I had played netball on the mainland for 30 years but it was only when I came to Kangaroo Island that I learned to coach and umpire, and about club administration. Now I have a National C Badge in umpiring to add to my list of skills and I have the satisfaction of mentoring young umpires in a sport which has given me so much.
At any and every age there are many ways to get exercise and enjoy outdoor recreation and sport on Kangaroo Island.
This Island of fewer than 5000 people supports five (yes, five) sports clubs. Those clubs play in Australian Rules football and netball through the winter, with multiple teams and grades. Most of those clubs also field summer sports teams in cricket, basketball, softball and tennis. And they offer more than just the opportunity to play sport: add new skills to your resume by learning to coach or umpire, bring your talents to the club by mentoring younger participants and expand your social networks with like-minded people.
The Kangaroo Island Yacht Club is a lot of fun. It’s affordable and accessible, even if you’ve never sailed before. Three bowling clubs field six teams in the summer pennant plus regular competition and recreation days in lawn bowls. Teams from most sports have opportunities to travel and compete or play on the mainland.
There are social sports – such as 8-ball and darts – non-competitive sports such as gymnastics and calisthenics for children, taekwondo, two private gyms and a dance studio to help you keep fit. There is lots available for kids, too, including swimming and dancing.
Work is starting on the development of an international standard, links-style golf course resort near Pennington Bay with holiday accommodation and residential apartments – yet another attraction for our national and international visitors who also enjoy three golf courses on the Island.
But if the great outdoors is where you feel most at home, you can join a number of clubs for fun and fitness such as the Walking Club, the Bicycle Users Group, the Hunt Club or the Pony Club or Dragon Boating.
Regular swimmers enjoy the Kingscote Tidal Pool for safe and reliable ocean swimming, there are some stunning surf breaks and of course the fishing is excellent all around the Island’s extraordinary coastlines and estuaries. The more adventurous can find sand-boarding, quad-biking and trailbike riding. Or if you really want an adventure, sign up for the five-day wilderness trail trek. If you’d like to camp out but don’t want the weight of a pack on your back all day, the local caravan park provides a daily pack transfer to each stage for walkers camping on the Trail.
Visitors and locals alike consider Kangaroo Island one of nature’s playgrounds. Once you’ve lived here for a while, you might find yourself giving active life a more than sporting chance.