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Kangaroo Island is a destination everyone travelling to Australia should explore. Beautiful rugged coastlines, turquoise waters, native animals, unique natural formations and wines to taste. Whether you’re convinced and already planning your trip to Kangaroo Island or still need a little push, these 10 things to go in Kangaroo Island will have you sold!
Bays, beaches, coves and national parks showcase the untouched natural beauty of Australia. I recommend hiring a car and self-driving from place to place as Kangaroo Island is quite spread out with limited transport options. The only other alternative is to go with a tour group.
I travelled to Kangaroo Island in December on a solo road trip and had an absolute blast! Whether you are a solo traveller like me, with your partner, friends or family there are loads to explore, so don’t be shy!
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Getting to Kangaroo Island
To get to Kangaroo Island from Adeliade 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 travelling 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 things to do in 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!
Map of Kangaroo Island Attractions
Kangaroo Island is bigger than you might think, so it is essential you plan you itinerary carefully and strategically to avoid driving all over the place to see the top 10 things to do in Kangaroo Island!
I have created a map of Kangaroo Island attractions to help you put together your itinerary!
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!
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10 Things to do in Kangaroo Island!
Let’s get stuck into the top 10 things to do in Kangaroo Island! How long you have on the island will determine how many sights you can see, so below I have ordered the attractions based on my experience and preference with number 1 being my absolute favourite!
Vivonne Bay Jetty
At the top of the list, we have the breathtaking Vivionne 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 Vivionne Bay Jetty. Or if you’re like me, take some beautiful photos and enjoy a packed lunch sitting on the pier.
Kangaroo Island Photography Essentials
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 main beach. Go for a dip in the water, but don’t go to far out as great white sharks can be swimming near the shores!
Flinders Chase National Park
Next on the list of things to do in Kangaroo Island, we have Flinders Chase National Park! Located about an hour southwest of Kingscote, Flinders Chase is 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.
Weirs Cove Ruins Lookout
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.
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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.
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Up next on the things to do in Kangaroo Island is the hidden beach of Stokes Bay! A hidden paradise just waiting to be explored. Weave through a labyrinth of caves to get to the white sandy beach with turquoise waters, perfect for tanning, swimming or reading a good book.
A memorable experience of mine that I’m sure you too will also fall in love with.
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.
Explore Kangaroo Island Tours!
Visit a Few Kangaroo Island Wineries
End a busy day exploring the beaches, coves and bays with a local wine tasting. I mean you are on holiday right!
When I was in Kangaroo Island, I visited 3 wineries and 1 distillery.
Starting off with the beachside Bay of Shoals winery where I could sip wine and eat cheese at all afternoon and glimpse out at the vineyard on the beach.
For $10 grab a wine-tasting paddle and take it out to the park benches that overlook the vineyard. Perfect for a couple, or a solo traveller like me! This winery I found was best for scenery, but if you are a wine connoisseur, I would recommend Springs Road Winery. My favourite sip was the Kangaroo Island Rose and sparkling Shiraz, simply divine. Grab some Brie cheese that pairs beautifully with the wines and discover more about the sip you’re tasting.
The next winery I visited, before jumping on the Sealink ferry back to the mainland, was at False Cape Wines. A great place for bigger groups and families to share a cheese platter, grab a wine paddle and enjoy the outdoor gardens. It is also a great place to kill time when you are waiting for your ferry.
If you’re more of a gin or spirit drinker, Kangaroo Island Spirits is for you! Gin, Vodka, Liqueurs or a bite to eat, KIS has it all.
Number 7 on the list of 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!
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.
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.
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Lastly on the list of 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 snow boar and test your skills on the sand dunes.
The Wrap Up: Top 10 Things to do in Kangaroo Island
And there you have it, my top 10 things to do in Kangaroo Island. Let me know in the comments if you’ve visited Kangaroo Island!
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