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 the 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, but if you can, add it to your Australia trip itinerary, even if only for a day or two. It’s one of the most authentic places we visited in Australia. If you love pristine untouched nature and wildlife, you’ll love Kangaroo Island!
This post gives you a short overview of the best things to do on Kangaroo Island, our detailed 4-day Kangaroo Island itinerary with kids, 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.
Top places to see and 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. 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. In principle, you can see a lot more of Kangaroo Island in the same period of time than we did.
Here is my TOP-15, the best places to see and things to do on Kangaroo Island. This list covers all the places which we visited during our trip to Kangaroo Island, but also some others which are well worth a visit, but for which we didn’t have the time. I had done a lot of research before our trip and each of these places are well worth a visit.
The best of Kangaroo Island
- Flinders Chase National Park:
- Remarkable Rocks
- Admirals Arch
- Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse
- Seal Bay Conservation Park
- Little Sahara
- Vivonne Bay
- Stokes Bay
- Kelly Hill Caves
- Prospect Hill
- The lighthouses of Kangaroo Island: Cape Borda, Cape Willoughby
- Kingscote Pelicans
- The colourful cliffs of Red Banks
- Raptor Domain
- Paul’s Place Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
- Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery
- Clifford’s Honey Farm
- Flinders Chase National Park:
Kangaroo Island itinerary – our 4-day trip with young kids
Day 1: Cape Jervis – Kangaroo Island. Prospect Hill. Seal Bay
In the morning we left Adelaide for the Cape Jervis ferry that would bring us to Kangaroo Island. We took the scenic road through 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.
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 HillProspect 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.
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 worthy, 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 abut 1h30 drive from Penneshaw and 45min from Kingscote. For further practical information, please refer to the Seal Bay website.
Day 2: Flinders Chase National Park
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.
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 the beautiful view.
Another highlight of our visit to Kangaroo Island was the area around Admirals Arch. Beautiful coastal landscape with well maintained boardwalks all the way to the Arch itself – 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.
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.
Day 3: Hanson Bay – Vivonne Bay
Hanson Bay Wildlife sanctuary
We started our third day on Kangaroo Island with kids with a visit to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary that is famous for its koalas. 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 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!
You may also want to read this post for another great spot to see wild koalas in Australia.
There were also several wild kangaroos running around at Hanson Bay and we could get really close to them. Fascinating animals!
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. 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 sea shells they found there. They wanted to take them all home!
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 sand boarding, with locals and tourists alike. You could rent a sand board 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 sand boarding, but most others made for a fun spectacle. We limited our sand experience to climbing the dunes and rolling / gliding / running down again.
It was another relaxing day on Kangaroo Island, perfect with young kids. We ended the day with a real Australian dinner and some new finds, including a sparkling ale from the Coopers brewery.
Day 4: Stokes Bay – Kingscote
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 if visiting Kangaroo island, and definitely with kids. They’ll love it! Great place for a family picnic on the beach.
TIP: Don’t miss Stokes Bay. It’s an amazing experience, one that will stay with you forever!
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 5PM. 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.
This was our last day on Kangaroo island. We spent the last night in a hotel close to the ferry and left early in the morning.
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:
- Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat. The best price/quality accommodation close to Flinders Chase NP. We stayed here for 3 nights and loved it. Location was great, we had a nice big family room, and they have a really good restaurant.
- Kangaroo Beach Lodges. If budget is not an issue or if you are looking for a special treat, then look no further. Kangaroo Beach Lodges is probably the best accommodation on Kangaroo Island and the location is exceptional! It’s not next door to Flinders Chase, but I would stay there in a heartbeat!
- Flinders Chase Farm or Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve. Budget accommodation not too far from Flinders Chase NP.
- Hanson Bay Cabins or Kangaroo Island Bush Getaway. Self-catering accommodation, perfect for a longer family stay.
We spent one night at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge – its location was good for visiting Kingscote one day and taking the ferry back to mainland the next day.
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