For everything about the KANGAROO ISLAND you are in the right place. From getting there, to places to visit, to the best accommodation this article summarises all your needs for the KANGAROO ISLAND.
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Kangaroo Island is a large island, located just off the southern coastline of South Australia, just over 100 kilometres south of Adelaide. Measuring 150 kilometres from east to west and 50 kilometres north to south, the island was settled by Europeans in the 1830s and is today home to around 5000 people allowing for many things to do on Kangaroo Island. Although some farming and agriculture is located on the island, today over one-third of Kangaroo Island is given over to national parks and nature preserves, with many of Australia’s famous animals featuring in abundance.
Kangaroo Island is great to visit any time of year, as the summers tend to be slightly cooler than the mainland, while the winters are slightly milder.
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Getting To Kangaroo Island
Access to Kangaroo Island is mostly via ferry, which runs from Penneshaw to Cape Jervis on the mainland and back again. There are four services each way per day with the Kangaroo Island Ferry, Sealink, and booking in advance is strongly recommended. Kangaroo Island Connect is another ferry company that is quicker but you cannot take your car. The crossing takes about 45 minutes with Sealink, and can sometimes get a bit rough! Also note that some car rental companies don’t allow their cars on the ferry, so be sure to check your terms and conditions in advance.
There are no public transport services on Kangaroo Island, so you’re going to require your own car (need car hire, click here). The towns are all very small and can be comfortably explored on foot, but aside from guided tours your only real option for exploring is to drive yourself.
So if you’re wondering about things to do Kangaroo Island, read on for an overview of the best Kangaroo Island activities.
Kangaroo Island Attractions
Once you’re off the Kangaroo Island ferry, it’s time to start exploring this beautiful part of Australia. There’s plenty to see, including great natural attractions, food and drink, and of course iconic animals too.
Flinders Chase National Park
Flinders Chase National Park is the second-oldest National Park in South Australia. It’s located in the far west of Kangaroo Island, and it’s a fantastic place for spotting Kangaroo Island wildlife. The National Park is home to various animal species, including echidnas, koalas, penguins, platypus, goannas, and of course kangaroos. In addition to the beautiful landscapes and fascinating animals, there’s also some interesting geological formations including Remarkable Rocks and Admiralty Arch, both of which are worth the trip. As a note: Flinders Chase National Park was heavily damaged during the 2019-2020 bushfire season, and huge swathes of land burned down. However, the Australian bush is resilient – fire is part of its natural regrowth cycle, and things are already beginning to rebound.
Seal Bay Conservation Park
Located on the southern coastline of Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay Conservation Park is home to a large colony of Australian sea lions. These wonderful creatures lie around on the beach and splash about in the water, and seeing them up close and personal is a real treat. Note that self-guided visits aren’t permitted here: you can only visit as part of a guided tour. It’s best to book online in advance, directly with the government agency.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Originally known as Parndana Wildlife Park, this wildlife park is one of Kangaroo Island’s most popular attractions. Spotting animals in the wild can sometimes be quite tricky, so guaranteed close encounters in a wildlife park can be an appealing option! There’s over 150 species of animals at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, and they also offer koala, wombat and snake holding opportunities.
Lovers of lighthouses are well served on Kangaroo Island, as there’s several beautiful lighthouses on the island. Not far from Penneshaw you’ll find Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, where you can wander around and climb to the top for a great view. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse is located at Cape du Couedic, just near Admiral’s Arch. Unfortunately you can’t go inside, but you’ll have a great view of it from the nearby fur seal viewing area. And finally, the most remote lighthouse is Cape Borda Lighthouse, on the north-western corner of the island.
Good Food & Wine
As with many areas of Australia, excellent food and wine isn’t far away! One of the best treats you can have is Kangaroo Island fresh seafood, particularly oysters, abalone, and marron. Or bring your own rods for a spot of Kangaroo Island fishing! The entire island is a bee sanctuary and Kangaroo Island honey is world renowned, so be sure to check out one of the several honey producers: Clifford’s Honey Farm and Island Beehive are two of the best. There’s a surprising number of winemakers on Kangaroo Island, with over 30 cellar doors to choose from. Highlights here include Dudley Wines, Islander Estate Vineyards, and Bay of Shoals winery. Also worth checking out are the gins and liqueurs at Kangaroo Island Spirits, which is probably the best Kangaroo Island distillery (though it’s a competitive field!).
