Kangaroo Island is a destination everyone travelling to Australia needs to visit at least once! The stunning island is home to beautiful rugged coastlines, turquoise waters, native animals, unique natural formations, and wines to taste. Convinced yet?! Just wait until you hear about these amazing 8 free things to go in Kangaroo Island.
To give you a sneak peek into what to expect in this post, I’ll be talking about the stunning bays, beaches, coves, and national parks that are not only affordable but absolute essentials!
I travelled to Kangaroo Island in December on a solo road trip and had an absolute blast! From visiting the Remarkable Rocks to witnessing Seals in their natural habitat at Seal Bay, there is so much to explore on this island!
Whether you are a solo traveller like me, with your partner, friends, or family there are plenty of both free and cheap things to do on the island.
Let’s get stuck in!
8 Free Things to Do in Kangaroo Island!
Let’s get stuck into the top 8 free things to do in Kangaroo Island!
Quick heads up – while Kangaroo Island boasts some amazing national parks (totally worth a visit), some have a nominal entrance fee. No worries, though! I’ve got you covered with a roundup of the top free experiences on the island, along with some budget-friendly gems you absolutely shouldn’t overlook.
1. Vivonne Bay Jetty
At the top of the list, we have the breathtaking Vivonne Bay Jetty. You simply can’t miss seeing the remarkably pale blue and turquoise waters. The photos you see are actually accurate and not heavily edited!
Around a 45-minute drive from Kingscote, Vivonne Bay will sweep you off your feet as you drive along the coastal road that reveals the magical waters. Grab your fishing rod for a unique fishing experience on Vivonne Bay Jetty. Or if you’re like me, take some beautiful photos and enjoy a packed lunch sitting on the pier.
Whilst you are at the jetty, walk through the rocks located just ahead of the main car park to uncover hidden rock pools that boast the bright blue water. Be careful not to get too close to the edge of the rocks as strong waves can be dangerous.
And of course, pop your swimmers on and grab your towel to lounge by the beach at Vivonne Bay’s main beach. Go for a dip in the water, but don’t go too far out as great white sharks can be swimming near the shores!
Kangaroo Island Photography Essentials
2. Stokes Bay
Up next on the free things to do in Kangaroo Island is the hidden beach of Stokes Bay!
A hidden paradise just waiting to be explored.
When you first arrive at Stokes Bay you may be underwhelmed, I know I was!
But as you weave through a labyrinth of caves you will reveal a stunning white sandy beach with turquoise waters, perfect for tanning, swimming, or reading a good book.
Trust me it will make you go WOW~
A memorable experience of mine that I’m sure you too will also fall in love with.
3. Picnic at Bay of Shoals
End a busy day exploring the beaches, coves, and bays with a visit to the absolutely gorgeous Bay of Shoals.
Nestled amidst rolling vineyards and overlooking the sparkling waters of the Bay of Shoals, this winery offers the perfect setting for a delightful and budget-friendly day out. Pack your favourite snacks, a cozy blanket, and some refreshing drinks, and you’re all set for a fantastic picnic experience.
Find a spot on the winery’s picturesque grounds, under the shade of a eucalyptus tree or overlooking the vineyard, and lay out your picnic spread.
And don’t forget to take some photos of the scenery!
To make your picnic even more memorable, head over to the cellar door to sample some of the winery’s finest offerings. The $10 tasting paddle was well worth it in my opinion as it allows you to indulge in a variety of their handcrafted wines. The Rose was spectacular.
So, if you’re seeking an idyllic and cost-free day out on Kangaroo Island, a free picnic at Bay of Shoals Winery is the perfect choice. Relax, unwind, and create unforgettable memories in this stunning vineyard setting, all without spending a dime.
4. Pennington Bay
Number 4 on the list of free things to do in Kangaroo Island is Pennington Bay.
On the south coast of Kangaroo Island, Pennington Bay is a stunning spot, known for its surfing. The water isn’t only great for surfing or swimming it is also a fantastic spot for taking magnificent photos. Pennington Bay waters a beautiful shade of turquoise that will make you go WOW!
If you look close enough you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins or whales!
5. Emu Bay
The last bay on Kangaroo Island I will be covering in this post is Emu Bay. When I visited Emu Bay in December I was a little disappointed, the white sand beach was covered in seaweed, making it not as pristine as other bays on the island.
That being said, Emu Bay is popular with holiday-goers due to its close proximity to Kingscote, long shorelines, and direct car access.
