Why should I visit Kaenguru Island

Kangaroo Island: Wilderness, Animals & White Beaches

Kangaroo Island is a living nature paradise, full of wilderness, animals and white sandy beaches. The third largest island on the continent belongs to the state of South Australia and is only 112 kilometers south-west of the metropolis of Adelaide with around 5,000 residents. It is just 13 kilometers to Cape Jervis or Fleurieu Peninsua on the mainland. In addition, Kangaroo Island stretches 155 kilometers from west to east, 55 kilometers from north to south, and the coast is 540 kilometers long. Despite the booming tourism, the island is still quite sleepy and rural, with the exception of the summer and Easter holidays, when crowds of people populate the island. By the way, the locals simply call their little paradise KI.


Activities & sights



There are seven regions in total, which are listed clockwise starting from the east: Kingscote & Districts, American River, Dudley Peninsula, South Coast, West End, North Coast & Heartland in the center. There are also four main locations: Kingscote, Penneshaw on the Dudley Peninsula, Parndana in the Heartland and American River.



It is believed that Aborigines lived on Kangaroo Island more than 16,000 years ago and up to around 2,000 years ago, but they left the island for unknown reasons. In the language of the Australian natives, the vacation paradise is called "Karta" (land of death). At the end of the 18th century, Captain Matthew Flinders explored Australia and gave Kangaroo Island its current name in 1802. After the island was extensively mapped by the French Nicolas Baudin (hence many of the French-influenced names on Kangaroo Island come from), the first European settlers arrived at the beginning of the 19th century to hunt seals and sea lions. On July 27, 1836, the Duke of Yorke anchored in Nepean Bay and established the first official settlement of South Australia. Today, right here is Reeves Point in Kingscote, which was declared a cultural heritage of South Australia in 1982. More than 60 ships have sunk off the coast of the island since 1847, some of the wrecks of which can now be viewed in exhibitions.


Museums, culture & art

There are a few old buildings, museums and art galleries on Kangaroo Island, most of which are located in and around Kingscote. In Kingscote you can pay a visit to the Hope Cottage Museum. Penneshaw owns the Art Museum of Kangaroo Island. The West End, on the other hand, has a few historic buildings. There is an old school building on the North Coast and Heartland has a museum and Hall of Fame. Furthermore, the historical lighthouses should be mentioned, such as the 27 meter high Cape Willoughby, the Cape Borda Lighthouse in Flinders Chase National Park and the Cape du Couedic from 1909.


Shopping & Markets

The selection of inexpensive shops and stores that are familiar from larger cities on the mainland cannot be found on Kangaroo Island. Nevertheless, there are enough supermarkets, petrol stations, banks and ATMs here. The best place to go shopping is the larger town of Kingscote, although Penneshaw also has supermarkets. A visit to the regularly held Penneshaw Farmers Market on the Dudley Peninsula is also worthwhile.


Culinary, restaurants, pubs & cafes

Kangaroo Island is particularly known for sheep cheese, honey from the "Lingurian" bee, fresh fish, lobsters, marrons (freshwater lobsters), oysters, wine and the delicious South Rock lamb. Since the "Ligurian Bee", originally from Italy, is famous worldwide for its tasty honey, there is now a protected area on KI for the conservation of this rare species of bees. A good selection of local produce is available for sale at the cozy Penneshaw Farmers Market. Restaurants and cafes can be found in the larger towns such as Kingscote, Penneshaw and American Village. But there are also a few such locations along the larger streets and in the more well-known villages. Furthermore, wine has been grown on KI since 1837, which has resulted in 30 wine-growing areas and 18 different brands to date. Most wineries offer wine tastings every day and are always happy to welcome interested visitors. Even if there are some delicious products directly from the producer on Kangaroo Island, many visitors are disappointed by the quite expensive restaurants.



Although there are a few pubs in Kingscote, AI is certainly not a night owl's paradise.


Nature & parks

The landscape of the island is characterized by white sandy beaches, lagoons, dense eucalyptus forests of the Flinders Chase National Park, high cliffs and sand dunes. But the animal world is also very diverse with lots of kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions, New Zealand seals, around 250 species of birds (which include pelicans and small penguins), koalas, beaked hedgehogs, goannas, etc. With a little luck you can even see the shy and rare platypus here. Seal Bay Conservation Park, Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Willoughby Conservation Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Cape Borda Lightstation, Lashmar Conservation Park, and Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park are some of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries on Kangaroo Island. Highlights, however, are the large Flinders Chase National Park, Seal Bay Conservation Park and the Admiral Arch, which is home to New Zealand seals and sea lions. In addition, more than 7,000 seals breed around the Cape du Couedic lighthouse every year.



