Kangaroo Island itinerary including travel tips for best places to see and things to do

Kangaroo Island Itinerary (+ Best Things to Do & Travel Guide)

In Australia, Oceania, Trip itineraries by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

Are you planning to visit Kangaroo Island in Australia and wondering what there is to see and do there? Or maybe you’re looking for a sample Kangaroo Island itinerary that brings you to all the best places on the island? This article should answer all your questions. Take a look!

I had heard so many great things about Kangaroo Island in Southern Australia, so it was one of the must-see places for me when preparing our Australia trip itinerary. We spent four days on Kangaroo Island with kids and it didn’t disappoint. Kangaroo Island has all the ingredients for a perfect family trip: beautiful nature, lots of wildlife, and plenty of space for kids to play and explore.

Kangaroo Island is not a place most people choose to visit if they only have a few weeks in Australia. However, if you can, add it to your Australia trip itinerary, even if only for a day or two. Kangaroo Island is one of the most authentic places you can visit in Australia. If you love pristine untouched nature and wildlife, you’ll love Kangaroo Island!

This Kangaroo Island guide gives you a short overview of the best things to do on Kangaroo Island, our detailed 4-day Kangaroo Island itinerary, and accommodation advice.

Here you can find more information about planning a trip to Australia: where to start, when to go, what to see. Here you can read more about traveling to Australia with kids.

Important Update: Please note that the fires of January 2020 have destroyed lots of forests and wildlife on Kangaroo Island. The western part of the island (where, among others, Flinders Chase NP is located) has been impacted the most. Many properties, including the beautiful Southern Ocean Lodge, have been destroyed completely. While it’s important to support local communities in such a tragic time and, hopefully, tourists will soon come back to the island, it’s also very important that you check for the most up-to-date information when planning your trip to the impacted areas.

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island Australia
Beautiful coastline of Flinders Chase NP
 

How Long to Spend on Kangaroo Island

There is so much to see on Kangaroo Island that you could easily spend a week here and not get bored. Visiting for 2 – 3 days will allow you to see the main highlights of the island. If you stay for 4 – 5 days, you will be able to visit all the best places and some lesser-known attractions, as well as take the time to see some wildlife.

We had 4 days on Kangaroo Island and covered pretty much all the best places that we had on our list. Below you can find our detailed itinerary for Kangaroo Island.

Because we visited with young kids, we traveled slower. We chose to explore fewer places rather than try to see everything – that’s just the small price you have to pay when traveling with young kids.

If you visit Kangaroo Island without children, in principle, you can see a lot more in the same period of time than we did. Or, if you travel really fast, you can probably cover our itinerary and see most of the best places on Kangaroo Island in two or three days.

Top Places to See & Things to Do on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island has a lot to offer for young and old. Since we only had a few days on the island and we were visiting with three young kids (3, 3 and 5 at that time), we obviously couldn’t see and do everything.

However, for the sake of providing you with the most complete guide for visiting Kangaroo Island, I created a list containing all the best places to see on Kangaroo Island.

This list covers all the places which we visited during our trip to Kangaroo Island (and which you’ll find mentioned in our itinerary below). In addition, it also contains some other places that are well worth a visit, but for which we didn’t have the time. I did a lot of research before our trip and all these places are well worth a visit on Kangaroo Island. Take a look!

  1. Flinders Chase National Park:
    • Remarkable Rocks
    • Admirals Arch
    • Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse
  2. Seal Bay Conservation Park
  3. Little Sahara
  4. Vivonne Bay
  5. Stokes Bay
  6. Kelly Hill Caves
  7. Prospect Hill
  8. The lighthouses of Kangaroo Island: Cape Borda, Cape Willoughby
  9. Kingscote Pelicans
  10. The colorful cliffs of Red Banks
  11. Raptor Domain
  12. Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
  13. Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery
  14. Clifford’s Honey Farm
Pelican on Kangaroo Island
Pelican on Kangaroo Island
 

Kangaroo Island Itinerary

As already mentioned, we visited Kangaroo Island with kids. Young kids. So our itinerary is quite easy-going with lots of relaxing time to explore and enjoy the area.

If you are short on time, you can probably see all the same places in three, or maybe even two days. Take a look at how we planned our time.

Day 1: Fleurieu Peninsula. Cape Jervis – Kangaroo Island. Prospect Hill. Seal Bay.

