Things to do in Kangaroo Island

Seven times the size of Singapore! And just over a handful of people who live there permanently! That’s Kangaroo Island (KI, as the locals call it).

Kangaroo Island

Next to the giant landmass that is the Australian mainland, Kangaroo Island looks a lot smaller than it really is. Australia’s third-largest island (after Tasmania and Melville Island), KI is best known for its wildlife and has a rep of a true nature playground. 

There are just so many amazing things to do in Kangaroo Island. Read on to find the best activities for your visit.

About Kangaroo Island (KI)


Where is Kangaroo Island and how to get there?

Kangaroo Island lies off the South Australian mainland, southwest of Adelaide. The island can be accessed by ferry and by air. From Adelaide, it’s a 100km | 62mi drive (approx 1.5h) through the Fleurieu Peninsula to the ferry terminal. The crossing takes another 45 minutes to the small town of Penneshaw. A flight from Adelaide takes you to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island in just over half an hour.


When to visit Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is a year-round destination and has plenty to offer its visitors no matter the season. While spring and autumn might arguably be the best seasons due to mild temperatures, travelling to KI in winter is better priced and has fewer tourists. Summer (approx December to February) is the hottest and driest time to visit Kangaroo Island and there’s an increased risk of bush fires. 

Once on Kangaroo Island, the best way to get around is either in your own vehicle or by joining a tour. There is no public transport available.

The best things to do in Kangaroo Island

Visit Flinders Chase National Park

While a big part of Flinders Chase National Park fell victim to the massive bush fires in early 2020, nature is slowly recovering and wildlife is returning to the park. As you drive through the national park, you can witness first-hand how green shoots emerge from the once scorched land. Goannas (a type of lizard), koalas, eagles, kangaroos and echidnas are regularly spotted in Flinders Chase NP.

Flinders Chase

Remarkable Rocks

True to their name, the Remarkable Rocks are perched above the sea in a cluster of seemingly precariously balanced granite boulders, looking pretty remarkable. 500 million years of exposure to nature’s force of wind, sea spray and erosion shaped the rocks into the stunning work of art it is today.

Admiral’s Arch

Surrounded by the ocean, exposed to the tides and strong wind, Admiral’s Arch slowly emerged. Located on the tip of a small peninsula, it’s easy to see how the waves could slowly dig their way through the cliff, forming an arch. 

Fur seals can often be seen playing in the waves and sleeping on the rocks.

Stroll along stunning Vivonne Bay and go for a swim

This six-kilometre (3.7mi) long U-shaped bay on Kangaroo Island was voted to be one of the best beaches in Australia. It’s easy to see why. A wooden jetty protrudes from the white beach over the turquoise, waist-deep water, the perfect spot for some early morning fishing. In fact, Vivonne Bay jetty has long been famous for catching huge tommies (Australian Herring).

The sheltered bay with consistent surf makes Vivonne the perfect spot for swimming and surfing.

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Located near Vivonne Bay, Seal Bay Conservation Park is home to the third largest Australian sea lion colony. It’s one of Kangaroo Island’s must-dos and should be on every itinerary. You have three options for seeing the seals. The self-guided boardwalk tour meanders through limestone cliffs and dunes. Several lookouts offer the best views over the sea lions and you’ll learn about the lives and habitats of these animals through the interpretive signs. 

The guided tour takes you closer to the sea lions. Every tour is different as the guides interpret the vibe in the colony at that very moment and explain to you exactly what you can observe right now. 

The behind-the-scenes tour is perfect for everyone who wants to know everything about the latest research, learn methods of scanning sea lions and collect valuable data.

kangaroo island seal colony

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Home to over 600 Australian native animals, you can find just about every species that lives on the Australian continent in one wildlife park. Learn all about dingos, kangaroos, koalas and more animals at wildlife encounters and presentations throughout the day. For a few dollars extra, you can even feed the roos, hold a cuddly koala or, if you’re brave enough, a massive snake. 

After the devastating wildfires of 2020, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park established a rescue centre that treated many of the injured animals, nursed them back to health and released them back into the wild once they were strong enough.

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Hanson Bay is not only a wildlife sanctuary with a high chance of sighting wild koalas, but you can also stay there for the night in one of their self-contained cabins. 