The quietest beaches and the safest places to swim are in the northern part of Kangaroo Island. These include Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, and Snellings Beach. The South Coast, on the other hand, is a bit wilder, which is why Pennington Bay, Vivionne Bay and Hanson Bay are popular surf spots.


Festivals & Events

Many different festivals and events take place on Kangaroo Island every year. The Art Feast, an art, delicatessen and wine festival held in October, and the Speed ​​Shears event in November are the most popular events.


More activities & sights

Kangaroo Island is an absolute paradise for nature lovers and hiking fans, as the wilderness here is still almost untouched and there are some very good hiking trails. Water sports like sailing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and canoeing are also very popular on KI. Surf beginners will find good conditions in Stokes Bay and Vivonne Bay, while advanced surfers will find what they are looking for almost all over the island. In addition, almost everywhere anglers have the opportunity to pull out their fishing rod to catch a King George whitefly, a Trevally, snapper or one of the large Samson fish.


Highlights & recommendations from the editors

  • Visit historic Reeves Point in Kingscote
  • Sunbathe & relax in the dreamy Vivonne Bay
  • A visit to the Cape Borda Lighthouse in Flinders Chase NP
  • Admire the sunset at Admiral Arch
  • Buy fresh produce at the Penneshaw farmers market
  • Watch sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park
  • Climb the 512 steps to Prospect Hill in American River
  • Taste the fine honey of the Ligurian Bee

Popular tours & activities

Here you will find all typical local activities for every taste and budget. Browse through our extensive range and plan your dream trip today. Have fun!

Helpful information


Arrival & onward journey

You can get here by car, bus, ferry and plane. With the automobile you can get around the island quickly and easily, as there is a road network of around 1,600km in total. Paved roads connect Penneshaw, American River, Kingscote, Parndana and Flinders Chase. The rest of the roads are simple gravel roads, but they can also be used without all-wheel drive. If you decide to come to Kangaroo Island by car, you can take the SeaLink ferry (see below) for a fee. With a rental car, however, it should be noted that some providers do not allow a crossing on the mainland. This should definitely be clarified in advance with the car rental company. Otherwise, there is still the option of renting a vehicle on AI. This can be done in Kingscote, Penneshaw and Kingscote Airport.

SeaLink provides both daily Passenger and vehicle ferries as well as bus connections are available. The ferries commute back and forth via the Backstairs Passage between Cape Jervis (Fleurieu Peninsula) and Penneshaw (Dudley Peninsula). Each crossing takes around 45 minutes and covers a distance of around 13 kilometers. You can also use the buses use the SeaLink Connection (Adelaide - Cape Jervis) and the SeaLink Shuttle on the island (Penneshaw - American River - Kingscote). In addition, there are various private providers to choose from, where you can take part in tours or book a private transfer.

On the Kingscote Airport Arrival and departure is also possible in Cygnet River (Arronmore Road). This is about 14 km outside of Kingscote. There are regular flight connections with Adelaide and Melbourne. You can also use various private airport shuttle services here, which go to various locations from Kingscote Airport.

Note: When entering the country, special quarantine regulations must be observed. For example, no specific animals, plants, etc. may be imported.


Tourist Information

In Penneshaw (Howard Drive) the large Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Center is responsible for the distribution of information material. There is also the Flinders Chase National Park Information Center at Flinders Chase National Park.


Further information

On Kangaroo Island you won't find the large selection of cheap shops and products that you are used to on the mainland, but there are smaller grocery stores, gas stations and banks in the larger towns. However, the best selection is in Kingscote and Penneshaw, with American River, Parndana and Vivionne Bay also having smaller shops. Banks can be found in Kingscote, Penneshaw and American River, and ATMs are in Parndana and the Flinders Chase Visitor Center. You can refuel in Kingscote, Brownlow, Penneshaw, Island Beach, Parndana, Vivionne Bay and at the KI Wilderness Retreat at Flinders Range National Park.


Picture gallery: Great impressions of all highlights

You will find numerous motifs in our unique Kangaroo Island picture gallery. Gain authentic impressions and enjoy a piece of Australia from home. We wish you a lot of fun!

Most popular travel destinations on Kangaroo Island


First impressions in the video