Visitor Guide to Kangaroo Island


Searching for your ideal South Australia escape? The Galapagos of Australia - Kangaroo Island - comes highly recommended! An oasis of dramatic geology, unparalleled marine life and rich bushland filled with an array of wildlife, plus chic accommodation options and some rather tasty local wine. Keen to learn more? Read on.

Kangaroo Island - Troop of Roos

Here's your Guide to visiting Kangaroo Island....

Kangaroo Island, or KI as it is colloquially known, is Australia’s third-largest island situated southwest of Adelaide. A haven for bush and marine life, over a third of the land consists of protected nature reserves, making it one of the most satisfying wildlife destinations in the country. Craggy coastlines combined with azure waters and white sand beaches are home to sea lions and fur seal colonies as well as penguins and dolphins. Inland, the array of bird species is matched by the diversity of the landscape, a geological wonderland awaiting exploration on foot. 

Read on to learn more about this magical destination and answers to the most common questions posed by our discerning travellers.

What is Kangaroo Island famous for?

The island is renowned for its array of natural wonders, from diverse geological landscapes to a range of native birds and wildlife. One of the most popular sights is Flinders Chase National Park, a wilderness populated with koalas snoozing in Eucalyptus trees, penguins waddling along white-sand beaches and a large colony of long-nosed fur seals. The famed Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch are also found here - these granite boulders and rock arches were weathered over millions of years to create impressive sculptural structures.

How do you get to Kangaroo Island?

The island has two larger settlements which also act as the main ports of entry. Penneshaw is reached via a 45-minute ferry from Cape Jervis (two hours south of Adelaide) and Kingscote is reached by air from Adelaide on a 30-minute regional flight. 

Kangaroo Island Ferry

How much does it cost to go to Kangaroo Island?

The ferry prices range from $49 one-way or $98 return per adult, and $98 one-way or $196 return per vehicle. Flight prices vary depending on the season but usually start from around $70 per person one-way. Your First Light Travel consultant will be happy to discuss all travel options for getting to and from Kangaroo Island and these arrangements can be included as part of your itinerary package - just get in touch to get started.

The pristine, quiet and serene island is a haven for relaxation and getting face to face with wildlife in ways unparalleled on the mainland. It is truly a nature-lovers paradise! Available activities include surfing, snorkelling, fishing, canoeing, bushwalking as well as birdwatching and swimming with dolphins and seals. The island also has a thriving food and wine scene, with some fabulous vineyards to explore at your leisure and sample a tipple during your stay.

Flinders Chase National Park

Is Kangaroo Island safe for tourists?

Yes, Kangaroo Island is very safe. It can be affected by bushfires just like other areas of Australia but it is a large landmass (almost seven times the size of Singapore) and therefore even if experiencing weather-related incidents there are plenty of unaffected areas to explore. There are some dangerous creatures in Australia, in general, to be aware of - check out our blog post on Staying Safe in Australia for more information.

Kangaroo Island at sunrise

Are there snakes on Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island has two species of snakes, both venomous. There is the fully black variant of the tiger snake and also the copperhead. Snakes are protected native animals and important for the Australian ecosystem, and they are also very shy and inoffensive. Snakebites are very unlikely and the best way to avoid them is to leave any snakes alone if you cross paths. For information on avoiding snakes and what to do if you are bitten read our Staying Safe in Australia blog post.

What is the best time to visit Kangaroo Island?

Each season offers something different so it does depend on personal preference. Winter (June-Aug) and early Spring (September/October) are highly recommended times due to off-peak pricing and fewer fellow visitors. Additionally, whale-watching is at its best, baby marsupials start to emerge from their mother’s pouch towards the turn of the seasons, rivers are full and flowing and fur-seals bask in the sunshine to keep warm between dips. For more information about Australian seasons and the best times to visit certain areas see our Seasonal Holiday Planner.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife

Do I need a car on Kangaroo Island?

There are over 1500km of roads on Kangaroo Island, but there is very little public transport. If you choose to fly in we can arrange transfers from the airport to the major towns of Penneshaw, American River and Kingscote (depending on your budget) and many tour operators will offer transfers as part of their day tours. It is also possible to hike and bike around large parts of the island. So the choice is yours although the majority of our visitors choose to self-drive during their stay and it is the perfect way to explore at your own pace. Car hire can be organised as part of your road trip package - speak to our team for further details.

Is it easy to drive on Kangaroo Island?

Driving is a wonderful way to travel and explore on the island - and incredibly simple. Most main roads are sealed, are easy to navigate and it takes roughly two hours to drive from one end of the island to the other. Be mindful that there are also a large number of unsealed roads so a reliable hire vehicle is important if you are exploring further afield. Your First Light Travel consultant will be happy to offer recommendations and organise this as part of your package - just contact us.

How many days do you need in Kangaroo Island?

Day trips to Kangaroo Island are possible but we highly recommend at least two days to explore and not feel overly rushed. With over 500km of coastline to discover, the more time you have the better.

You can peruse some of our South Australia itineraries for inspiration here:

10 Day South Australia Road Trip

10 Day Highlights of South Australia

11 Day of the Beaten Track Luxury

7 Day Adelaide and Kangaroo Island 

Grand South Australia Self Drive Tour

Remember, all our tour itineraries are completely customisable so you could choose to extend your stay in Kangaroo Island if you wish.

What are the best things to do on Kangaroo Island?

There are plenty of things to do on Kangaroo Island, too many to count, so we have collated our favourite must-see activities for you:

Explore Flinders Chase National Park - this protected area is bursting with sights so you can tick them all off your bucket list at once. These include the geological wonders of Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks; wildlife encounters include a long-nosed fur seal colony and little penguins which inhabit the coastal beaches. An additional highlight is the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, built in the early 1900s and still standing proud, overlooking the Great Australian Bight.

For a wildlife experience unique to KI the Seal Bay Conservation Park gives opportunities to get up close (but not too close) to the fur seal and sea lion colonies, which populate the beaches and can be explored at your leisure over a network of accessible boardwalks. 

If relaxation is what you’re after then look no further than the secluded Vivonne Bay. Once voted Australia’s best beach, this picture-perfect area boasts gentle lapping waves and white sandy shores and with six kilometres of beach to choose from you are guaranteed some peace and quiet. Not far away you can enjoy another sandy gem - Little Sahara. This naturally occurring inland dunefield provides hours of fun, just grab your toboggan or sandboard and away you go!

Tantalise your tastebuds with a visit to one (or many) of the fabulous wineries dotted around the island. From the well-established Dudley Wines to the francophile crafters of The Islander Estate, there are cellar door tastings to suit all wine lovers.

Fancy something a little stronger? We recommend a trip to Kangaroo Island Spirits, the island's only boutique distillery creating a range of liqueurs, vodkas and their speciality gins. Pull up a chair and enjoy tastings or turn your hand to cocktail making or blending your own gin. 

Ready to Plan Your Trip? See our most popular itineraries featuring Kangaroo Island here

From family vacations to luxury romantic getaways, we’re here to help you create the holiday you need right now!

Jenny Power
Jenny Power
: 17 Jul 2021 (Last updated: 4 Aug 2021)

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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price