Kangaroo Island (or KI to the locals) is 22 kilometres off the coast of South Australia. It is a remote, rugged location best known for its wildlife, great beaches and spectacular coastline. Exploring the unspoilt bush and coastal wilderness is one of the most popular things to do on Kangaroo Island. More recently, the island’s food and wine scene has also gained popularity. Here is all the information you need for your Kangaroo Island Holiday.

Featured Image One Kangarooo Island © Kane Overall
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Kangaroo Island Holiday
Penneshaw © Angus Chan

How do you get to Kangaroo Island?

The access point for the island, Cape Jervis, is 2 hours south of Adelaide. From there, you negotiate the wonderfully named stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage. At various times people have tried to swim and kayak across Backstairs Passage only to be undone by its treacherous swells and currents. For most Kangaroo Island holiday makers, the SeaLink ferry is the way to go. There are multiple services a day and extra services at peak times. In terrible weather the ferry can be cancelled.

If you’re travelling light, there is also a regular air service to the island. Both Qantas and Rex fly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. Ticket prices range from $100 – $200 one way with flights landing at Kingscote. If you’re going to KI for a bit of sightseeing a vehicle is a must. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island behind Tasmania and Melville Island. Car hire on Kangaroo Island is available from both the airport and ferry terminal.

Kangaroo Island Sealink Ferry

Kangaroo Island Ferry

Mention to a South Australian you’re going to Kangaroo Island for a holiday and one of the first things they’ll do is talk about the cost of getting there. You’ll likely hear the claim that for the distance covered, it is one of the dearest ferry rides in the world. It could explain the attempts to kayak and swim there. Sure, during peak season with a van, car and passengers it’s not a cheap exercise. But, if going to KI is a one-off adventure for you, it is money well spent.

On a good day the ferry ride is a relaxing 50 minute journey, barely long enough for a beverage and muffin. But watch out, the water between KI and Cape Jervis can get interesting. For one of our trips to the island, it was a breezy day with a few white caps and boy did we rock and roll! Standing up unsupported was a challenge. If you’re susceptible to a little motion sickness perhaps take a ginger tablet before you depart.

The ferry is not drive on-drive off. If you have a car, you drive on and do a U-turn on the boat. Motor homes and cars towing reverse on and go on last. When it’s busy they pack the vehicles on very tightly. If, like us, you can suffer from a bit of performance anxiety when reversing with an audience, don’t panic. The crew will offer, without obvious judgement, to reverse your rig on for you. Did my pride take a slight dent? Maybe. But the pain of denting someone else’s van on my fourth attempt to get on board was worth a little dose of humility. The Sealink Ferry docks at Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island’s northeast coast.

Kangaroo Island FAQ’s

There is no bad time to go to Kangaroo Island. The best time to go depends on what you want to do. Summer is a great time to enjoy the beaches. In the cooler months, KI is greener, you might spot whales and it is great weather for walking. Spring is the best time to see wildflowers and baby wildlife.

You can bring your pet to Kangaroo Island, but it does limit your accommodation options. Pets are permitted at council campgrounds and at Kingscote and Penneshaw Caravan Parks. Pets are not permitted in National Parks, Western KI Caravan Park and many holiday homes.

You will need a car to for travelling around Kangaroo Island. Public Transport is not an option. Many of the island’s best attractions are 1-2 hours from the ferry terminal. Most attractions are accessible by 2WD.

In 2 days, you can see Kangaroo Island’s best wildlife, beach and food attractions. Kangaroo Island is big so if you want to combine relaxing and sightseeing, you could spend 4 days to a week exploring the island.

Kangaroo Island is best known for its wildlife. Kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, koalas, birdlife, and marine life are all abundant and easy to see. There are beautiful beaches, rugged coastline and a great artisan food scene.

