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American River

Where are the best tasting oysters in the world?

Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off the coast of Australia.

It is separated from the mainland by 17kms of water in back stairs passage.

To get to the island you need to travel by ferry (ex Cape Jervis) or by plane (ex Adelaide).

American River is located about 20 minute drive from Penneshaw, where the ferry docks, and 20 minutes drive from Kingscote, the main town on the island.

There is a range of accommodation available in American River including camping/caravan sites, self-contained holiday homes and motel accommodation.

American River History

Our pretty little town was named after a group of Americans who sailed into Pelican Lagoon in 1803-04 and built a 30 ton vessel named Independence using local pine trees.  A replica of the Independence is being built on the wharf by a group of local enthusiasts and is worth a visit.

American River has a history based around the sea with ketches trading between American River and Port Adelaide shipping salt gypsum, superphosphate and tons of mallee wood.

American River was well known for its prolific fishing in particular large catches of whiting.  Around 1890 a fish canning industry began operating halfway between American River and Ballast Head (Birth of American River 1802 and events to 1978 C A Thomas) it ran for about two years and employed approximately 40 men.  “The tinned fish was boiled in shallow, cast iron pans, with a small vent, left open for four hours, then sealed and boiled for a further four hours.”  It closed down as they didn’t have any way of keeping the excess fish.  After the cannery closed, a small group of Chinese settled in American River with a plan to salt fish.  This venture didn’t last long either.

The SA Crayfish industry was founded in American River and it was also home to the one and only railway on Kangaroo Island which carted salt from Muston!

So we think our little Oyster Farm Shop is the ideal venture to follow in the tradition of this fishing village.

Things to do in American River

  • Relax with friends and enjoy local produce and locally made beverages at our Farm Shop.

  • Take one of the many marked walking trails in American River (ask for a brochure).

  • Play a game of tennis or shoot some hoops on our courts

  • Birdwatchers paradise keep a look out for the rare Glossy Black Cockatoo.

  • Throw a line in off the jetty and see what takes your bait.

  • Drive to Pennington Bay and experience our Island’s rugged southern coastline.

  • Hire a kayak and paddle up into Pelican Lagoon.

  • Check out The Rig Shed where they are building a replica of The Independence

  • Drive to Redbanks beach and watch the colours from the sunset on the cliffs.

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