6. Kangaroo spotting at dusk or dawn
You can’t visit Kangaroo Island without seeing any Kangaroos! The best time to see Kangaroos out and about is at dusk or dawn.
Kangaroos are found throughout the island so be sure to drive carefully and keep your eyes peeled!
The best place to see kangaroos is in Flinders Chase National Park, particularly around the Rocky River grasslands. Keep your eyes open for other wildlife including wallabies, echidnas, or even koalas.
The paddocks surrounding stokes bay are another great spot to catch kangaroos in the wild.
If you don’t want to take your chances and want a guaranteed sighting, Parndana wildlife centre is a great option. Not cheating at all! Kangaroos here are rescued as joeys and live in big paddocks.
7. Emu Bay Lavender Farms
A visit to Emu Bay Lavender Farms is a total treat for your senses!
As soon as you get there, you’ll be hit with the relaxing lavender smell that just calms your soul.
The fields are all purple and dreamy, perfect for a walk or some cool Instagram photos.
So, if you’re up for a relaxing and fragrant adventure, Emu Bay Lavender Farms is the place to be on Kangaroo Island.
Go get your lavender fix and treat yourself to some good vibes!
8. Explore the deserted Neapan Bay
Visiting Nepean Bay on Kangaroo Island is like stepping into a secluded coastal paradise that will leave you in awe.
This stunning bay boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters gently lapping against pristine white sandy beaches.
Whether you’re into swimming, sunbathing, or simply beachcombing, Nepean Bay has it all!
I visited when the tides were very low and it was simply stunning, just look at the sands and bright blue waters!
If you are lucky you may even spot playful dolphins or the occasional lazy seal basking in the sun.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider hiring a kayak or paddleboard to explore the bay’s inviting waters, providing a whole new perspective on this scenic wonderland.
And when the sun starts to set, be sure to stick around for the breathtaking spectacle of colours painting the sky over the bay.
Nepean Bay is a true gem on Kangaroo Island, offering a slice of paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.
BONUS 5 Cheap Things to Do on Kangaroo Island
Add a touch of affordable indulgence to your trip with these bonus cheap activities.
Starting off with Flinders Chase National Park, an absolute must-visit on Kangaroo Island! Located about an hour southwest of Kingscote, Flinders Chase is well worth the drive. Make the day of it and stop off at Seal Bay or Vivonne Bay on the way.
Flinders Chase has loads on offer, prepare to spend a few hours visiting a range of attractions including the Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arches, Weirs Cove Ruins Lookout, and of course, seal spotting.
When you enter the national park you will arrive at a car park where you can either scan the QR code in the car park to pay your entry fee (Adult price: $12.50) or head to the visitor centre for further directions.
Once you have paid, hop back into the car and follow the road and signs for about 15- 20 minutes. The first turn-off is the Remarkable Rocks.
A truly remarkable sight to be seen when visiting Kangaroo Island. A cluster of granite boulders perched above the sea, formed by Mother Nature some 500 million years ago!
I recommend visiting the Remarkable Rocks early morning or early evening to avoid crowds and see the stunning sunrises and sunsets. Just a word of warning, during the summertime, due to daylight savings the sun doesn’t set until around 8:30 pm.
After taking the sights at the Remarkable Rocks it’s time to continue on to Weirs Cove Ruins Lookout. I almost didn’t even take the turn-off to Weirs Cove as I wasn’t sure what it was and if it was worth the stop.
I can tell you now it is absolutely worth the stop to see a breathtaking view of the two-toned turquoise waters. One of my favourite photos from my trip was taken here, just see how spectacular it is!
The last but by no means least stop is Admirals Arches, a natural rock formation that is simply gorgeous.
The short journey down to the arches is just as magical as the destination. The boardwalk beautifully shows off the rugged Kangaroo Island coastline with plenty of spots to stop off to take in the view or even spot some seals chilling on the rocks.
Once you get to the bottom, spot seals and pups lazing on the rocks and watch the waves crash among the arches.
Now that we’ve covered National Flinders Park, let’s journey east to Seal Bay.
Continue exploring Seals lazing in their natural habitat at Seal Bay. Another protected and well-maintained national park on Kangaroo Island is a must-see on your trip! Seal Bay is a 45-minute drive from Kingscote and on the way to Flinders Chase National Park.
Take a guided tour to get onto the beach and see the seals up close or purchase a self-guided tour that takes you along the boardwalk.
