Kangaroo Island is the third-largest island off the coast of mainland Australia. It’s located 14km (9 miles) off the South Australian coast with Adelaide just a short 30-minute flight away. To get to Kangaroo Island, you'll either need to take the ferry from Cape Jervis or fly from Adelaide.
Getting to Kangaroo Island by boat
SeaLink operates two large ferries between Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia (a two-hour drive from Adelaide) and Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. There are four daily departures, but the schedule may differ depending on seasonal demand. The journey across the Backstairs Passage takes roughly 45 minutes. It’s a comfortable ferry with a cafe, air conditioning and a large outdoor deck where you can get some fresh air and take in the views.
You can travel as a foot passenger and rent a car at the SeaLink Ferry terminal in Penneshaw or take your car/caravan. If the length of your vehicle is more than four metres, you’ll need to pre-book a ticket. However, it’s recommended to book all ferry tickets in advance to ensure you get a spot, especially in the summer as tickets sell out fast.
SeaLink also offers a paid shuttle service with connections on the mainland to/from Adelaide and Goolwa to Cape Jervis, and from Penneshaw to Kingscote and American River on Kangaroo Island. Visit SeaLink's website for up-to-date crossing schedules and ferry, coach and shuttle fares.
Kangaroo Island Connect
Kangaroo Island Connect (KIC) also operates daily ferry crossings between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. They offer cheaper and faster services with a crossing time of about 30 minutes. The KIC ferry is a passenger-only service, but they offer car, minibus and campervan rental services on Kangaroo Island.
Flying to Kangaroo Island
QantasLink is currently the only airline that operates flights between Adelaide and Kingscote Airport (KGC). There might also be seasonal flights from Melbourne, Sydney and other major cities in Australia. The flight from Adelaide takes just 30 minutes, and although it's more expensive than the ferry, it might be a better option if you’re short on time or you suffer from seasickness.
There are no public transport or taxi services from Kingscote so you’ll need to arrange a car rental or a private transfer with your hotel or tour company. SeaLink can organise a transfer on the SeaLink Connection Coach from the airport to your accommodation in the Kingscote area.
Getting around Kangaroo Island
The best way to see Kangaroo Island is by driving as the views are spectacular and you can explore at your own pace. You can bring your vehicle on the ferry or rent a car at the Kingscote Airport or Penneshaw Ferry Terminal. There’s a mixture of sealed and unsealed roads, and two-lane highways. Be aware of wildlife on or near the road and take particular care if you’re driving at dawn, dusk or night.
If you don’t fancy driving, you could also do a guided tour to see the highlights of the island and benefit from the expertise of a local guide.
Our Kangaroo Island tours