Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island has reopened to commercial tour operators with public access expected in the coming weeks.
Works to rebuild some of KI's most iconic sites will be fast-tracked including the boardwalk to Remarkable Rocks, the KI Wilderness Trail and essential infrastructure in Flinders Chase National Park which were all destroyed by the bushfires.
Premier Steven Marshall and deputy premier Vickie Chapman, with KI mayor Michael Pengilly in tow, visited Remarkable Rocks on Friday to make the announcement.
Mr Marshall said the KI community would have a significant say on what the rebuild looked like, with an extensive engagement process launched this week.
The "Reimagining Kangaroo Island" process would help to improve the visitor experience and grow nature-based tourism on the Island, he said.
Up to $52 million of works have started to rebuild and rejuvenate KI's nature-based tourism economy, creating hundreds of much-needed jobs following the summer's devastating bushfires and impacts from coronavirus, he said.
Mr Marshall said the KI tourism industry contributed about $126m annually to the regional economy, and the rebuild works would create more than 400 jobs in the region.
"Nature-based tourism is a critical part of SA's economy and KI is one of our crowning jewels," he said.
"Unfortunately, the Island has been devastated by the summer's bushfires and the impacts of coronavirus and my government is committed to doing everything we can to support regional communities such as KI get back on their feet.
"Rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed by the bushfires will provide a timely boost to the local economy and help KI's nature-based tourism industry bounce back. Works will be fast tracked and will begin immediately to rebuild much-loved visitor experiences across the island.
"This includes rebuilding some of KI's most iconic sites - the boardwalk to access Remarkable Rocks, as well as the KI Wilderness Trail, which travels across Flinders Chase National Park and Kelly Hill Conservation Park.
"We want the local community to be involved throughout the rebuild which is why we are also launching our Reimagining Kangaroo Island engagement strategy today to support the recovery of the island's tourism economy and balance this with environmental recovery and protection."
KI mayor Michael Pengilly said he had been pushing the Premier to open up Flinders Chase for self-drive visits as soon as possible.
"SA is a self drive market and families want to spend time and get out themselves," he said.
"Parents want to take their kids and let them have a run-around."
The mayor said he hoped to see many South Australians visit the Island over coming weeks.
"We're encouraging visitors to come over to the Island for a visit," he said.
"You can't go to Bali, but you can come over to KI."
The first $17m of works is now under way with further funding for rebuild projects to follow the Reimagining Kangaroo Island engagement process.
Reimagining Kangaroo Island will also involve the development of a new western KI parks management plan to support best practice conservation management.
- Details: parks.sa.gov.au/reimagine-ki/