I opted for the self-guided tour so I could explore Seal Bay at my own pace and I personally didn’t feel I missed out on anything and saved a few bucks to spend on gin tastings in the afternoon!
The boardwalk entry costs $16.5 and the guided tour costs $37.
Once again the walk down to the lookout point is half the experience, with captivating views of Kangaroo Island shores.
When I visited there were loads of seals and pups spread across the beach sunbaking. An incredible sight you don’t see every day. Seals are fascinating creatures, watch as they crawl their way into the water, call out for their mother, and rest peacefully in the sun.
Note: you cannot bring dogs and fly drones at National Parks in Kangaroo Island, keep your eyes peeled for signage.
Kelly Hill Caves
Let’s explore beyond the surface of Kangaroo Island in Kelly Hill Caves. A less-visited attraction that I seriously recommend for anyone looking to escape the sun and experience something different.
Leave your claustrophobia at the entrance and journey underground to see the surreal formations and learn about the history of cave exploration.
Take a set of VERY steep stairs down to the cave with a tour guide, currently as of 2023 you can only access the caves in a tour run by the National Park that goes for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and costs $22.
As a word of warning, you MUST be confident climbing up and down steep stairs, they are quite scary and I could imagine difficult for some individuals.
On the tour, you will be provided with a head torch to get up close to the rock formations in the cave. The tour guides will take you through the discovery of the caves, caving by candlelight, the naming of rocks, and much more.
Kelly Hill caves are only a 15-minute drive from Flinders Chase and about an hour from Kingscote. I recommend you book online a couple of days in advance to secure your preferred day and timeslot.
Next on the list of cheap things to do in Kangaroo Island is a visit to Little Sahara. Located in Vivonne Bay, little Sahara has loads of adventure activities to get the adrenaline pumping. Sandboarding, buggy tours or bike tours take your fancy?
If that’s not quite up your alley, Little Sahara is still worth the visit to check out the naturally occurring inland dunes.
The tallest dune is 70m above sea level! Ditch the snowboard and test your skills on the sand dunes.
Kangaroo Island Spirits
Lastly, you absolutely gotta check out Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS)!
It’s an awesome boutique gin distillery, and let me tell you, it’s a blast!
When you walk in, you’re welcomed with such a friendly vibe, and the staff there really know their stuff.
Head into the cool tasting room to try out their handcrafted gins, vodka, liqueurs, and more, and let me tell you, they’ve got some crazy good flavors going on!
They mix in all kinds of botanicals, herbs, and even native Aussie ingredients, which gives their gins a unique island twist. My favorite was the mulberry gin, so fresh and vibrant!
They’ve got quite the lineup, from your classic London dry gin to the more experimental blends that’ll blow your mind. Grab some tasters starting at $5 per shot and sit in the beautiful gardens to sip the day away.
Oh, and if you have the spare cash, take the distillery tour! You’ll see how they make their magic happen, and it’s just awesome to see the craft behind it all.
So, if you’re up for a fun and flavorful adventure, Kangaroo Island Spirits is a must-visit!
Map of Kangaroo Island Attractions
Kangaroo Island is bigger than you might think, so it is essential you plan your itinerary carefully and strategically to avoid driving all over the place to see the top 10 free things to do in Kangaroo Island!
I have created a map of Kangaroo Island attractions to help you put together your itinerary!
Getting to Kangaroo Island
To get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide city/airport, you will need to drive about 1hr 30mins to Cape Jervis to catch the Sealink ferry across. Be sure to book in early if you are traveling during the summertime and are taking a car across as it books up fast! The ferry is about a 45-minute trip and will drop you off at Penneshaw.
From there, I recommend you stay in Kingscote due to the range of accommodation, shopping, and dining options. Kingscote is about a 45-minute drive from Penneshaw. A long travel day but it is definitely worth it once you arrive.
You can skip the ferry and fly to Kangaroo Island, although expect to pay more and have less flexibility with scheduling.
I could go on but I will cover all the details you need to know when travelling to Kangaroo Island in my comprehensive Kangaroo Island travel guide.
Now, onto what you came here for, the top free things to do on Kangaroo Island!
I highly recommend renting a car when travelling around Kangaroo Island. The roads vary but are generally suitable to drive without a 4-wheel drive.
I rented a small economy car from Sixt via Discover Cars and it was perfect for a solo road trip! A few roads are dirt and gravel so be sure to drive slowly as the tires can slip, happened to me a few times and it is a bit scary! Talk about sweaty hands when driving!
