Kangaroo Island is truly one of the best places in Australia to immerse yourself in nature. Its pristine beaches, rugged coastlines and diverse wildlife make it an amazing hub for eco-tourism.
During the 3 days that we spent on the island, we saw kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, koalas, and even bottlenose dolphins all in their natural habitats. We also visited beautiful beaches with pristine blue waters, and saw some of the most unique natural rock formations.
How to get to Kangaroo Island
The best way to get to Kangaroo Island is by ferry. The SeaLink Ferry operates daily from its terminal at Cape Jervis, located a 1.5 hour drive from Adelaide. That’s the way most people do it. However, we visited Kangaroo Island as part of our road trip on the Southern Ocean Drive.
The ferry takes 45 minutes to get to Kangaroo Island and can also transport your car. You can view the timetable and book your ferry tickets on the SeaLink Ferry’s website.
During peak season it is advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance and reach the terminal at least 45 minutes before the departure time.
If you are looking for an alternative way to get there, the Regional Express Airlines operates flights from Adelaide to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island. This 25 minute flight is short but more expensive than the ferry.
Getting Around The Island
The best way, and perhaps the only way, to get around Kangaroo Island is on a self-driven car. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island. It covers a land area of 4,405 kilometer square which makes it relatively easy to explore in a short time. You can drive from one end of the island to the other end in about 2 hours.
And speaking of size, Kangaroo Island can be looked at by dividing it into two parts by drawing a vertical line down its centre. The eastern half is where the port, and the major towns are located. Whereas the western half is more wild and natural. It’s where Flinders Chase National Park and the other sanctuaries are located.
Although the best way to explore the island is by yourself in a car, you can also hop onto a guided tour bus. Let’s talk about both options.
We highly recommend renting a car and driving around yourself on Kangaroo Island. It’s really the best way to explore everything that the island has to offer, and at your own pace.Find the best car rental deals in Australia
There are no taxis on the island and the coach service provided by SeaLink only runs between Penneshaw, American River and Kingscote. These are towns located on the eastern part of the island.
You can either rent a car on Kangaroo Island itself (right at the ferry terminal), or bring one onto the island from the mainland on the ferry. However, we were told that most insurance companies do not cover any damages to the car during the ferry ride.
While driving around Kangaroo Island we saw a heartbreaking number of roadkill. Most of the animals on the island are nocturnal and as such, can be seen on the roads at night. However, as there are no street lights on the highways, speeding cars often pose a great danger to them.
We drove after sunset on two nights, and we made it a point not to drive above 40 km/h. And we’re glad we did because we literally had to brake suddenly on numerous occasions when kangaroos and wallabies jumped out in front of our car.
Please be mindful of animals if you drive on Kangaroo Island after dark.
If you don’t have your own car, or prefer not to drive there are plenty of guided tours that run between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Day tours are quite popular and we saw plenty tour buses arrive on the ferry with us.Kangaroo Island Day Tour From Adelaide (Save 14%)
If you’re interested in a Kangaroo Island day tour, book your tickets online and save up to 14%.
Best time to visit
The weather in Kangaroo Island is moderate throughout the year with average temperatures ranging from 14°C to 24°C. Therefore, you can visit the island anytime of the year. However, the most popular time to visit is during summer (December to February).
Kangaroo Island Accommodation
Here are our top picks for places to stay in Kangaroo Island:
Privately owned and hosted guesthouse located in Kingscote.
Clean comfortable rooms located in the wilderness close to Flinder’s Chase National Park.
Luxury villa located 20 minutes drive from Vivonne Bay, the island’s prettiest beach.
And here are a few ongoing deals for you to check out.
How long should you spend?
If you’re strapped for time and can only spare a day for Kangaroo Island, we recommend the day tour from Adelaide. The tour allows you to experience the best of Kangaroo Island in a day. But if time is not a factor, we highly recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days on the island.
The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary for Kangaroo Island
We spent 3 days on Kangaroo Island and felt it was perfect. It allowed us enough time to explore the island’s best attractions at our own pace while not missing out on anything.
So, we thought it’s best to share our awesome, self-curated, 3 day itinerary for Kangaroo Island with you.
Visit Seal Bay Conservation Park
Once you arrive in Penneshaw, drive down to Seal Bay Conservation Park – home to one of Australia’s largest colony of sea lions and one of the only places where you can see these beautiful creatures up-close.
We saw so many sea lions basking on the beach, swimming in the ocean and playing with each other. Honestly, we found it hard to leave Seal Bay.
There are two ways to enjoy your experience at Seal Bay Conservation Park.
- Opt for a self-guided tour on the boardwalk. The park charges AUD 16 for adults and AUD 8 for children to access the boardwalk. As this tour is self-guided, you can spend as much time as you like. Although the boardwalk provides a good vantage point for viewing the sea lions, it is still a considerable distance from them.
- If you wish to get even closer to the sea lions, you can do so by opting for a guided tour, which we recommend. A guided tour costs AUD 35.50 per adult and AUD 20.00 per child and includes access to the beach to observe the sea lions from a much closer distance. Of course it helps to have a guide to answer any questions that you may have about these amazing animals.Once the tour is over, you can walk onto the boardwalk to the sea lion viewing point.
