Kangaroo Island travel guide

Kangaroo Island travel guide

Find out why Kangaroo Island is suddenly in the news.

Unmistakably, it is one of the many islands of Australia. All of a sudden, it is seeing a large influx of visitors and more are expected in the early months of 2024.

I think it is all because of a mention by the Lonely Plant  that goes to say that Kangaroo Island is number 2 in the list of top places to visit in the coming leap year.

Let us see what is so special about the island that is floating in the Indian Ocean.

Overview of the Kangaroo Island:

Kangaroo Island is strikingly beautiful with natural attractions. In addition, wildlife in this part of Australia is so unique that the island beckons ardent wildlife, and marine life enthusiast.

It also implies the island is good for scuba diving and snorkeling. The scuba divers are more focused to see the live sea lions swimming  freely.

Location of Kangaroo Island:

As we see the end of South Australia state, we can safely assume, Adelaide city is the nearest big city to Kangaroo Island.

The distance between the two is only 112 km. I think a fast ferry will get you to the island in about 4 hours!

Here is something interesting about the island’s geography. Kangaroo Island’s eastern (the island’s width) is more than its length. It’s an east west island end is facing a strait called “Backstairs Passage”.

You can see the Backstairs Passage between Cape Jervis on the Australian mainland and Penneshaw, the second biggest city on the Kangaroo Island.

So, this must be also an entry point to the island from Cape Jervis.

The strait separates the island from its parents.

How to reach Kangaroo Island?

By flight, it is 30 minutes from Adelaide. From Cape Jervis, the ferry ride involves just 45 minutes to cross the Backstairs Package.

It is as easy as that.

How many days you require to see all of the island’s attractions?

One day should be sufficient. It implies, you need not look for any hotels on the island to stay.

Plan a day trip either from Adelaide or from Cape Jervis.

Staying on the Kangaroo Island:

Nonetheless, if you desire, you can stay on the island. There are hotels, tents, cottage, and affordable lodges.

I would stay on the island, just to unwind. My preference would be a basic tent on the beach and I can keep listening to the waves until morning.

Where should you stay on the island?

Penneshaw town is a good place as it is a happening place and is near some attractions. Penguins Center is located in this city.

What to eat on the island?

Oysters are specially cooked for the tourists in every restaurant on the island.

If you are fond of fresh seafood, you can order a platter of it. It contains, oysters, marron ( a kind of river crayfish), King George Whiting (really a king’s name for a fish).

Finally, you can find dried ‘abalone’, a species of ‘mollusc’. It is an expensive dish in South Australia. It will resemble a snail. Abalones are raised on exclusive farms.

Attractions of Kangaroo Island:

  1. Penguins in Penneshaw

There is a “Little Penguins” Center in Penneshaw, the eastern hub of the Kangaroo Island.

YouTube video

Aren’t they cute and looking vulnerable?

You should join an organized Penguin tour in Penneshaw.

  1. Kingscote


The street looks calm, and serene. It is the largest city on the island. It receives domestic flights but only from Adelaide.

For all practical purposes, Kingscote is the capital of Kangaroo Island. As a matter of fact, the Aussie Government once contemplated to keep Kinscote as the capital of South Australia but later gave up the idea.

  1. Hope Cottage Museum

The museum’s displays convey the history of the Kangaroo Island and Kingscote.

  1. Old Mulberry Tree

Old Mulberry Tree

It may not look like an old tree. None the less, it is 187 years old. As such, it is the oldest fruit tree in all of South Australia State. It is still bearing fruits.

Have you ever tasted the Mulberry? I once bought this fruit’s concentrate. The taste was only ‘so-so’.

The old mulberry tree is a heritage tourist landmark on the island!

The small boat jetty serves as a jumping off point for scuba divers.

Surprisingly, pelicans assemble here and the public love feeding them.

YouTube video

What a lovely sight! Pelicans are strong flyers in spite of their weight.

In Kingscote also, you can join an organized penguins tour.

  1. Wildlife and marine life spotting

Other wildlife and marine life you can spot in Kingscoat and elsewhere on the Kangaroo Island.

Apart from Pelicans, and Little Penguins, you can spot the following:

  • Long-nosed Fur Seals
  • Goanna (Sand Monitor)
  • Sea Eagles
  • Australian Brush Turkey
  • Mallee Fowl
  • Koala
  • Kangaroo
  • Echidna
  • Sea Lion
  • Leafy Seadragon

It looks scary. It is fitting to call it a dragon.

  • Kangaroo Island Dunnart
  • Tammar Wallaby

It’s a part of Marsupial species that is similar to Kangaroo.

  1. Finders Chase National Park

The star attractions in Finders Chase National Park are these rock formations that are aptly named as “Remarkable Rocks”.

To see this remarkable sight, you have to reach almost the western tip of the island.

From Kingscote, you need to travel in a taxi because the distance is 110 km!

All the above mentioned wildlife can also be watched in this NP.

  1. Seal Bay Conservation Park

Seals and Sea Lions are different but by a casual glance you cannot differentiate between them.

In this conservation park, the Australian Sea Lions are highly protected. The sanctuary is one of the top attractions on Kangaroo Island.

The conservation bay is on the southern side of the island. Kingscote is 50 km north of the Seal Conservation Bay.

  1. Vivian Bay


It is further 10 km south of the Seal Conservation Bay. I think this is the southern end of the Kangaroo Island.

  1. The Pages

It is a peculiar name given to a pair of uninhabited islands and a reef that are floating in the Backstairs Passage, the strait that runs between South Australia’s mainland and the Kangaroo Island.

This is a protected area to give sanctuary to the Little Penguins, and the Australian Sea Lions.

You have to ask around in Penneshaw if there is a boat tour of The Pages.

  1. Murray Lagoon

Murray Lagoon is located within the vicinity of Australian Sea Lion Conservation Park. Inexplicably, the lagoon, though not very big is rich with marine lives that attract quite a few species of aquatic birds.

Two more places to watch the island’s rich and diverse animals, amd birds:

  1. The Hanson Bay Wildlife

It is a sanctuary for Koalas,

  1. The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Ss the name of the wildlife parks indicates, you can spot the kangaroos quickly.

In addition, Brown Capuchin Monkeys are also easily recognized with its distinctly different face of a monkey.

  1. Beaches of repute on Kangaroo Island.

Most of the beaches are swimmers’ friendly.

Don’t forget to visit:

  • Emu Bay
  • Snellings Beach
  • Island Beach

What to buy on the island?

Ligurian Honey and locally brewed wines make great purchases. Pure eucalyptus oil is widely available. The oil is locally manufactured.

Now, do you realize why Kangaroo Island is among the must-visit places in 2024?