Kangaroo Island Accommodation
I recommend you stay in Kingscote as there are more cafes, restaurants, petrol stations, and shops.
Although it is still rather quiet it’s the best you’re going to get on the island! There is a supermarket which I found great for picking up lunch for on the go (as there is much past Kingscote) and a few great takeaway and dining options.
I stayed in the Aurora Ozone Hotel which had everything I needed. For $25AUD you can purchase a buffet breakfast which was decent. There is Wi-FI, air conditioning, comfy beds, a small fridge, and some kitchen essentials.
➡️ Book your stay at the Aurora Ozone via Booking.com today!
FAQs: Best Free Things To Do In Kangaroo Island
Moving onto some commonly asked questions about the best free things to do in Kangaroo Island.
How do you spend a day on Kangaroo Island?
Ah, the ultimate day in paradise!
Start your day at Flinders Chase National Park. Marvel at the Remarkable Rocks, and soak in the serenity of Admirals Arch.
Next, head to the picturesque Vivonne Bay – where the bluest of waters meet pristine sands. Whether it’s a lazy beach stroll or fishing on the jetty, this bay is one of the must-visit places that won’t cost you anything.
Your next stop is the mesmirizing Seal Bay. The sea lions are the true stars here, and observing them in their natural habitat is pretty surreal. Get ready for heartwarming moments and plenty of photo ops!
To wrap up your day, venture to the Bay of Shoals winery at sunset. Taste the local wines and perhaps enjoy a picnic overlooking the vineyards and the ocean.
How to visit Kangaroo Island on a budget?
Budgeting for the win!
Begin with pocket-friendly accommodations, prepare your own food, and jam-pack your itinerary with free things to in Kangaroo Island!
Icons like Vivonne Bay and Seal Bay are key examples of exploring the best of the island without spending a dime.
Head to the local supermarket to pick up budget-friendly breakfast, snacks and lunch on the go! And how about opting for a picnic at Bay of Shoals instead of dining at a restaurant.
It’s about making savvy choices and collecting memories, not price tags!
Can you go to Kangaroo Island without a tour?
Absolutely, Kangaroo Island is your oyster.
If you aren’t taking a tour I highly recommend renting a car as public transport is very limited.
Map out your personal itinerary, (or check out my custom itinerary planning services :)) and be your own personal tour guide of this incredible island.
Is there a hop on hop off bus in Kangaroo Island?
While there isn’t a traditional hop-on-hop-off bus, there are tours you can book if you prefer to sit back relax and enjoy the ride. I recommend the Scenic, Nature and Wildlife Tour if you’re interested in having your itinerary planned for you, jam-packed with the best activities.
Alternatively, customize your own Kangaroo Island adventure like I did! Grab a rental car on Discover Cars in Adelaide for the freedom to explore at your own pace!
It’s like having your personal hop-on-hop-off adventure, minus the bus and the cheesy tour guide!
How long does it take to drive around the whole of Kangaroo Island?
Get ready for an epic road trip! The complete loop around the island takes around 3 to 4 hours non-stop.
But of course, you absolutely must make stops at iconic spots like Remarkable Rocks and Vivonne Bay and uncover hidden gems along the way which will increase your road trip to 5 to 6 hours.
In the end, it’s not just about reaching the destination; it’s about soaking in all the stunning landscapes so budget loads of time!
The Wrap-Up: Top 8 Free Things to Do in Kangaroo Island
And there you have it, my top 8 free things to do in Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Island offers an abundance of incredible free activities that showcase the island’s natural beauty, wildlife, and unique charm.
From breathtaking bays to exploring pristine beaches and discovering fascinating wildlife, there’s no shortage of free adventures to be had.
But that’s not all!
As a bonus, the island also offers some fantastic budget-friendly options, from tasting locally made spirits to visiting national parks with incredible natural formations.
Whether you’re a nature lover, wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking an affordable getaway, Kangaroo Island has got you covered.
So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey filled with unforgettable experiences that won’t break the bank.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve visited Kangaroo Island!
DO YOU HAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR TRIP?
✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner
➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars
✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads
➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com
✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
Read more about Kangaroo Island travel:
12 Best Beaches in South Australia With Insanely Blue Waters
11 Unique Accommodation McLaren Vale: Luxury One Of Kind!
6+ Unforgettable Mclaren Vale Wine Tours
Guide to Kangaroo Island Accommodation, Getting Around & How Much!
Is Kangaroo Island Worth Visiting?