably near a central train station. Kingscote is our main town - but it certainly does not have a train station!

This principal might work well in major cities, but when you visit South Australia's famous Kangaroo Island, we have only 4,000 or so residents spread over a wide distance, therefore transport by vehicle is the usual means to quickly and easily get to see all of KI's wonderful attractions.

1. Central Island Location

Kangaroo Island is large and American River is the most central township for all places tourists visit from East to West & North to South.

[ host note : our suggested Itineraries on this website are offered to help you plan your trip based at American River ]

2. Waterway Location

A pristine waterway environment right on your doorstep for walks, fishing, boating, sailing, kayaking, bird watching, sea life spotting, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas + more. Wake up in the morning to sunrises over the ocean right into your apartment.

American River is located on the edge of both Eastern Cove Bay, the Boat Harbour / wharf area, AND the huge 100-year-old conservation decreed Pelican Lagoon. This is a huge waterway and the only one of its size and extent of protected status within South Australia. We call it the Jewel on the Island and American River sits right alongside it.

3. Township Community Spirit

a)  We Enjoy American River - people live in American River because they enjoy the pristine ocean, wildlife in sea and land, clean air, safe living, and caring community spirit rather than a place just to earn an income.

We don't have industries, traffic lights, or hustle and bustle lifestyles. Locals are proud of and look after 'our place' and each other. That is the usual way of life here.

We also look out for and help visitors enjoy their stay and experience a taste of what we enjoy every day. We think it's just the right size.

b)  Walking trails - Good quality and well signposted walking trails have been recently established along the whole extensive waterway from Ballast Head right through to the extensive Pelican Conservation Lagoon a distance of approx. 15 Km. The local community groups have established these with grants and many donations of time and monies from locals and at Federal levels.

c)   New facilities - A new set of tennis and basketball courts right on the ocean have just been built with local community involvement plus children playground and bbq picnic areas. 

d)   Boat Building - The Rebuild Independence Group (RIG) has underway the building of a large wooden sailing boat called the Independence at the wharf / Jetty area. This is an American Schooner design dating back to the year 1802 and is central to the history of how American River got its name.

e)  Sailing - A local 'yachty' group called the 'Strawbridge Pointers' has regular 'come and sail' days each fortnight. Let us know and then just bring your food along to the wharf when we go out.

f)  Dragon Boat racing -  we have a dedicated group of locals who each weekend practice their racing in the calm waters of the American River basin.

g)  Regular improvements - a new convenience store/ post office has opened for business 6 days a week. Closed Sundays.   

h)  Our Community 'Shed' - this was created over 20 years ago and is a central local 'hangout' for meals and the local oval sports plus all manner of annual events from Gala days to community fundraising nights and special events at Easter, Melbourne Cups, Christmas, New Years, etc. It is run by mostly volunteer effort and funds raised go back into the community for worthwhile projects and helping hands

i)  Caring for the wildlife - there is a dedicated group of locals who look out for and care for injured sae life, animals and birds.

4. Perfect size to holiday

American River is compact in size and has that country unrushed feel where kids can still ride their bikes down the main street, have a hit on the tennis courts or go for a walk to explore without Mum & Dad being in close attention.

Yet we have most services you could need and if more is wanted it's only a short drive to the main country town just next door (Kingscote) - although it feels another world away.

5. Food on your doorstep

a)  Seafood - We have local seafood cafés available at the wharf precinct to either purchase and cook yourself at 2 small businesses:-

The 'Deck Café' next to the Rebuild Independence Group shed serves seafood meals and drinks, coffee's and snacks, burgers, cakes plus you get to see the RIG shed and learn about boat building from an 1802 perspective as they rebuild a replica of an 1802 American Schooner that gave the Town its name. We are at the hull framing stage now.

