From exploring unique wildlife to this region to sailing along the breathtaking coastline, these are just some of the things to do in Kangaroo Island.
Australia is home to unique wildlife, no surprise here.
Home to stunning coastline and beaches. And dirt roads of intense red colour, a symbol of the Australian outback.
Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide, offers a chance to see many of Australia’s wonders within a relatively short distance making it one of the best places to visit in South Australia.
Relatively because Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, almost 160km long!
With several national parks, abundant wild animals, and mostly untouched by tourism, Kangaroo Island should be on your Australia travel plan.
Now that you’ve decided to go, you need to know what to do on Kangaroo Island!
READ MORE: Be sure to add these great things to do in Adelaide while you are in South Australia.
Top Things To See And Things Do In Kangaroo Island
The island is packed with outdoor activities and wildlife watching, but also offers many creature comforts in the form of local delicacies and wine tasting.
We’ve put together this simple list of the best things to do in Kangaroo Island, from meeting the local wildlife to having all kinds of adventures!
1) Meet The Wildlife
Abundant wildlife is a top reason to visit this South Australia gem.
Be prepared to stop for wildlife watching regularly. From Kangaroos, Kingscote penguins, brushtail possums, sea lions, fur seals, Tammar wallabies, birds, to short-beaked echidnas, and goannas – you will see them all.
Make sure to visit the Hanson Bay Sanctuary for a chance of seeing wild Koalas in their natural habitat, hanging and sleeping in eucalyptus trees.
2) Check Out The National Parks And Conversations Parks
Tourist attractions on Kangaroo Island take the form of natural landscapes. Kangaroo Island hosts seven parks, of which Flinders Chase National park is the most popular.
The other parks and conservation areas are Cape Borda Lightstation, Lashmar Conservation Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Seal Bay Conservation Park, Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park, and Cape Willoughby Conservation Park.
South Australia is known for its preserved nature and it’s one of the things to see in Kangaroo Island.
READ MORE: Here’s our brand new guide to travelling to Australia!
3) Don’t Miss The Water Activities
With such a long coastline, you are bound to find an activity to get your feet wet.
A sailing trip can take you fishing or dolphin-watching. Surfers will enjoy the waves of Vivonne Bay.
Kayakers will explore many of the sheltered areas along the coast.
4) Get Underwater And Go Scuba Diving
Given the abundant marine life, chances are you will encounter Truncate coralfish, Blue Devil, Boarfish, and Harlequin. You might even see a Leafy Sea Dragon.
For an opportunity to dive with seals or sea lions, head to Western River Cove. Or check one of the 50 recorded shipwrecks.
Note that rip currents and undertow might make diving challenging, and better reserved for those with diving experience.
5) Fall In Love With Hiking On Kangaroo Island
With so many parks to explore, hikers can choose from leisurely walks to the Remarkable Rocks (0.5 miles / 1 km) or around the Platypus Waterholes (3 miles / 4.5 km), or plan longer and more challenging hikes like the Hanson Bay Hike (11 miles / 18 km).
A multi-day trek is also possible along the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, a 45-mile 5-day trek that traverses the Flinders Chase National Park.
6) Get The Adrenaline Pumping With Some Adventure Activities
Go ATV or horseback riding, try sandboarding, or explore the caves in Kelly Hills. There really is a lot of amazing adventures to do in Kangaroo Island, if you’re feeling up for it.
7) Enjoy The Sightseeing
Both the Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery and the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse are appealing Kangaroo Island attractions and offer a glimpse into its history.
8) Food & Wine Tasting
Seafood and local products are readily available for gourmet experiences, accompanied with wine tasting from the local productions. A great way to explore Kangaroo Island with your taste buds.
Bonus: Our 3-Day Kangaroo Island Road Trip Itinerary
Unless you fly into Kingscote, you will most likely reach Kangaroo Island via the SeaLink Ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw.
The little town offers several accommodations, from small hotels to resorts. A campground is available for budget-conscious travelers.
With such a long island and given the number of things to do on Kangaroo Island, you can spend several days on the island.
See what we recommend for the perfect 3-day itinerary Kangaroo Island tour.
Only have one day to explore Kangaroo Island? We recommend this tour from Adelaide to make the most of your time!
Day 1 – North Shore
American River is a great first stop on your way north from the ferry terminal at Penneshaw. The town itself is small and built on the oyster industry.
The American River has a stretch of beaches great for swimming or sunbathing and you can’t beat views of the mainland from there.
A short 10-minute drive from Kingscote or about 1 hour from American River over a paved road takes you to Emu Bay.
Emu Bay is large with only a few houses scattered around the waterfront.
There are no shops, no restaurants, nothing else than the beach all for yourself.
With shallow waters and a long white sand beach, Emu Bay is a popular swimming destination.
The main paved road leads towards the south of the island. However, if you want to experience the Australian “outback,” take the North Coast Road on the way to Stokes Bay.
The red dirt, the green eucalyptuses, the blue sky – this is Australia! Several side trails take you to small beaches and coves.