Fleurieu Peninsula

In the morning, we left Adelaide for the Cape Jervis ferry that would bring us to Kangaroo Island. We took the scenic road through the incredibly picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula. Green rolling hills landscapes reminded us of New Zealand. As it often goes on a road trip, we felt sorry about not having the time to explore the area a bit more.

Fleurieu Peninsula Southern Australia
Fleurieu Peninsula
 

Kangaroo Island Ferry: Cape Jervis – Penneshaw

We had booked the Kangaroo Island ferry in advance and in no time we were on the boat and on our way to Kangaroo Island. The trip took some 45 minutes, but it was a bit choppy, so we spent most of the time on the upper deck enjoying the beautiful views.

You can find the Kangaroo Island ferry timetable and other practical information on the SeaLink website

Penneshaw, where the Kangaroo Island ferry arrives, is a tiny little town with not much to see. We stopped at the petrol station and a small supermarket to stock up on some provisions for the next couple of days and headed straight to Seal Bay.

Prospect Hill

Prospect Hill was the very first place we visited on Kangaroo Island. We climbed the 512 steps to the top of the highest point on Kangaroo Island, with rewarding views of the island and mainland. At first, we were not sure if our 3-year olds could do this climb, but they loved the stairs and hardly needed any help to reach the top.

Climbing the Prospect Hill on Kangaroo Island with kids
Climbing the Prospect Hill
 

Seal Bay

No family trip to Kangaroo Island would be complete without a visit to Seal Bay. Seal Bay is the home to a colony of Australian sea lion. You can visit the beach where the seals live (with the guide only), or you can opt to explore the place from a boardwalk with several viewing platforms. We did both and, at least on the day we were there, there was not much you could see from the boardwalk. All the seals were close to the water, and the only way to get somewhat close to them was indeed with a guide.

It was a nice experience, especially for the children, who loved seeing these wild animals in their natural environment. There were baby seals as well and so there was plenty of action around us to keep even the 3-year olds interested. But the guide we had was really not suitable for the job (or she had a bad day), as she spent more time telling the people what (not) to do rather than tell us about the seals. All in all, we were glad we did the tour, as that was the best way to see the animals up close.

Several months later we visited Cape Cross Seal Colony in Namibia and that was a completely different experience. Tens of thousands of seals, some so close that you could touch them, and no guides to yell at people who walk too fast, too slow, or too close to the animals. If we had been to Namibia first, then I’m sure we would have found the Seal Bay not as impressive. But it was the first time we and the kids could see the seals from close by, and so at that time, it was worth the visit for us.

Seal Bay is located on the Southern Part of Kangaroo Island, it’s about 1h30 drive from Penneshaw and 45min from Kingscote. For further practical information, please refer to the Seal Bay website.

Seal Bay Kangaroo Island
Seal Bay
 

Day 2: Flinders Chase National Park Area

The second day of our Kangaroo Island itinerary was dedicated to one of its most extraordinary places – Flinders Chase National Park. If you have just one day on Kangaroo Island, this is the best area to visit. Read on!

Remarkable Rocks

We started our second day on Kangaroo Island with a visit to the most ‘remarkable’ landmark of Kangaroo Island – Remarkable Rocks. They don’t look that impressive from a distance, but once you get closer you cannot help but admire this natural wonder. Remarkable rocks are truly… remarkable. The featured image of this post is also one from Remarkable Rocks.

This was paradise for the kids: they were climbing on the rocks and playing hide and seek in the hollow spaces underneath. They didn’t want to leave!

TIP: If you can, try to visit Remarkable Rocks early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Since most people stay on the other side of Kangaroo Island and the drive is long, the place is so much quieter in the morning or in the evening than during the day.

Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park Kangaroo Island Australia
Remarkable Rocks
 

Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse

Our second stop for the day was at Cape Du Couedic Lightstation. There were some hiking paths in the area, but our kids were a bit too young to do a serious hike, so we limited our visit to a short walk and a picnic with a beautiful view.

Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island
Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse
 

Admirals Arch

Another highlight of our visit to Kangaroo Island was the area around Admirals Arch. A beautiful coastal landscape can be enjoyed from the well-maintained boardwalks all the way to the Arch itself. It’s perfect for families visiting Kangaroo Island with kids.

Admirals Arch area is home to a big colony of New Zealand seals. You cannot get as close to them as to the ones in Seal Bay, but the whole environment feels more natural.