How much it costs to get to Kangaroo Island depends what you bring with you on the ferry. There are different rates for passengers, cars and caravans and camper trailers. For the most up to date prices check the SeaLink website.
Kangaroo Island Holiday Attractions

Kangaroo Island Attractions

When you are planning a Kangaroo Island holiday it is helpful to know the lay of the land. It is a deceptively big place so you might want to base yourself near the things you like to do. Broadly speaking, many of the island’s attractions can be grouped by region. For the perfect Kangaroo Island holiday, you could base yourself for some time on the island’s east/north coast and some time on the south/west side. Here is a guide to which attractions are located close to one another. Roughly, most attractions in each group are no more than 60 minutes apart, many are much closer than that.

Wilderness Itinerary

A lot of the best wildlife and wilderness attractions are on the southwest of the island:

  • Flinders Chase National Park
  • Cape du Couedic Lighthouse
  • Seal Bay
  • Admirals Arch
  • Remarkable Rocks
  • Raptor Domain
  • Little Sahara
  • Vivonne Bay
  • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Beaches Itinerary

If you want to relax on a beautiful beach, river or lagoon, think of a base on the north coast. Attractions here include:

  • Emu Bay
  • Stokes Bay
  • Snelling Beach
  • Western River
  • American River
  • Nepean Bay
  • Browns Beach
  • Antechamber Bay

Foodie Itinerary

Much of Kangaroo Islands food and wine fun is on the eastern half of the island. Attractions Include:

  • Kangaroo Island Brewery
  • Dudley Wines
  • Bay of Shoals Wines
  • Islander Estate Vineyards
  • Emu Bay Lavender Farm
  • Kangaroo Island Spirits
  • Clifford’s Honey Farm
  • The Oyster Farm Shop
  • Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery

Kangaroo Island Guided Tours

If your idea of a holiday includes not having to worry about driving (or reversing onto a crowded ferry), there are one and two day guided tours to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. Not only can you relax and leave the driving to a professional, but you will also see the best attractions on Kangaroo Island which include:

FLINDERS CHASE FULL DAY TOUR 

See impressive landmarks like Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks. Spot Kangaroos, wallabies and Koalas at Hanson Bay. See fur seals in their natural habitat. Snorkel in the rock pools of beautiful Vivonne Bay.

Kangaroo Island Holiday Guide
Vivonne Bay © South Australian Tourism Commission

Kangaroo Island Bays and Beaches

Kangaroo Island has some great beaches. We list our favourites below, but first, a couple of general points. As with any beach, look out for currents, rips and dangerous surf. Conditions can get interesting on the more exposed south and west coasts of the island. For family friendly beaches, the north coast is the way to go.

The other thing to watch is the water temperature. At best it’s refreshing. At worse, you’ll get a shock if you’re used to warmer water off the east and west coasts of Australia. The shallows are fine, but you don’t need to venture out too far before it gets noticeably cooler.

Here are a few spots we checked out.

Kangaroo Island Beaches

Stokes Bay

It’s about an hour from Kingscote. Don’t get put off when you arrive at the carpark and see a rock filled bay in front of you. Follow the signs through a maze of rocks and you’ll get to the beach. It’s a short, easy walk, although I wouldn’t bother trying to get a kayak through. When you emerge from the rocks, you’ll see a lovely beach and a large natural rock pool. The Rockpool Café near the carpark is a great spot for lunch.

Kangaroo Island Beaches

Snelling Beach

On the north coast, about 20 minutes west of Stokes Bay. You drive onto the beach here. There were 2 and 4WD cars on the beach the day we were there but of course, check the conditions when you visit. You can swim, fish, surf and kayak here. For a great lookout, drive past the entrance to the beach and head up the hill – the view is spectacular!

Kangaroo Island Beaches

Emu Bay

Emu Bay is 16 minutes east of Kingscote. This is a great family beach. Check out the pelicans by the jetty, they’re enormous! You can drive onto the beach. It’s a large bay so you should have no problems finding your own piece of pristine coastline. This is a beautiful spot and a popular location for holiday makers. We love it here. Check out our full Emu Bay visitor guide.