Stokes Bay is another large bay with white sand and rocky coast. But beware as it also has strong waves.
However, several rocks formed a broad pool, providing a more tranquil swim option if the surf is not appealing to you.
The road continues and passes by Cape Borda Lighthouse which was initially lighted for the first time in 1858.
Officially situated within the Flinders Chase National Park, the lighthouse offers sweeping views of the Investigator Strait and is the starting point of several hiking trails.
End your day with a 90-minute evening walk at the Hanson Bay Sanctuary, where several koalas live in the eucalyptus trees.
The koalas are most active at night, and the guided tour provides with knowledgeable information on the nocturne animals.
The sanctuary is also home to Tammar wallabies, echidnas, and kangaroos.
Spend your first night in a luxurious retreat, lodge, cabin around Flinders Chase National Park.
In the park, camp in one of the four campsites, or stay in the historic cottage previously used by the lighthouse keeper.
Day 2 – Flinders Chase National Park
The Flinders Chase National Park is a must-see while on Kangaroo Island so make sure to allocate time to visit and explore.
Start your day early for a walk around the Platypus Waterholes, and a chance of seeing the elusive animals.
Continue to Admirals Arch, one of Kangaroo Island’s most famous tourist attractions. Admiral’s Arch is by far one of the places to visit in Kangaroo Island for spectacular views.
Watch for the New Zealand fur seals, and try to spot the whales that pass the coast between May and October.
Another one of the iconic Kangaroo Island tourist attractions is the nearby Remarkable Rocks.
The unusual granite boulders were shaped by the rain and wind for over 500 million years.
The views from the Remarkable Rocks are stunning, and a must-see!
If wildlife is high on your travel list, head back to Hanson Bay Sanctuary for a daytime visit and watch the koalas at your own pace.
If you are interested in unusual underground formations, the caves of Kelly Hill or Admiral Arch offer exploration opportunities.
The last stop of the day is Vivonne Bay, considered on the of best Australian beaches.
The bay is a favorite surfing spot but beware of the strong undertow and high swells.
A colony of Australian sea lions resides at Vivonne Bay, making Vivonne Bay a popular wildlife-watching area.
Day 3 – Southern Shore
Seal Bay features a colony of animals of the same name reachable by a long boardwalk.
There, admire the Australian sea lions as they wander between dunes and the sea.
The Cape Gantheaume National Park is an extension of Vivonne Bay and Seal Bay.
From the park, you can go onto several hikes, including Murray Lagoon and the Coastal Trek.
The drive along the Estrees Bay Road is quite lovely and features a different landscape than the Flanders Chase National Park.
Head to Prospect Hill, also called Mount Thisby, for your last stop.
Hike up the 512 steps that take you to a 360-degree view of the island.
A historical side note: Captain Matthew Flinders hiked the trail – minus the steps – when he explored the island in 1802.
As you complete your 3-day trip around Kangaroo Island, drive up to Penneshaw to catch your afternoon ferry back to Cape Jervis.
Kangaroo Island Travel Guide
You have marked down what to see in Kangaroo Island and now you need to plan the rest of your trip!
To help you organise better, we are sharing our best tips on how to get to Kangaroo Island and where to stay!
How To Get To Kangaroo Island
You can either fly to Kingscote or go by ferry from Cape Jervis.
The island can easily be explored as a self-drive with a rental car, or through a guided tour from Adelaide.
Tour options include a simple day trip, but we recommend staying two to three to enjoy the island thoroughly.
If you drive, make sure to keep your car tank full, as you might drive a while before finding a gas station.
Avoid driving at night to prevent from hurting the wildlife.
Remember that the island is rather long, so plan enough driving time to go between locations.
Best Time To Visit Kangaroo Island
October to April, the Australian summer months, is usually the best time, with warm temperatures at around 95°F (35 ℃) and dry weather.
During the winter months, June to September, the temperatures drop to 60°F (14 ℃) with rainy conditions.
Where To Stay On Kangaroo Island
From camping to luxurious resorts, you can find all expectations and budget.
The type of hotels might vary from town to town, so check before leaving as to where you would want to spend the night, and check what accommodations might be available.
During the warm months, plan to book in advance.
What To Eat & Drink
Given its extensive coastline, seafood is prevalent and fresh, including the freshwater crayfish locally called marron.
Dairy products are produced locally by farms like Island Pure Sheep Dairy.
Sweet tooth enthusiasts will enjoy the local honey ice-cream made from the Kangaroo Island Ligurian honey.
The island also holds about 30 wine growers and 12 wineries.
Sip the locally-produced Gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia’s first distillery, wine taste at the Snow Dragon Wines cellar, or splurge on fresh oysters at the Oyster Farm Shop.
Important – Quarantine
To protect its unique wildlife, Kangaroo Island holds quarantine to stop pests and diseases from mainland Australia to enter the island.
Restricted items included bees and honey products, potatoes, foxes, and rabbits.
Check the Australian Interstate Quarantine website for the latest on this topic.
Have you been to this beautiful place before? Let us know your favourite things to do in Kangaroo Island below!
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