The sanctuary has been extensively damaged in the 2020 fires and like the nature surrounding it, is slowly getting back on its feet. Book their private tour to learn how the wildlife survived and what impact the fire had on flora, fauna as well as the humans.

Hanson Wildlife Sanctuary Kangaroo Island

See penguins in Penneshaw

The smallest penguins in the world live on Kangaroo Island and you can visit them! As they’re pretty hard to find and mostly active at night, it’s best to join a guided tour. Equipped with a penguin-friendly torch, your guide takes you on a walk in the search for these adorable animals. Keep your eyes open during the tour for some other wildlife like possums or wallabies.

Swim with dolphins and see the seals

Explore Kangaroo Island from the water and meet some of the water animals up close and personal. Leaving from Kingscote, the cruise takes you along the North Coast of Kangaroo Island to see the local seal colony, sea eagles and pelicans. When you meet a pod of dolphins, you have the chance to hop in the water and swim with the friendly creatures! No ropes or nets, you swim with the dolphins as if you’re one of them! Truly an experience you’ll always remember!

In between these magical encounters, you stop at a remote beach for morning tea and homemade treats.

Vivonne Bay Kangaroo Island

Big adventures in Little Sahara

Little Sahara are natural dunes not too far from Vivonne Bay. The inland dunes are a natural playground for the adventurous. Hire a sandboard and shred the sand dunes like a pro. Or go sledging down the dunes on toboggans! You'll be given a few hints and tips on how to make the most out of your time in the dunes.

The bikers among you might be keen on hiring a fat bike (a bike with extra-wide tyres to ride on sand or snow) to ride on and down the dunes.

Wine tasting

South Australia is a haven for foodies and even Kangaroo Island, whose main attraction is the wildlife, is no exception. 

Seven Kangaroo Island wineries have cellar doors where you can taste a range of locally grown wines. The views from Dudley Wines are especially amazing as the vineyard is built onto a cliff that looks over the ocean. 

Many of KI’s wineries can be found on the so-called Cygnet River gourmet trail, a short strip near Kangaroo Island’s airport. Additionally to wineries, you can also find a gin distillery on the trail as well as a gastro caravan serving small delicacies. 

Local Markets

The markets on Kangaroo Island are small but still worth a visit if you happen to be in the area. Kingscote Market is held every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month at Kingscote Wharf. It showcases some of Kangaroo Island’s Artisan producers, Art and crafts, fresh produce, fruit and veggies. Penneshaw Market is on every first Sunday of the Month (closed in winter).

Oyster Farm Shop

Try some of the freshest oysters on the island. The oysters at the Oyster Farm Shop are harvested daily throughout the season, delivered to local restaurants and their own shop, ready for you to taste the varieties. Tours through the land-based farm as well as the wharf farm will educate you on how these delicacies are grown.

Taste the KI Spirits 

One of the most popular exports off the island is KIS (Kangaroo Island Spirits). You can find their products in shops all over Australia. At their base on KI, you can not only taste their multi-award-winning range of gins, spirits and liqueurs but also become part of the experience!

In a cocktail masterclass, you learn about the origin of gin-based cocktails and make some yourself. In the gin blending class, you’ll learn about the botanicals used to make the popular gins and how to blend them to your personal taste. Your creation is yours to take home.

Oyster Farm Shop

Eat honey ice cream

The bees at Clifford’s Honey farm originally hail from Liguria in Italy. Thanks to the remote location of Kangaroo Island, these bees are most likely the only true breeds of Ligurian bees left worldwide. The shop at the bee farm sells all sorts of bee products, from raw honey over marinades to cosmetics. The main attraction, however, is their much-raved-about homemade honey ice cream you just have to try!

Keen to explore Kangaroo Island first hand? We’ve got the right tour for you!

You can find all our South Australia self-drive itineraries, ready to book. Alternatively, if you would like to create your own self-drive itinerary then simply chat to our First Light Travel specialists about our bespoke packages to Kangaroo Island.


Alexandra Diethelm
Alexandra Diethelm
: 17 Dec 2021 (Last updated: 22 Dec 2021)

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