Kangaroo Island Beaches

Antechamber Bay

Antechamber Bay is a lovely beach on the east coast of Kangaroo Island 20 minutes from Penneshaw. The 4km long beach fringes Lashmar Conservation Park where you’ll find a couple of campgrounds. Antechamber Bay has fine, clean sand and turquoise water. It is a great spot to spend a day relaxing. There is lots of bird and marine life around, it is an idyllic spot.

Kangaroo Island Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay is on the south side of KI and it’s beautiful. There’s a long, white sandy beach with turquoise water. It’s a great spot for beachcombing, fishing and surfing.
Even if you don’t feel like getting into the water, Vivonne Bay is worth a visit. Point Ellen, at the western end of the bay, has spectacular views. It’s a great place to watch waves crash onto the rocky coastline. If it’s warm, you’ll see plenty of goannas along the path to the lookout. Keep an eye on the water, dolphins and sea lions can be spotted here too.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Hanson Bay

Located on the south coast, Hanson Bay is near the entrance to Flinders Chase National Park. It’s smaller than the other bays and you can only drive onto the beach to launch a boat. The view as you make the short walk from the carpark is stunning.  The white sand, turquoise water and horseshoe -shaped bay is picture perfect. A reef outside the bay provides some protection from the surf. You can snorkel along the rocks closest to the carpark when conditions are calm. It’s a beautiful spot to end the day as the hue of the sky and water soften with the setting sun.

Read More :  Emu Bay Visitor Guide

Kangaroo Island Dolphin Swim

Swim with Dolphins Kangaroo Island

Immerse yourself in the marine wildlife along the beautiful north coast of Kangaroo Island on this guided tour. See seals, sea eagles and ospreys, view ancient fossil beds and experience the magic of swimming with wild bottlenose dolphins in the protected waters.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife

Kangaroo Island Wildlife

We can’t say enough about Kangaroo Island as a destination for wildlife enthusiasts. From birds and animals to marine life, on Kangaroo Island you are never far from a wildlife encounter. Look out for kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, platypuses (if you’re lucky), and goannas. The birdlife is great too. There’s everything from superb blue wrens to wedge tailed eagles and the islands much loved glossy black cockatoos. The Little Penguin Wildlife Tour in Penneshaw is great fun too. In the water you’ll see, dolphins, seals, whales in winter and, of course, Kangaroo Island’s famous sea lions.

Kangaroo Island kangaroos are especially cute, they are smaller and have thicker fur than mainland kangaroos. Tammar wallabies are a common sight across the island – but they are very good at hiding so keep an eye out for them at dusk in the tall grass. The heath goanna, also known as Rosenberg’s Monitor, is a common site on rocks and roadsides. You can’t miss them, they up to one metre long! If you find yourself driving at night, take care – there will be a lot of wildlife along the roads.

There are so many great wildlife experiences in KI they get a post of their own. Check out our full guide to Kangaroo Island’s wildlife here. Read what you can see and where to see it.

Below is a few of our favourite Kangaroo Island wildlife hotspots.

Kangaroo Island Seal Bay

Seal Bay

One of Kangaroo Island’s top attractions, Seal Bay is home to hundreds of endangered Australian sea lions. You can get onto the beach with them or see them from a boardwalk. Read our full guide on the Kangaroo Island sea lion experience here.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Get up close and hand feed some of Australia’s most loved animals. This little park in the middle of KI has a great mix of native and exotic animals. Feed kangaroos and koalas and the fairy penguin keeper talk is a delight. Also don’t miss their adorable Serval cats.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Flinders Chase National Park

Although affected by fire in 2020, the national park is recovering. It is home to kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and echidnas. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk and drive around the park. A marine highlight is the fur seals you can see as you make your way along the boardwalk to Admirals Arch.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife

Raptor Domain

This is a rare chance to see some of Australia’s birds of prey up close. The free flight show is spectacular, and you won’t want to miss the chance to have a wedge tail eagle perch on your arm. If you’re not already, you’re guaranteed to be a bird watcher by the time you leave.