Kids hiking to Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island
Walking to Admirals Arch
Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island Australia
Admirals Arch
 

Flinders Chase National Park

We ended our day with two short walks at the Flinders Chase National Park: Woodlands Walk and Platypus Walk. Both short and easy walks that our 3-year old twins could do without any help. In fact, we had difficulties keeping up with them.

Scenery of Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island
Scenery of Flinders Chase from one of the short walks
Wallaby at Flinders Chase on Kangaroo Island
We ran into this little wallaby on the Platypus Walk
 

Day 3: Hanson Bay – Vivonne Bay

This third day of our Kangaroo Island itinerary was quite relaxed. The places we visited might not be an absolute must, but they sure make your trip to Kangaroo Island more special and give you a better picture of how much this nature wonderland has to offer.

It was another relaxing day on Kangaroo Island, perfect with young kids. We saw koalas, kangaroos, incredible white-sand beaches, and amazing sand dunes… We ended the day with a real Australian dinner and some new finds, including a sparkling ale from the Coopers Brewery. Take a look!

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

We started our third day on Kangaroo Island with kids with a visit to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. This place is famous as the best place to see koalas on Kangaroo Island.

There were supposedly 20 of them when we visited, but we only saw six or seven. The staff made it easier to spot koalas by marking the trees where some of them were sitting. I understood that they do this every morning. It’s not the usual wildlife spotting, but still kind of fun.

First, look for a marked tree and then try to find the koala. Luckily, many of them were not too high in the trees and we could see them pretty well. We spent much too much time watching a koala with her baby. They are just so cute!

TIP: You may also want to read this post for another great spot to see wild koalas in Australia.

Koala with baby in the wild - Australia
Koala with a baby

There were also several wild kangaroos running around at Hanson Bay and we could get really close to them. Fascinating animals!

Jumping kangaroo on Kangaroo Island
Some kangaroos came really close to us
 

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay is one of those places that are literally in the middle of nowhere. We stopped at the local cafe/ supermarket/ bottle shop/ post office/ ATM/ petrol station / sports equipment store. A fascinating little place, that was for sale when we visited. Wonder what became of it now…

After lunch, we visited the beach that can be reached by taking the road just past the Vivonne Bay store.

Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island is known as one of Australia’s best beaches. The long, sandy beach sounded like an ideal location for family picnics, sunbathing, fishing and surfing. But on the day we were there, it was completely deserted.

We loved walking around and the kids couldn’t get enough of the amazing variety of seashells they found there. They wanted to take them all home!

Vivonne Bay beach on Kangaroo Island - one of Australia's best beaches
Vivonne Bay beach
 

Little Sahara

Our last stop for the day was a place known as Little Sahara. White sand dunes looked like they didn’t completely belong there – the landscape is so different from all the rest on Kangaroo Island…

Little Sahara is well known and appears to be quite popular for sandboarding, with locals and tourists alike. You could rent a sandboard at the Vivone Bay store, but we didn’t think it was such a good idea with the kids and didn’t bring a board with us.

Some people seem to have really mastered the art of sandboarding, but most others made for a fun spectacle. We limited our sand experience to climbing the dunes and rolling / gliding / running down again.

Little Sahara sand dunes - exploring Kangaroo Island with kids
Little Sahara sand dunes
 

Day 4: Stokes Bay – Kingscote

Day four was our last day on Kangaroo Island. We would take the ferry back to the mainland the next morning. So we slowly made our way back towards Kingscote… We spent the last night in a hotel close to the ferry and left early in the morning.

Stokes Bay

On our last day on the Kangaroo island, we visited Stokes Bay. It’s a hidden beach that is not visible from the parking area and you have to negotiate a very narrow passage under the rocks in order to get there. It’s an amazing experience!

Don’t miss this place if visiting Kangaroo island, and definitely with kids. They’ll love it! It’s also a great place for a family picnic on the beach.

TIP: Don’t miss Stokes Bay when visiting Kangaroo Island. It’s an amazing experience, one that will stay with you forever!

Narrow passage leading to Stokes Bay beach on Kangaroo Island
Narrow passage leading to Stokes Bay beach
Kids hiking to Stokes Bay Kangaroo Island
The walk to Stokes Bay is worth the trip in itself!
Stokes bay beach on Kangaroo Island
Stokes Bay beach
 

Kingscote Pelicans

In the late afternoon, we visited Kingscote, the biggest town on Kangaroo Island. But don’t let that mislead you. It’s a small place with just a few shops and restaurants and you don’t need that much time to visit it.

