Guide to Kangaroo Island

Located just a few hours’ drive from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is a small but beautiful escape.

Kangaroo IslandCredit: South Australia Tourism

It’s increased popularity in recent years has seen it skyrocket to the top of many travellers wish list. With many activities and attractions on offer, it’s ready to welcome you!

Access to the island is by charter plane from Adelaide or ferry from Cape Jervis on the mainland. The island is almost three quarters national park. It boasts incredible rock formations, abundant native wildlife and delightful artisan food experiences. There’s plenty to do on the island to keep you busy, but don’t be afraid to simple lay back and relax, enjoying the fresh sea air.

Ferry or plane

Access to Kangaroo Island is only by ferry or plane, with most people opting to take the ferry. There are two ferry services operating two and from island. Take your choice between SeaLink and Kangaroo Island Connect. For many years SeaLink was the only way to access the island. Their ferries are older and larger and can transport cars to the island. If you’re not bringing a car from the mainland then Kangaroo Island Connect may offer a cheaper, newer trip.

If you’re not a fan of boats, flights leave Adelaide for Kangaroo Island daily. The cost is significantly higher than if you were catch the ferry. Both QANTAS and Regional Express Airlines operate within Kangaroo Islands small airport. During peak season you can also book flights between Melbourne and Kangaroo Island.

Travel on the island

Once you’re on the island it is important to note that there is no public transport or taxis, and definitely no uber! This means you will need to hire a car or bring one over with you on the ferry. When hiring a car, it is important to consider a few things. Some hire companies on the mainland do not allow their rental cars to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island. Additionally, you will need to check insurance rules for driving hire cars on the Island. There may be restrictions on driving on Kangaroo Island’s unsealed roads. There may also be rules on driving at dusk and dawn when wildlife is active.

If hiring a car while on the island, you will need to book well in advance, especially during peak periods. Cars cannot be booked on arrival to the Island. There are two hiring companies operating on the island, Hertz and Budget Rent-A-Car.

Now that’s the important getting here and getting around information covered. Here’s an insight to some of the awesome things you can see and experience on the island!

Things to see & do on Kangaroo Island

  • Flinders Chase National Park and Visitors Centre

    Flinders Chase National Park

    Flinders Chase National Park is a must see for anyone heading to Kangaroo Island. Found at the western end of the island, the park is a collection of protected areas of around 32,500 hectares. In 1972 it became the second national park established by South Australia. The park is a retreat for many native animals, many that you can see emerging from the woods around dusk and dawn.

  • Admirals Arch

    Admirals Arch

    Admirals Arch is a naturally occurring arch in the Flinders Chase National Park. The archway has formed over millions of years as waves crashed against the ocean cliff face. Follow the boardwalk to see it from all angles. Follow further to the viewing platform where you can see the mesmerising arch from above.

    You can often find fur seals playing on the rocks below the arch. Look out for young seal pups playing as their mother’s rest on the warm rocks. Large males establish territories here and come back each year to breed. Seal pups are notorious for playing in the rock pools beneath the arch.

  • Remarkable Rocks

    Remarkable Rocks

    The Remarkable Rocks are precariously perched above the sea. This collection of granite boulders seems to impossibly sit on the edge of the cliff face. Erosion from the wind, sea and rain over millions of years have resulted in their shaping. Their golden orange colour lights up at dawn and dusk but looks amazing all day. Visit at different times of the day to watch the colour changing across the rock faces. Interpretation signs in the area will teach you more about their fascinating history.

  • Pennington Bay

    Pennington Bay

    Pennington Bay is the perfect place to watch for whales and dolphins. Watch the stunning marine animals as they migrate through the area each year. Look out for whales breaching and dolphins jumping high above the waves.

    With large, rough waves, many experienced surfers will love this beach. Surrounded by bush its location is unique and provides an awesome surfing experience. Less experienced swimmers are best to stay on land and enjoy some fishing. The beach is well known as a hot spot for beach fishing by locals.

    A day at Pennington Bay is perfect for people looking for a private escape. The beach is less busy that many of the others on the island, and you may even have it to yourself in the cooler months.

  • Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

    Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

    The Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place on the island to see animals in their wild habitat. The sanctuary is home to echidna, kangaroo and koala among many other native animals.

    With over 50,000 koalas calling Kangaroo Island home the area is abundant with wildlife. Many mainland predators never made it to the island, and do not pose a threat to the koalas. Many other native animals have also found sanctuary on the island. The docile Kangaroo Island kangaroo and rare platypus are great examples.

    Join a guided walk through the sanctuary, where you’ll see as many as 40 koalas! Join at dusk to meet some of Australia’s native nocturnal animals. Head to ‘supervised only’ areas with guides to learn about the special animals that call the island home.