Kangaroo Island Emu Bay Lavender Farm
Emu Bay Lavender Farm

Food, Wine, Distilleries and Breweries

In recent years, Kangaroo Island has become a lot more than a wildlife watchers paradise. Now it also has a lot to offer foodies from wineries, breweries and distilleries to cute cafes, farm gates and unique restaurants. Much of the food and wine offerings are on the eastern half of the Island. Kingscote, Penneshaw, Emu Bay and American River are all good bases for a foodie adventure.

Kangaroo Island Food and Wine
Bay of Shoals Wines © Megan Coles
Kangaroo Island Holiday
Gastronomo The Enchanted Fig Tree © South Australia Tourism Commission

Foodie Delights

Kangaroo Island is famous for its honey produced by the world’s only pure strain of Ligurian bees. Kingscote Honey and Clifford’s Honey Farm are essential stops for anyone who loves honey products. In a similar vein, The Emu Bay Lavender Farm has an amazing range of products. From teas and honey to body lotions, if you like Lavender, you’ll love it here. The café does great lunches and snacks, their Lavender scones are a must-try. Stop by American River for sea food. The Oyster Farm Shop not only has fresh oysters, get local abalone, marron, King George whiting and calamari too.

For more casual dining and food options, the Vivonne Bay General Store has the best whiting burgers on the island. Expect to join a queue at lunchtime in peak season. The Rockpool Café in Stokes Bay has nice holiday beach food. For a culinary experience at the other end of the spectrum, check out Gastronomo at the Enchanted Fig Tree near Snelling Beach. Described as wilderness dining, you get served ‘inside’ a giant fig tree – it is a unique setting. The set menu is available for lunch and dinners between December and April.

Kangaroo Island Holiday
Kangaroo Island Spirits

Brews, Wines & Spirits

It is not all about the food on Kangaroo Island. If you like wine, Dudley Wines, Bay of Shoals Winery and False Cape Wines are lovely spots. The views at all three are awesome. Perhaps Dudley Wines is just our favourite, sitting on the veranda overlooking the water is hard to beat. Gin drinkers will want to stop at Kangaroo Island Spirits in Cygnet River. The staff really know their gin and are super friendly. The team at Kangaroo Island Brewery are good fun too. A ploughman’s platter is the perfect accompaniment to a flight of beers showcasing their wonderful range of ales.

Kangaroo Island Mystery Picnic
Dudley Wines © South Australian Tourism Commission

Mystery Picnic Weekend

If you want to have a bit of fun that combines food, travel and adventure this is a great idea. Once you’re on Kangaroo Island, you solve a series of puzzles that lead you to different food shops that supply goodies for your picnic basket. Once you have solved all the clues and filled your basket, you go to a beautiful spot to enjoy your food. The weekend includes a night’s accommodation – which is also in a mystery location. It’s the perfect way to look around Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Gourmet Food & Wine Tour

Kangaroo Island has plenty to offer everyone. On this full day tour, visit one of the island’s vineyards, honey farm, Spirits Distillery, Eucalyptus Distillery and The Lavender Farm. Enjoy wine tasting, gin tastings, lavender scones and gourmet lunch.

Kangaroo Island Holiday
Cape Borda Lighthouse & Cottages

Kangaroo Island Lighthouses

There’s something about lighthouses. They usually have great views of the coastline. Their maritime and social history is fascinating. And for many people, the mystique surrounding the lighthouse keeper’s solitary and isolated life is appealing. There are three lighthouses on Kangaroo Island. Cape Willoughby Lighthouse on the east coast. Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic lighthouses are on the west coast. Lighthouse accommodation is available at all three sites along with a range of guided and self-guided tours.

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

Located 30 minutes from Penneshaw. There is a small visitor centre, guided tours and self-guided walks.

