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A firsthand look at bushfire recovery on Kangaroo Island

Just before Covid-19 broke ground Down Under, nine UK agents joined South Australia’s first fam since the bushfires, where they found plentiful green shoots, says Carlie Trotter

This is a great place for skinny dipping,” says our guide, one of three Kangaroo Island locals to advocate for the castaway lifestyle in this way in as many hours.

And scanning the gloriously deserted beach and turquoise shallows of Pennington Bay, he’s not wrong. It may only be a 30-minute flight from the state capital, but the people of Kangaroo Island all harbour that twinkle in their eye that comes with knowledge of the infinite horizon, sunset swimming spots and hidden trails.

The island’s status as a refuge for Australian wildlife and nature saw it hit the headlines when fires hit Flinders Chase national park, killing koalas and other endangered species.


But while it’s true that the speed of the damage wrought was unprecedented, the newspaper headlines far from told the whole story, and as I wriggle my toes on the sands of the east coast after spotting sea lions and blonde echidnas on the half of the 90-mile-long island untouched by the fires, it’s clear that paradise isn’t lost after all.

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