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 will either need to take the ferry from Cape Jervis or fly from Adelaide airport. There might also be flights from Melbourne, Sydney and other cities in Australia depending on the season.
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 departures every day, but the schedule may differ depending on seasonal demand. The journey across the Backstairs Passage takes about 45 minutes. It’s a comfortable ferry with lounges to relax, a cafe, air conditioning and a large outdoor viewing deck where you can get some fresh air and take in the views. You can either go as a foot passenger and rent a car at the SeaLink Ferry terminal in Penneshaw or take your car/caravan on the ferry. 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 months 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 (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 rental, minibus rental and campervan rental services on Kangaroo Island. KIC can also try to book your car on SeaLink with the driver and book the remaining passengers onto a KIC ferry to reduce your travel costs.
Getting to Kangaroo Island by air
You can fly into Kingscote Airport (KGC) on Kangaroo Island. The only airlines that fly to the island are Regional Express Airlines (Rex) and Qantas. Rex runs flights from Adelaide’s main terminal and Qantas offers flights from a few different destinations in Australia including Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney (subject to seasonal demand). The journey from Adelaide takes just 30 minutes give or take. Flights book up pretty quickly from Adelaide, so try not to leave it too late to book.
There are no public transport or taxi services from Kingscote Airport 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, just contact them in advance to arrange it. Flying is generally more expensive than the ferry but it might be a better option if you’re very short on time or you suffer from seasickness.
Getting around Kangaroo Island
The best way to see Kangaroo Island is by driving. 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 with two-lane highways. Driving offers spectacular scenic views and allows you to explore at your own pace. 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