Cape du Couedic Lighthouse

Located 2 hours from Penneshaw on the southwest tip of the Island in Flinders Chase National Park. This is also the site of Admirals Arch and the local fur seal colony.

Cape Borda Light House

Just under two hours from Penneshaw, this is the most remote lightstation on Kangaroo Island. The last part of the drive in can be rough so check conditions if you are in a 2WD. There is a self-guided walk of the site and great coastal views.

For more information about what you can do at each of the lighthouses, what else you can do in the area and lighthouse accommodation read our full guide to Kangaroo Island’s lighthouses.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Kangaroo Island Sculpture, Arts and Crafts

With so many beautiful landscapes and so much wildlife, it is little wonder that Kangaroo Island has inspired a great local art scene and galleries. Fine Art Kangaroo Island and Kangaroo Island Gallery are within a short walk of each other in Kingscote. Late artist Neil Sheppard has a gallery near Kingscote – Shep’s Studio – where you can see his vibrant work, just give the gallery a call to have a look around. Closer to Penneshaw, Artworks Gallery has a collection of work by local artists.

For something a little different drop into the Australian Red Gum Gallery. Touring the Gallery and meeting wood turner Jonny Gloyne is a fun experience, and his work is beautiful. The gallery is on the Playford Highway, 15 minutes west of Parndana. You also can’t miss the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail which is within walking distance of the ferry terminal in Penneshaw. The 1.5km trail starts on Frenchmans Terrace and runs up the ravine. It is a nice walk with good views and striking sculptures around every turn. Keep an eye out for Tammar wallabies at dusk!

Kangaroo Island Holiday
Penneshaw Maritime & Folk Museum

Historic Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island has a rich European history. It was first officially settled in 1836, the same year as Adelaide. However, explorers Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin set foot on the island around 1802. Between then and settlement, whalers, sealers and even salt miners set up camp on the Island for 30 years before it was officially colonised. There are several opportunities around Kangaroo Island to appreciate its history.

Museums

In Penneshaw you can also visit the Penneshaw Maritime & Folk Museum based in the Hog Bay School building. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday 3-5 or by appointment. Inside the lovely old building are three themed rooms brought to life with photographs, displays and artefacts. One room is devoted to the school’s history, another to whaling, sealing and maritime history, and the third focuses on island life. There is another museum in Parndana. The Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum looks at the history of the town since soldiers returning from World War 2 took up farming in the area.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

KANGAROO ISLAND Historic Walks

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Matthew Flinders, you can take 500 of them to the top of Prospect Hill. This is the highest point on KI and where Flinders climbed to survey the island. It’s quite a climb but there are great views at the top, especially at sunrise, and some interpretive signage to read while you catch your breath.

The Kingscote Historical Walk starts near the jetty and takes you to 25 sites during a 45 minute walk. Also known as the Walk Back in Time Trail, it takes in a couple of blocks extending back from the foreshore. In Penneshaw there is the 3km, 2 hour Fireball Bates Trail. The well-signed trail goes to 22 cottages and buildings that paint a picture of the early businesses and characters of Penneshaw. Also in Penneshaw is the In the Footsteps of the Explorers walk. It has 13 sites highlighting the homes of some of the town’s early settlers.

There are also walks at each of Kangaroo Island’s lightstations that give you information on the maritime and social history of each site. At Cape Willoughby walk the 1.9km Cape Willoughby Heritage Hike. The Cape du Couedic Hike is a 1.9km circuit that can be accessed from the lower and upper car parks there. At Cape Borda there is the 1km Cliff Top Hike.

Wiers Cove Ruins

Ruins

Some interesting history also exists around Kangaroo Island’s lighthouses. Check out the Wiers Cove Ruins near Cape du Couedic and Harveys Return and the Lighthouse Keeper Cemetery near Cape Borda. There is signage at these sites describing the challenges faced by the lighthouse keepers. In American River you can see the ruins of the fish cannery built in the 1890s. It is a 4km, 90 minute return walk to the old building. Keep an eye and ear out for the rich birdlife along the trail.