The Oyster Shop provides a wide range of local seafood including fresh oysters from the ocean (havested less than 4km away down the river). You can try such delights as whiting, abalonie, fresh oysters, many other local fishes in season as well.

b)  Wanderers Rest Restaurant in the town is locally run by a very dedicated family to provide a good range of local foods including seafood. There are also regular special nights with themes from various countries in the world plus the traditional Australian staples.

c)  The Mercure in the township also has a very wide range of meals and service options for your lunch or dinner. They have a full a la cart menu plus regular special nights with food themes. This is a very short walk from Sunrise on Falie as well, being only approx. 10 house blocks away.

d) 'The Shed' opens on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday - plus for other special events. It's our local hangout near the boat ramp and also offers meals and drinks. Join the locals on a Friday night when this 'shed' comes alive.

e)  KI Tru Thai on Thursday nights is opened by a local Thai family offering outstanding value, tasty traditional Thai meals, music and good friendly service to make you feel at home. It's worth visiting just to see Tony's man cave which covers approx. 10 regular sized homes.

f)  American River boasts almost as many dining places than Kangaroo Island's main township of Kingscote (which has about 5 times our population).

The locals here setup firstly to live in American river but then found a demand for serving guests who also find out about our secret place.

6. Boat Building

Building wooden boats for pleasure and community pride. - Rebuild Independence Group (RIG)
a. This group won the 2015 Kangaroo Island Project of the Year Australia Day award for community project.
b. The work is well underway to build a replica 1802 American Sailing Schooner in a purpose built facility at the wharf of American River that the locals built.
c. This project has given the Town a significant boost in enthusiasm and 'can do' outlook as we gather the locals of all ages, and even worldwide support from the many USA, Britain, France and Australian wooden boat historical enthusiasts.
d. We also have assisted with other community groups projects such as the Ayliff Skiffs and are helping build a group of these timber boats that were used for many years in Scotland locks as the only means of transport.
e. Come and see our progress with the build and learn about our heritage as you enjoy a coffee or meal at the Deck café alongside the wharf and boat shed.
f. Join our mailing list for updates and maybe even become a member and help as we solve the many challenges boat building provides on Independence.org

7. Sea life

Being on a pristine waterway adjacent unspoilt bushland we have the many animals and sea life and birds within close reach. The dolphins, Seals, fish (Whiting, Salmon, Tommies, Squid) regularly buzz the wharf area. The Pelicans live all along the waterways and appear like magic when fish cleaning takes place. You don't need to book a tour to see these antics. Fish from the wharf or if you can get out on a boat to catch them you might, or buy them from the Oyster Shop to just get it fresher than you ever have in your life.
8. Bird life: The bird life is what many come for on its own. Locals species such as Black Glossy and Blue Wren's are the most popular but there are Kookaburras, Cormorants, Corellas, Magpies, Cockatoos, even the occasional Sea Hawks. Our peaceful location actually suits them. Wake to a Kookaburra or meet the wildlife on your walks from our apartment.

9.  Native Australian Animals

The wallabies, Echidnas, Kangaroos, Koalas, Goannas, frogs, skinks etc. all live amongst the locals as American River's township does not have much traffic and noise as well as the local pets are kept in at night and very well managed. We get the wallabies on our decking some nights. The town is the perfect size to still enjoy them but also have the community services and safe feel.

10.  Shopping

Kangaroo island is NOT a place to visit to find Brand Name Shops!  Bring the basics with you to avoid long drives and limited opening hours.

Kangaroo Island is more about seeing the animals, birds, sea life, vegetation, coastal views and stunning scenery.

However, so many local families across the island run unique businesses where you can purchase delicious, fresh foods (with so many bottled and packaged unique choices perfect for international travel); plus locally crafted and unique Australian gifts to take home to share with your friends and family. Gifts to be admired - rather that cheap plastic mass produced souvenirs.

Just browsing all of our unique places, whether shopping or not, is often fun!

11. Proximity to Kingscote nearby if needed

American River is the peaceful next door neighbour to Kingscote (Kangaroo Island's main township). Good roads and approx. 20 minutes drive connects the two towns.

American River helps you get away from the hustle and bustle 'townie' life but not too far to be remote. We still have the local wildlife at our doorstep and close access to the Ocean too, giving a our guests the feeling of serenity.

In our itineraries on the site SunriseOnFalie.com.au we provide suggested trips that include visiting the main township. We also cover the whole Island so a trip covering the main town and Key North Coast places is recommended and achievable in a day.

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