Kicking off in October with classical music experience Tunes in the Dunes, all the events will provide a huge economic boost for KI with local tourism likely to be the saving grace for a region largely reliant on interstate and international travel throughout the warmer months.
The packed season ends with the SeaLink Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival, the biggest event in the summer calendar, with racing set to take place from 17-19 February 2022.
KI Racing Club Secretary and Treasurer Greg Miller hopes the 2022 carnival will usurp the 2020 event, which itself was a record-setter for attendance following the devastation of the bushfires in December and January.
“It’s the single biggest event held on the island each year,” Miller says.
“The racing club itself injects over $300,000 into the economy with money we spend on staff and local suppliers … it injects about $1.9 million into the economy as well through people who not only come to the races, but they come and stay for up to seven days.”
The support of intrastate tourism will be of extra importance this summer, with current coronavirus travel restrictions likely to mean South Australians will make up the majority of attendees.
Kangaroo Island Tourism Association Chairman Pierre Gregor says the events will provide a much-needed plug for the recovering KI tourism industry which has lost two-thirds of its market in international and interstate travellers due to the pandemic.
“I’m hoping that South Australians will use the opportunity to hop on a ferry, come across and see what the island has to offer,” Gregor says.
“Use the opportunity to visit a destination you may not have visited previously that is on your doorstep, that is recovering from bushfires, which, in itself is quite an experience – just to see how the vegetation and the wildlife are bouncing back is quite remarkable.
“And use the opportunity of the events to actually stay an extra day or two either side of the events; the island is large, there is a lot to see and do.”
“Most events on Kangaroo Island would not be possible without the significant support that SeaLink provides not only through marketing but in particular sponsorship via in-kind travel for performers and participants, and travel discounts and packages for visitors.”
For music lovers, Tunes in the Dunes on October 23 will offer an intimate Classical Music experience with solo and ensemble performances from Elder Conservatorium musicians as visitors explore the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail.
Renowned for its local produce, KI’s finest food and drink will be showcased across several of the events all summer including unique dining experiences by wilderness dining business Gastronomo Dining, whose funding comes in part from the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery grant program – a federal government initiative to stimulate the island’s economy.
SeaLink has partnered with Gastronomo as a major sponsor to provide self-drive packages and private group transfers for both The Feast and the Enchanted Fig Tree, both operating under the Gastronomo Dining banner.
The Feast, a progressive dinner experience held in an early settler hut follows “food-lines” from the land to the sea with meals prepared over fire and coals to match the rustic setting, while the Enchanted Fig Tree, an equally unique dining experience in an equally historic setting, offers diners a feast amongst the limbs of a 120-year-old fig tree planted by early KI settlers.
With the weather warming, visitors are encouraged to book early as many events are subject to COVID restrictions.
Tickets for the SeaLink Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival, The Feast and the Enchanted Fig Tree are available via the SeaLink website.