Kangaroo Island National Park
Flinders Chase National Park

National Parks and Conservation Parks

National Parks, Conservation Parks and Wilderness Protection Areas cover one third of Kangaroo Island. The best-known park on Kangaroo Island is Flinders Chase National Park. It has many of the island’s most popular attractions and is bursting with wildlife. Below we describe some of the best things to do in both Flinders Chase National Park and some of the Conservation Parks around the Island.

Things to do in Flinders Chase National Park

You will need a National Park pass to visit Flinders Chase. These can be purchased online through the National Parks SA website. There is no food or drink available in the park so bring along what you will need, and pets are not permitted in the park. The park is at the opposite of the island to where the Kangaroo Island ferry arrives. It takes 90 minutes to drive from Penneshaw to Flinders Chase National Park.

Kangaroo Island Admirals Arch

Admirals Arch

At the end of a boardwalk with spectacular coastal views is Admirals Arch, a gaping monument to the power of erosion. The arch is an eroded window in the cliff face that frames an amazing view across the water. Fossilised tree roots hang from the roof like little stalactites and seals lounge on the smooth rock floor. It’s stunning and a must if you’re a sunset photo hound.

Kangaroo Island Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

A 5km drive from Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks are one of KI’s best known attractions. The giant boulders, hollowed out by the elements, look like enormous sculptures. Lichens have turned them bright orange. Their rusted colour is a sharp contrast to the surrounding blue of the ocean and sky. A new access-friendly boardwalk takes you to the rocks from the carpark. 

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Weir’s Cove Ruins

Located near Admirals Arch, the Weir’s Cove ruins give an insight into the tough life of the lightstation operators. The most impressive thing is the view down the cliff face to a small jetty below where supplies for the lightstation used to come ashore. You can also see the ruins of the old storage building.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Cape du Couedic Lightstation

From Weir’s Cove make your way to the lighthouse. It stands tall on this rugged coastline and cuts a spectacular image. Do The Cape Du Couedic hike, a 45 minute loop walk around the lighthouse to get a feel for the history of the place. Keep an eye out for wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and goannas along the way.

Kangaroo Island Walks

Walks

One of the best ways to explore Flinders Chase is on foot. There is more information on Kangaroo Islands walks below. Some of the best walks in the park include the Cape du Couedic Hike (2km, 40 min loop), Snake Gully Hike (4.2km, 2 hours return), and the Return Road Hike (9km 3 Hours). For the ultimate Kangaroo Island walking experience, try the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail (5 days, 61km). See below for more Kangaroo Island walks.

Kangaroo Island Wallaby

Wildlife

One of the best things about Flinders Chase National Park is its wildlife. While the flora and fauna of the park was badly affected by bushfires in 2019/20, the landscape is recovering and there is plenty to see. Look out for cute Kangaroo Island kangaroos with their thick, dark fur, Tammar wallabies, echidnas, koalas, metre long heath goannas and a variety of birds. Off the coast you could spot seals, sea lions, dolphins and, in winter, whales.

Kangaroo Island Fur Seals
Admirals Arch Fur Seals

Long Nosed Fur Seals

As you do the clifftop boardwalk that leads to Admirals Arch, look down on the rocks for the long-nosed fur seals that live here. Their smell might give them away before you see them, but the harder you look, the more you’ll see. The pups can be quite active scampering around the rocks. Besides the seals, the coastal views along the boardwalk are fantastic.

Kangaroo Island Camping Holiday
North West Coast © South Australian Tourism Commission

Camping

There are two campgrounds in Flinders Chase National Park. West Bay Campground is on the west coast and Harveys Return campground is on the north coast near Cape Borda. You must book sites in advance through the Parks SA website. For caravan and camping options on Kangaroo Island read our caravan and camping guide.