Check Out Vivonne Bay and Little Sahara
If you are looking for free things to do on Kangaroo Island then we recommend visiting Vivonne Bay and Little Sahara.
Vivonne Bay is perhaps the best beach on Kangaroo Island and one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia (although I think Bay of Fires is equally beautiful). Vivonne Bay’s 5 kms beach is where powdery white sand meets aquamarine blue water. It’s perfect for swimming, surfing or just enjoying a quiet picnic. Vivonne Bay is a must-see attraction on Kangaroo Island.
Located close to Vivonne Bay is a white sand dessert called Little Sahara. Known for its sand dunes, Little Sahara is popular among kids and grown-ups for sandboarding. There is no fees for visiting Little Sahara but you do need to pay to rent a sandboard or a toboggan.
Tour Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
No trip to Australia is complete without seeing kangaroos, koalas and wallabies in the wild. As these are nocturnal animals, the chances of spotting them are higher after dusk. And that’s why joining the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary nocturnal tour was the highlight of our trip to Kangaroo Island.
We spotted numerous koalas (one with her baby), wallabies, kangaroos, and countless birds. We even saw a boxing match between two kangaroos in front of us! It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience walking through this sanctuary and watching all these wild animals in their element.
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary also offers tours during the day if you’re unable to join the tour at night. In fact, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places to see koalas in the wild.
On your second day, we recommend exploring Flinders Chase National Park. There are plenty of attractions at the park that are guaranteed to leave you awestruck.
Visitors must pay an entry fee of AUD 11 per person that covers all the top attractions. So, here’s what you must see inside Flinders Chase National Park.
Admire The Remarkable Rocks
Located in the south-west corner of Kangaroo Island are the Remarkable Rocks – a group of artistic rock formations that have resulted from over 500 million years of erosion.
These lichen covered boulders look their best at sunrise or sunset as the sun’s rays accentuate their golden-orange colour.
Never have we come across such giant and peculiarly shaped rocks. This is one of Kangaroo Island’s signature landmarks and is not to be missed.
See The New Zealand Fur Seals At Admirals Arch
Admirals Arch is one of the most recognisable attractions from Kangaroo Island. In fact the in-flight magazine of our flight had a picture of Admirals Arch on its cover.
Admirals Arch is a short drive from the Remarkable Rocks. We found the views as we walked down towards Admirals Arch really quite spectacular. That’s not just because of the rock formations and giant waves, but because Admirals Arch is home to a fur seal colony. These were the same fur seals that we had seen in Kaikoura.
As you walk down, you can observe numerous fur seals riding the waves and playing or resting on the rocks. We stopped at every level to soak in the view.
We even saw plenty of fur seals right under the arch which made for a truly unforgettable sight!
Visit Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse
Located just at the start of the walkway for Admirals Arch is Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse. Named after a French naval officer – Charles Louis du Couedic – this lighthouse was built over 100 years ago. Visitors to the area even have the option of staying at the old keepers’ cottages. How quaint is that?!
As the lighthouse is located on the western coast of the island, we highly recommend visiting at sunset to catch the sky change colours!
Go On Walks From The Visitor Centre
You don’t have to necessarily go deep into Flinders Chase National Park to discover some of its best attractions. There are plenty of short and long walks from the Visitors Centre to explore local wildlife.
We ventured on the Platypus Waterholes Walk, which is an easy 4.5 kms return walk where the lucky few can spot the elusive platypus. Unfortunately, we weren’t as lucky because these animals, like the others, surface after dusk and we were there at mid-afternoon. But we did see a few koalas and some unique plants.
Other walks include the Wildlife-Spotting Discovery Walk, the Heritage Walk and the Woodlands Walk through the Gum Woods.
On day 3 we suggest you explore the Penneshaw area.
Snorkel With Dolphins & Seals
Swimming among bottlenose dolphins and fur seals is one of the most fun things to do on Kangaroo Island.
The Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari operates daily snorkeling trips from the Christmas Cove Marina, which is a 5 minute drive from the SeaLink Ferry terminal in Penneshaw.
The experience was simply incredible as we got to see fur seals and dolphins up-close. In fact, while we were in the sea, a fur seal surprised us by swimming between all of us. It was as if he wanted us to play with him.
Admire The Rocks at Christmas Cove
The road leading to Christmas Cove is lined with lichen covered rocks which resemble Bay of Fires in Tasmania. It’s hard to miss them as their colour and shape is accentuated in the bright sun.
It’s the perfect spot to stop and shoot some Instagram worthy photos.
Enjoy a leisurely meal at Sunset Food and Wine
The aptly named Sunset Food and Wine is located minutes outside Penneshaw. This amazing restaurant not only offers great vistas across the bay at American River, but also delicious oysters and wine. Grab a table outside, order some drinks and oysters.
Kangaroo Island – The Perfect Wildlife Retreat
We hope you found our 3 day itinerary for Kangaroo Island, along with all the things to do, helpful. If you’re an animal and nature lover, we’re positive that you’ll love spending time on the island.
If our photos inspired you to take a trip down to Kangaroo Island, make sure you check out our photo gallery.