We had read about the daily pelican feeding at Kingscote Wharf at 5 PM. We were there about an hour before that and the pelicans were already waiting. No other people, no show, but plenty of birds to watch and photograph. We didn’t stay for the feeding, watching the birds before the crowds arrived was sufficient.

Update: One of our readers informed us that Pelican feeding has now been stopped. However, the birds are usually still around.

Pelican feeding Kingscote Kangaroo Island
Pelicans waiting for the feeding time at Kingscote Wharf
 

Where to Stay for Exploring Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is rather big and if you don’t want to spend too much time in the car, the best option is to stay close to Flinders Chase National Park for at least 2 nights and book the rest of your stay in or close to Kingscote or Penneshaw.

TIP: Kangaroo Island accommodation is scarce, so book well in advance!

Best Accommodation near Flinders Chase National Park

There are not that many hotels close to Flinders Chase, so your choices are limited. But the location makes it really worthwhile. Here are several hotels and accommodations on the South-Western side of Kangaroo Island:

Kingscote Accommodation

You have much more choice of where to stay on the Eastern side of Kangaroo Island. KingscoteAmerican River area and Penneshaw are probably the best choices.

We spent one night at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge – its location was good for visiting Kingscote one day and taking the ferry back to the mainland the next day.

Driving on Kangaroo Island
Driving on Kangaroo Island

So, this is our self-drive itinerary and guide to Kangaroo Island, a true nature lover’s paradise in Australia. It’s one of those places that made our whole Australia trip so much more special and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. If you have a few days to spare when planning a trip to the southern part of Australia, I really recommend visiting Kangaroo Island.

More tips for your trip to Australia:

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Kangaroo Island itinerary and best things to do
Kangaroo Island Australia - best places to see and things to do for your trip
Complete travel guide to Kangaroo Island: itinerary, top activities, and accommodation advice

Comments

  1. Hi Jurga! We are just back from our 6 week trip to Australia. I want to thank you for all the blogposts, they were a good skeleton to plan our trip! 🙂 We visited Kangaroo Island, such a beautiful island! Please note that Paul’s Place Wildlife Sanctuary is now permanently closed. There is also no Pelican feeding anymore in Kingscote, but he pelicans are still there. Cheers.

    1. Author

      Thanks a lot for letting me know, Benedikt. Will try to update my post asap.
      And I’m really glad to hear that you found our suggestions useful and had a great trip Down Under! It’s always great to hear from our readers.
      Happy travels.

  2. I am planning to visit Aus in Nov for 3 weeks. And as always I am more interested to see wild life and nature than just roaming around in city streets. Thanks for sharing your experience. its definitely gonna help to shape my upcoming trip this year 🙂

    1. Author

      Glad to hear you found this useful, Nav. Kangaroo Island is one of the nicest places we visited in Australia, definitely worth a trip.
      If you are still looking for itinerary ideas, please check our Australia trip itinerary, it has lots of suggestions for several different areas of the country.
      Enjoy your trip!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences, loved to read it! Did you use a 4-wheel drive or can you visit Kangaroo Island with a ‘normal’ car?

    1. Author

      Hi Leoni, you can visit Kangaroo Island with any regular car. All the main roads are paved and in very good condition. We had just a regular medium size car.

  4. Hello! I am planning a 2 week trip to Australia in May, and we are spending a few days around Adelaide/wine region before hitting the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. I can’t decide whether to visit Kangaroo Island, because it seems the ferry prices are almost $100pp and $200 for the car? Was that the case for you guys, or did you find any cheaper way to visit the island? There are some pricey tours from Adelaide to KI for the day but I’d be worried that it rushes through places and sights that should be more serene and soaked in. Thoughts? I have an extra day/night I can fit this in but not sure if swinging the $400 plus accommodation is doable or worth it. I do enjoy your blog and your photos are incredible. Thanks for your advice!

    1. Author

      Hi Katie, we went to Kangaroo Island by SeaLink ferry and I think they kind of have the monopoly over that route, which probably explains the prices. On the other hand, it’s also quite a far trip and I’m sure it costs a lot of money to operate those ferries… So yes, if you want to visit on your own with a car, I think that there is no cheaper option.
      I just checked for you and, in addition to day trips from Adelaide, there are also 2-day trips available, which seem to be very reasonably priced, taking into account that everything (ferry, transport, hotel, excursions, and even some meals) are included. Take a look here– there are at least 2 affordable (under 300 EUR – I’m seeing prices in my currency) two-day tours available. One of them has lots of fantastic reviews (the other one just a few – probably more recent) and really looks very good to me.
      Hope this helps.