Kangaroo Island Conservation Parks

Best Conservation Parks

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park

60 minutes from Penneshaw, Cape Gantheaume is home to both Murray Lagoon and D’Estrees Bay. There are three walks you can do around the lagoon where you can see lots of birdlife. The beaches at D’Estrees Bay are beautiful. There is a self-guided history drive on your way to D’Estrees Bay. There are campgrounds at both sites.

Lashmar Conservation Park

20 minutes from Penneshaw. Antechamber Bay is a stunning spot with one of the best beaches on Kangaroo Island. The Chapman River is right there too which is a great spot for a paddle. The park has two recently upgraded campgrounds and lots of wildlife.

Seal Bay Conservation Park

60 minutes from Penneshaw. No trip to Kangaroo Island is complete without a trip to Seal Bay. It is home to hundreds of Australian sea lions. Visiting here is one of our favourite activities on the island, the sea lions are great fun to watch. Read more about Seal Bay here.

Kangaroo Island Walks

Kangaroo Island Walks

Walking around Kangaroo Island is one of the best ways to take in the landscape and spot wildlife. From a short 20 minute stroll to a multi-day hike, there is a walk on Kangaroo Island for you. Here are some of our favourites. It’s not a full list of walks on Kangaroo Island, but they are some of the best Kangaroo Island walks for discovering why KI is such an amazing place.

Kangaroo Island Walks

Kingscote Scenic Trail

Location: Kingscote
Length/Time: 11km / 3hrs return
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Start: Aurora Ozone Hotel
Description: Wind your way past Kingscote Beach, Kingscote Tidal pool and the yacht club to the mouth of the Cygnet River.

Kangaroo Island Hike

Snake Lagoon Hike

Location: Flinders Chase NP
Length/Time: 4.2km / 2 hrs return
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Snake Lagoon Campground
Description: A beautiful hike that follows the Rocky River to the coast. Watch out for wildlife, especially goannas on the rocks along the river.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Timber Creek Walk

Location: Cape Gantheaume CP
Length/Time: 1.5km / 30 min return
Difficulty: Easy
Start: Murray Lagoon
Description: Great atmosphere as you walk through the Tea Trees. Try the Bald Hill Walk (1.5km/1 hour) or Curly Creek Hike (11km/4hours) to see more of the wetlands.

Return Road Hike

Location: Cape Borda
Length/Time: 9km / 3hrs return
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Cape Borda Lighthouse
Description: Follow the path of the lighthouse keeper to the supply point at Harveys Return. Nice walk through the bush with options for coastal views along the way.

Beyeria Walk

Location: Beyeria Conservation Park
Length/Time: 1.1km / 30 min return
Difficulty: Easy
Start: Wilsons Road Entry
Description: Short but beautiful walk through through mallee and turpentine bush scrub. Lots of interpretive signage about the flora and birds to spot.

Ravine Hike

Location: Ravine des Casoars WA
Length/Time: 7km / 3 hrs return
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Near Cape Borda Lighthouse
Description: A great walk along the ravine down to the coast. Plenty of wildlife. Look out for echidnas, wallabies, goannas, koalas and a variety of birds.

Fish Cannery Walk

Location: American River
Length/Time: 3km / 1.5 hrs return
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Cnr Scenic & Lierich Drive
Description: Lovely bush walk with lots of birdlife. The undulating track turns around at the old fish cannery. Also try the 3.6 km Independence Trail along the lagoon.

Cape Gantheaume Coastal Trek

Location: Cape Gantheaume CP
Length/Time: 33 km/2 days oneway
Difficulty: Experienced Walkers
Start: Sewer Carpark DÉstree Bay
Description: Beaches and rugged coastal scenery are the hallmark of this trail. Hikers must consult with rangers before commencing the walk.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Location: Flinders Chase NP
Length/Time: 61km/5 day one-way
Difficulty: Experienced Walkers
Start: Flinders Chase NP
Description: Covering the wild and rugged southwest corner of KI, the trail is currently a series of guided day hikes while the landscape recovers from the 2020 fires.