  • Seal Bay

    Seal Bay

    Continue your wildlife adventure with a trip to Seal Bay. Found along the south coast of the island, Seal Bay is home to the Seal Bay Conservation Park. The seaside park is the perfect place to see the largest colony of Australian fur seals. Watch them as they sunbathe, swim and play on the ocean shores. Get up close by heading down to the beach. Follow the boardwalk through stunning bush land and along the coastline to get to the beach.

    While you’re here you must go to the visitor centre. Here you will learn about the history of sealing on the island. The centre also has sheltered areas where you can enjoy a picnic with your friends.

  • Little Sahara

    Little Sahara

    Little Sahara is a set of sand dunes located on the island. Here you can join quad-bike tours. On the tours you’ll speed through the bush and along the coastline, allowing you to see the island in a new way. Tours change to suit those on them, if you’re timider they can slow down, or speed up for those after some speed. Tour last a few hours and are fun for all ages.

    If quad-biking isn’t your thing, why not try sandboarding? Hire you board or toboggan and get ready to slide down these mammoth hills. You won’t believe how fast you’ll go! Be warned though, it’s harder than it looks. We recommend starting to slide while sitting down before graduating to standing up. Sand boards and toboggans are available for hire by the hour or by the day.

  • Penneshaw


    Pristine beaches and ancient forests bookend the beautiful town of Penneshaw. On the northeast coast of the island, Penneshaw connects the island to the mainland. Most famous for its ferry port (as it is how everyone gets to the island) there is plenty to do in Penneshaw.

    Go for a swim at Hog Bay and cool down under the hot Australian sun. In the evening return to the beach to watch as the small local colony of little penguins return. Each night you can watch them walking back up the beach from the sea to their dens on the land. The waters surrounding Penneshaw are rich in fish and the penguins feed well each day.

    The Maritime and Folk Museum are also found in Penneshaw. Learn about Kangaroo Island’s history and wander through exhibits showcasing the past. While you’re here you should also visit the Gateway Information Centre. The centre will provide you will all the information you need for your trip on Kangaroo Island.

  • Cape Jervis

    Cape Jervis

    Cape Jervis connects Kangaroo Island to the Mainland. Literally. It is the departure point for all ferries to Kangaroo Island. Here you will get on your boat before making the approximately 45-minute journey. The area is popular also with fishermen as the area is rich in marine life. There are fantastic boat, pier, and beach fishing options along Cape Jervis.

    Bush walkers will love the nearby Deep Creek Conservation Park. The heritage site used to be the site of the Cape Jervis Whale Fishery. Follow the signage to learn about the area and the dark history of whaling. You can also find information here about the Glossy Black cockatoo re-vegetation project.

  • Vivonne Bay

    Vivonne Bay

    With turquoise water for as long as the eye can see, you won’t want to miss Vivonne Bay. It provides the perfect place for picnics, beachcombing, sandcastles and swimming. The beach curves its way towards the Harriet River, the perfect place for a spot of fishing. There are some safe swimming spots by the boat ramp and jetty for the avid swimmer or surfer to enjoy. For a unique swimming experience head to the Harriet River to swim in its sand-bottomed water.

    On the other side of the river photographers will fall in love with Point Ellen. The incredible views here make for stunning landscape photography. Watch as the Southern Ocean crashes against the cliffs. Or snap a pic of the wild waters.

    Vivonne Bay is the only safe harbour on the south coast of the island. You’ll find an abundance of cray fishing boats moored here between May and November.

    Planning to spend your time getting back to nature? Great! Vivonne Bay is the perfect place for you, as there are many campsites available with great views. Begin your trip here before venturing further into the island towards Flinders Chase.

  • Fleurieu Peninsula

    Fleurieu Peninsula

    Okay, though not on the island, you must visit the Fleurieu Peninsula. Less than an hour from Adelaide and very near to Kangaroo Island, the Peninsula is fantastic. There are fantastic foodie opportunities here as well as delicious wine tastings.

    Explore the region and see why it is the inspiration for so many Australian artists. Enjoy galleries and museums showcasing local work. Along the coastline you can also enjoy many water activities. Join a snorkelling tour, or canoe along the coastline looking for marine life.

Farms and Local Produce

Kangaroo Island is home to several local farms and wineries. Many of them allow visitors and have stores for you to visit. Pick up some honey or follow your nose to the lavender fields. Enjoy a glass of locally grown and produced wine. Pair it with a delicious dinner of freshly caught seafood. There’s even a distillery with some of the best gin you’ve ever tasted!

Supporting local businesses are important for the economy of the island. Plus, its a great way to meet locals and learn more about island life. Ask for some tips for the best places to visit and you might even learn about secret local getaways!

There is so much to do on Kangaroo Island that we could never fit it all into on guide! Kangaroo Island is a fantastic place that is waiting for you to visit. Take your opportunity to connect back with nature and enjoy the calmness of island life.

No matter what you do on Kangaroo Island you’re sure to have a truly fabulous time!