  5. Wonderful write up and blog.. I have decided on a trip to Kangaroo Island next year. Did you drive throughout the road trip?
    Do you mind sharing your Tasmania itinerary for reference as well. Thank you in advance.

    1. Author

      Hi Feng, yes, we did a road trip in Australia and visited Kangaroo island by car. We rented the car in Adelaide, then took the ferry to the Kangaroo Island.
      Here you can find our Australian 5-week itinerary . It’s not as detailed as this one for Kangaroo Island, but mentions all the main places that we visited. We spent 10 days in Tasmania, you’ll find our day-to-day itinerary for Tasmania in there as well. I never found the time to write a separate blog post about our time in Tasmania though, but if you are just starting to plan your trip, it might be a good starting point… Hope this helps.

  6. We did our itinerary in the reverse direction! Kangaroo Island is one of these destinations that surpassed our expectations and wished we had spent more time exploring. Well, that’s just now an excuse to go back!

  7. We were in Australia for 3 months and didn’t even make it to Kangaroo Island! It looks and sounds awesome though, so we might have to go back someday. I know some people who are planning a trip to Australia at the moment, so I gave them the link to your blog post. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Author

      3 months in Australia! Lucky you. We spent 3,5 weeks the first time and 5 weeks the second time we visited and it felt as if we hardly scratched the surface.
      Thanks for sharing this with your friends. Actually, I have several other posts about Australia and one more in the making, if you’re interested: https://fullsuitcase.com/category/oceania/australia/

  8. I need need to go here! Not only because your photos make me love it so much but that name is just amazing!!! Keep it up with your fantastic posts! Looking forward to seeing more.

    1. Author

      I think you are like the 20th person who told me they want to visit Kangaroo Island after reading this article. It’s a beautiful and very diverse place and I agree, the name just adds to its charm ;). And yes, there are plenty of kangaroos on the Kangaroo Island. But it’s so much more than that, and that’s exactly what I wanted to show with this post. Glad it inspires!
      Thanks a lot for your kind words, Arianne!

  9. Wow there’s so much to do! Your pictures are just stunning it looks like a beautiful place

    1. Author

      There is definitely lots to see and do on Kangaroo Island, Stacey. It’s so diverse, for such a small island actually. Thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it!

  10. Wow what a gorgeous place, thank you for sharing these great tips Jurga! I am actually planning my visit to Australia in the beginning of January so this couldn’t come in at a more perfect time! 🙂

    1. Author

      Wow, lucky you. We’re actually contemplating visiting Australia again next year. There are so many beautiful places we haven’t seen yet… Glad you found this post useful, Daria. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  11. You’ve really captured the beauty of Kangaroo Island well. I’m definitely putting it on my itinerary when I move on. I’m currently in Alice Springs, so look forward to checking out your post on the West MacDonnells for any exciting possibilities we may have missed!

    1. Author

      Thanks Nicole! Enjoy your time in Australia, we loved the Red Centre!

  12. I’ll let you into a little secret – I have never been inspired enough to travel the huge distance to Australia but in one post you have convinced me! I absolutely love the look of this place and your photos are beautiful. You know, you guys should really do Costa Rica at some point – I just know you would love it. Excellent post Jurga. Again.

    1. Author

      Wow, thanks Alex. Your comment made my day! You would love Australia, just have to do a lot of research before you go – Australia is so big and there is so much to see, you can always find something that fits your interests.
      As for Costa Rica, we almost went there two years ago, had the whole trip planned, and then decided not to. It looks like a great nature destination, so maybe one day we will get there too.

  13. Will be adding this to our list of places to visit when we move to Australia next year! We are hoping to catch the Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide at some point and this would be a great extension to that!
    Beautiful shots as always Jurga!

    1. Author

      It’s just a short trip from Adelaide, Tracy. If you have a few days to spare, it’s certainly worth it. And thanks a lot for your kind words – as always!

  14. I visited Australia a few years ago but never really looked into kangaroo island. It looks like an incredible place with far more than I would have imagined to be there!

    1. Author

      Kangaroo island is definitely worth a trip, Tasha, and especially if you like nature and animals.

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