Kangaroo Island Road Trips
There are some great options for road trips here, particularly if you’re coming from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. Once you’re off the ferry from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island, it’s time for your Kangaroo Island holiday to begin in earnest!
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3 Night Kangaroo Island Road Trip
For this road trip, we’ll spend three nights on the island. After arriving in the morning, explore the eastern coast of the island including Dudley Wines at Cuttlefish Bay, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, and Penneshaw Maritime Museum. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the beaches of the north-east coast: Island Beach, Baudin Beach, and Brown Beach. The following morning, head for Seal Bay and take a guided tour amongst the sea lions, before heading further west to Flinders Chase National Park, where some great hikes are available. Recommended routes include Admiral’s Arch or Remarkable Rocks. Finally, spend your third day relaxing with a food tour. Visit some wineries, taste the local produce, and above all: relax!
Kangaroo Island Accommodation
As a well-known tourist destination, Kangaroo Island has a great range of accommodation options.
Kangaroo Island Hotels
There’s a lot of Kangaroo Island hotels to choose from. Penneshaw accommodation is conveniently located near the ferry wharf, though it’s a bit further from the rest of the island. Solid choices here include Penneshaw Oceanview Apartments, Penneshaw Beach Stay Motel, and Kangaroo Island Seafront. Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas is one of the best Kangaroo Island luxury accommodation options, while for Kingscote accommodation it’s hard to go past Aurora Ozone Hotel or Villas on the Bay Kingscote. Kangaroo Island Seaview Motel is a popular budget-conscious choice.
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Kangaroo Island Airbnbs
For Airbnb Kangaroo Island choices, consider staying at Blue Wren at Island Beach, or Searenity Holiday Apartment in Emu Bay. If you’re in a larger family or group, Trading Places in Penneshaw is a comfortable whole-house option. Otherwise check out Wandering Souls from glamping as mentioned below as well.
Kangaroo Island Caravan Parks
There’s three caravan parks on Kangaroo Island, all of which offer cabins, powered, and unpowered sites. The pick of the bunch is Western KI Caravan Park, located in the south-west near Flinders Ranges National Park. The Kingscote Caravan Park (officially known as Kingscote Nepean Bay Tourist Park) is your option in Kingscote, along with Kangaroo Island Cabins (cabins only) while Kangaroo Island Shores is the main Penneshaw caravan park.
Kangaroo Island Camping
Kangaroo Island is home to some fantastic and remote campsites, perfect for escaping the modern world. Inside Flinders Chase National Park, check out Rocky River Campground and West Bay Campsite (4WD accessible only). Western River Cove Campground, located on the northern coastline, is also another hidden gem, as is Vivonne Bay Campground on the south coast. Finally, if you’d prefer to go glamping Kangaroo Island, Wandering Souls operates several sites around the island, including at Antechamber Bay, Stokes Bay, Discovery Lagoon, and Bay of Shoals.
Kangaroo Island Restaurants
With so much fantastic food and wine being produced on Kangaroo Island, it’s hardly surprising that there’s a lot of great venues here. Some of the best restaurants Kangaroo Island include: Sunset Food & Wine (be sure to try the Kangaroo Island lamb shoulder!), Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood and Cactus Kangaroo Island (both located in Kingscote), Glossy Black at American River, Fire and Smoke KI in Penneshaw, and brunch favourite Millie Mae’s Panty, also in Penneshaw. And of course there’s classic Kangaroo Island pubs, like the Penneshaw Hotel, Parndana Hotel and the Cape Jervis Tavern.
All up, Kangaroo Island is a great way to experience some of the best nature Australia has to offer. With fantastic landscapes, great beaches, iconic animals, and top-notch produce, Kangaroo Island is a brilliant spot for a short break, couples getaway, family holiday, or almost anything in between!