Beginner’s Guide to Kangaroo Island

In South Australia you can go overseas without leaving the State. Overseas at least to Kangaroo Island – this means you have to cross a stretch of water by ferry to get there. Once you are there, there is a natural, remote paradise to explore. Kangaroo Island is one of the most popular destinations in South Australia and top of the tourist list.

Getting there

A ferry ride from Cape Jervis will have you on the island in 45 minutes. The easiest way to get around on the island is by car and if you have a vehicle already, this can be driven on board. However, if you are travelling down on the Kangaroo Island transfer shuttle, you can board as a passenger and either pick up a hire car at the ferry terminal or catch the shuttle bus to your accommodation.


Whether you base yourself in Penneshaw, Kingscote or American River; the three main towns on the island, there are a range of accomodation to suit all budgets and travel style. You can stay at one of the resorts, hostels or campsites around the island.

The best way to search for suitable accommodation is on the official Sealink website. They list all the available properties based on your travel dates and accommodation type.

Getting around

As mentioned above, a car is the easiest and most convenient way to get around the island. However, you may also pick up a day tour which takes you around to the main sites of interest. Day tours can be booked before your arrival through Sealink. This website also provides you with suggested self drive touring routes. If you do drive, be sure to fill up with petrol early in the day as most service stations tend to close early on the island.

Eating in and out

The main restaurants are in the three main towns of Kingscote, Penneshaw and American River with smaller venues open around the island. Supermarkets are also available if you stay in self catering apartments of campgrounds. However, be mindful that some venues close early on the island and are not open as late as restaurants you will find on the mainland.

Things to do

Seal Bay is located within the Seal Bay Conservation Park and provides an open playground for the 12,000 sea lions that live and play there. You can only visit with a guide and must book in advance. Your guide will take you down to the beach, often passed sleeping sea lions along the path. Once on the beach you must keep your distance – and watch for the playful sea lions charging down the sand dunes to the water.

Remarkable Rocks located in Flinders Chase National Park and the best spot to watch either an island sunrise or sunset. You can walk around the natural wind eroded sculptures and admire the orange glow as the sun glows around them. Early morning or late evening are also the best times to avoid the crowds.

Admirals Arch is also located in Flinders Chase National Park. It is one of the most impressive naturally formed geological wonders on the far side of the island. The winds are strong on this side of the island so be careful on your way down. Once you are on the viewing deck, you may be lucky to spot some sea lions lazing around as the waves wash across the smooth rock surface.

Cape du Couedic Lighthouse was named by French explorer Nicolas Baudin in honour of his friend and fellow sea captain Charles Louis, Chevalier du Couedic de Kergoualer (1740-1780). The treacherous waters off Kangaroo Island had seen numerous shipwrecks leading to the SA Marine Board establishing a lighthouse on the south west point in 1902.

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