HYDRATION BACKPACK FOR HIKING

Perfect for walking in rugged or slippery terrain when you need your hands free & have to keep yourself hydrated. The Camelbak Sabre is an extremely tough and versatile pack that lets you can carry two litres of water when you’re on the go. The closed cell insulation keeps water cool for hours and has extra room for your keys, phone and cards.

Kangaroo Island Holiday Guide
Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action © South Australian Tourism Commission

Adventure Activities

There are plenty of things to do on Kangaroo Island if you want to get active. Kayaking, quad bikes, snorkelling and even sand boarding is all available. Here are some of the best adventure activities on Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island Little Sahara

Little Sahara Adventure

Not far from Vivonne Bay, Little Sahara is a spectacular inland dune system. If you’re into sand boarding, amazing scenery, or just want to see the view from a 50m tall sand dune check it out. The sand is the weathered remains of marine life left high and dry when sea levels retreated thousands of years ago. Prevailing winds and vegetation created and stabilised the dunes before a fire destroyed the vegetation exposing the sandy slopes. Sand boarding, fat tyre bike hire and dune buggy tours are all available from the office there.

Kangaroo Island Kayaking

KI Outdoor Action

For a different view of Kangaroo Island get together with the team from Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action. Located near Vivonne Bay, they offer some fun tour options. The guided quad bike tours take you to otherwise inaccessible parts of the Island’s south coast. You’ll see great scenery and wildlife and get great views over the Southern Ocean.
You can also hire kayaks and paddle along the calm waters of the Harriet River. There is plenty of birdlife and the still black water in the river is makes for easy and spectacular kayaking.

Kangaroo Island Snorkel

Snorkelling

There is plenty of great snorkelling around Kangaroo Island. The protected bays on the north coast offer the easiest snorkelling opportunities. Emu Bay and Stokes Bay and beautiful Western River Cove all have reefs near the beach. If the conditions are calm, around Vivonne Bay jetty and Hanson Bay you might see some rays. For a real adventure, make the tough hike down Harveys Return to the beach and snorkel along the headlands to spot giant blue gropers. It’s hard work but very rewarding – be sure to pick a calm day!

Dolphin Cruises

This is one of the best experiences you can have on Kangaroo Island. Two operators on the north coast take you to the population of bottlenose dolphins that live in the area. Sightings are consistent and you will often see pods of dolphins several dozen strong. The best part is you also have the option to swim with them. We went on the tour from Emu Bay. You don’t get dragged behind the boat on a rope, you can actually get in and swim with the dolphins as they relax in the crystal-clear water. Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures Operate out of Emu Bay and Kangaroo Ocean Safari leave from Penneshaw.

Kangaroo Island Fishing

Fishing Charters

Kangaroo Island is a great spot to go on a fishing charter. Choose from Emu Bay Fishing Charters or Kangaroo Island Fishing Adventures who operate out of Western River on the north coast of the island. Kangaroo Island is best known for its King George Whiting, but tour operators can hook you up with a wide variety of species depending on the season.

One Kangarooo Island © South Australian Tourism Commission

KANGAROOO ISLAND QUAD BIKE ADVENTURE

Zip along dirt tracks, splash through muddy trails and venture off-road on this exhilarating quad bike tour of Kangaroo Island. Choose to visit pristine beaches and spectacular viewpoints; challenge yourself on sand and gravel tracks; or soak up the scenery on a sunset tour.  Best of all,  no experience necessary.

Kangaroo Island Accommodation
Waves and Wildlife Cottages © Isaac Forman

Kangaroo Island Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation on Kangaroo Island from caravan parks to family holiday homes and luxury eco-retreats. Check out these accommodation options from all around Kangaroo Island. If you like the fun, relaxed vibe at caravan parks read our full guide to Kangaroo Island Caravan Parks.

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Kangaroo Island Holiday
Kangaroo Island Holiday
Kangaroo Island Holiday
Kangaroo Island Holiday

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