Kangaroo Island, SA: Destination Guide

Kangaroo Island 960x 350

Wild and unspoilt, Kangaroo Island should be on the itinerary of every South Australian adventurer.

Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Kangaroo Island or find and book accommodation in Kangaroo Island today

About Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island and is about 150km long and 50km wide at its widest point. The island has its share of historic shipwrecks and impressive lighthouses that were built to try and stem the carnage. The first of at least 60 wrecks occurred in 1847, while the biggest ship to sink here was the 5800-tonne Portland Maru off Cape Torrens on the north-west coast.

Things to do on Kangaroo Island

Unsurprisingly, Kangaroo Island is a haven for watersports. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, kite-boarding, diving and fishing, so there's sure to be something for everyone. History buffs and nature lovers will also relish a trip to Kangaroo Island, with fascinating wildlife and heritage steeped areas in abundance.

Attractions on Kangaroo Island


Kingscote is the major town on the island, but don’t expect a huge city with a multitude of choices or a thriving, thumping nightlife. With a population of around 2000 residents there are a couple of pubs, two supermarkets, a range of cafes and take aways, along with a wide range of tours, tourist accommodation and touristy things to do such as wineries, art studios, a honey farm, a eucalyptus distillery, and of course some of the best seafood outlets you’ll find on the planet.

For history buffs, Kingscote is the site of the first European settlement in SA who arrived there in July 1836. By the end of that year, most of these free pioneer settlers had moved to the mainland where the state of SA – and then the city of Adelaide – was proclaimed. Reeves Point, on the north side of Kingscote, is a pleasant park with a number of nostalgic reminders of those early settlers, including the cemetery, some early house sites and the remains of the jetty. Across the road from the park is the Hope House Folk Museum.

Flinders Chase National Park

With nearly a third of the island protected in national parks and nature reserves, admiring wildlife and communing with nature is high on the list of most visitors. The entire western end of the island is protected in the Flinders Chase National Park, which includes both Cape Borda and Cape Du Couedic as well as the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protected Area.

For wildlife lovers, the park is rich with birds, animals and native plants. Over 260 species of birds and 890 species of native plants, which includes 46 endemic species, have been recorded on the island with many of these found in this vast and variable park.

Seal Bay

The place not to miss is the appropriately named Seal Bay on the southern shores of Kangaroo Island and easily reached from Kingscote. Here hundreds of Australian sea lions come up onto the beach to rest, mate and socialise. Tour guides take you along the beach and while you are not allowed to approach the animals within a certain distance, many of them, especially the young pups, have no qualms about approaching humans. It is one of the greatest wildlife experiences you can enjoy in Australia.

Cape du Couedic

Cape du Couedic, 15km to the south of Rocky River, is the most south-westerly corner of the island. At the extreme tip of this rugged point of land poking into the Southern Ocean is Admirals Arch, created by softer limestone sandwiched between harder sedimentary rock being eroded away. Also found here is KI’s most photographed attraction, Remarkable Rocks. These immense granite boulders painted orange by algae have been eroded over the aeons into a range of amazing shapes.

New Zealand fur seals use the shoreline around Cape du Couedic for their breeding ground and, in summer, groups of young seals can be seen sunning themselves on the rocks or playing in the shallows waiting for their parents to return with food. The adult fur seals throw themselves into the boiling sea with gay abandon and to see them playing in the turbulent water is a testament to their
aquatic abilities.

Getting to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island lies just 30km off the mainland near Cape Jervis, south of Adelaide.

By ferry

While Kangaroo Island is easy to get to, the only way to take your vehicle is via one of the SeaLink ferries that operate between Cape Jervis (106km south of Adelaide) and Penneshaw on the eastern end of the island.

Ferries run at least four times a day, but bookings are essential. It’s pretty expensive when taking a camper or van so plan to stay for at least a week or two — you’ll find plenty to do.

A bitumen road takes you from Penneshaw to Kingscote where a loop road will take you west to the major tourist destinations on the island. The rest of the roads on Kangaroo Island are, for the most part, good quality dirt roads.

Where to stay on Kangaroo Island

Camping is only allowed in designated areas on Kangaroo Island. Campgrounds can be busy especially during summer and school holidays. For more accommodation options in and around Kangaroo Island, click here.

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