South Australia: Best things to do at Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is back, baby!

After being decimated by bushfires in January last year, the island 112km southwest of Adelaide is well and truly open for business again.

All you need is a car or campervan and you’re set for one of Australia’s great road trip experiences.

In April, I spent five days travelling around Kangaroo Island with a group of seven others. These are my stories (insert Law & Order SVU sound effect).

The best vehicles for Kangaroo Island

KI is 145km long and 54km wide (at its widest part) and the main attractions are dotted all around the island, so a vehicle is a must.

My friends and I decided to hire campervans – despite the fact we’re not pensioners or hippies – and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

It gave us the freedom to take long day trips and cook meals wherever we were. It meant we had all our gear with us at all times and most importantly, it meant we always had cold beer.

After landing at Adelaide airport, we all walked a short distance to the Britz campervan hire office to pick up our vehicles.



Getting to Kangaroo Island

From the airport, it’s a 100-minute drive to Cape Jervis where you catch the SeaLink Ferry to Kangaroo Island.

On the way we stopped at a restaurant in Old Noarlunga called Victor’s Place which is rated five stars on TripAdvisor (and yes, it lived up to the hype).

Once you get to Cape Jervis, you drive your vehicle onto the ferry and then sit upstairs for the 45 minute crossing.

Arriving in Kangaroo Island

You disembark the ferry on Kangaroo Island in Penneshaw. Most people choose to stay in Kingscote which is the biggest town on the island.

The eight of us, split into four campervans, stayed at the Kingscote Tourist Park which is a 45-minute drive from the ferry terminal.

What is there to do on Kangaroo Island

Natural beauty, fun activities and booze. They were the three pillars of our trip to KI, and the island certainly had enough options to satisfy each requirement.

Let’s start with natural beauty. An hour’s drive from Kingscote is the Flinders Chase National Park. It’s a must do. Inside you’ll see the iconic Remarkable Rocks, the Admirals Arch and a seal colony. You’ll easily spend half a day walking around the park exploring.

The Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park.Source:Alamy

Admiral’s Arch.Source:Supplied

On the same day you could also tick off a visit to the Seal Bay Conservation Park which is a 40-minute drive from Kingscote or a one-hour drive from Flinders Chase National Park.

The area is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island and is home to the third largest sea lion colony in Australia.

You can book a guided tour which will allow you to get up close and personal with the sea lions on the beach (approx. $37 for adults) or you can pick the cheaper option and do a self-guided tour on the boardwalk ($16.50 for adults).

And finally in the natural beauty category, you’ve got to visit some of the island’s stunning beaches (particularly if you’re there in summer).

You’ll find it hard not to dive in headfirst into the clear water around KI.Source:Supplied

Our favourite was Stokes Bay which is a 40-minute drive from Kingscote. After parking in the carpark, you access the beach by walking through a maze of caves. Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds.

Moving onto fun activities. There are so many things on offer on KI. You can go on a fat bike tour, a 4WD tour, you can hold a koala at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. But one activity that I’d absolutely recommend is a quad bike tour through Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action.

The quad bike tour led by Charlie and Dani was a trip highlight.Source:Supplied

We chose the three-hour Edge of the Earth Quad Adventure which at roughly $297 per adult might seem a tad expensive, but trust me, it’s worth it.

You get to experience so many different landscapes during the tour including driving through rocky trails, through dense trees and eventually ending up at a remote beach which has been rated as one of the top 100 surf beaches in the country.

And finally, let’s talk about booze. Six people in our group were British and I’m not suggesting they’re a nation of problem drinkers, but they were certainly adamant we check out the island’s breweries and wineries.

I’d highly recommend you pick a designated driver and enjoy a gin tasting board in the ‘Gin Garden’ at Kangaroo Island Spirits (six-minute drive from Kingscote) before heading a few minutes up the road for a wine tasting at The Islander Estate Vineyards.

The Islander Estate Vineyards.Source:Supplied

Things you should know about Kangaroo Island

You’ll spot a lot of wildlife on Kangaroo Island, mostly on the side of the highways. There is roadkill everywhere and you’ve got to be on alert when driving to ensure you don’t contribute to the body count.

In addition to the roadkill, some of the roads on KI are unsealed and are therefore extremely bumpy. Two of the lads on our trip actually found the bumps quite … stimulating, if you get my drift.

Why you should visit Kangaroo Island

I’m not being paid to say this and my Kangaroo Island adventure wasn’t a media freebie, so trust me when I say: You will LOVE a road trip around Kangaroo Island.

The scenery is stunning, the locals are friendly, there’s enough activities on offer to keep you entertained for days and the restaurants, distilleries and wineries are top notch.

If there’s an upside to the pandemic, it’s that it’s forced us to holiday in our own backyard rather than heading overseas. And Kangaroo Island is worthy of a spot at the top of your travel list.

For a look at how Kangaroo Island has bounced back from the bushfires, check out the video below.

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