This mini Galapagos off the coast of South Australia is one of the country’s most beautiful and underrated wildlife sanctuaries.
It takes just 45 minutes to travel by ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island where it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. This island wonderland is packed with pristine beaches and natural habitats to explore. Kids here still ride bikes to school and farmers chase kangaroos off their front lawns before dawn, but it’s the local wildlife that’s the real drawcard. Grey kangaroos, fur seals, dolphins, Australian sea lions, echidnas, koalas and dozens of other species have flourished on the island without the threat of species introduced to the mainland. Flinders Chase National Park is one of the best areas to spot the island's native wildlife. With plenty of famous picture-postcard sights to see, such as Admirals Arch and sparkling Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island is a ‘don’t miss’ destination.
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Highlights of Kangaroo Island
Take an island tour
Take an island tour where you can try your hand at sandboarding and see the Admirals Arch and beautiful U-shaped Vivonne Bay. Take a stroll along this famous six-kilometre long stretch of sand and photograph the picturesque jetty which sits at the southern end of the beach.
See beautiful natural habitats
Keep an eye out for native animals in their natural habitats such as koalas high in the trees, fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks, echidnas searching for ants and platypus which can often be spotted at the waterholes in the Rocky River region at Flinders Chase National Park.
Connect with nature
On a small group tour with Intrepid Travel you can leave the crowds behind and find your own special moments on Kangaroo Island. Whether you want to set off on an afternoon hike or soak up the silence on a deserted beach, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover the island your way.
Flinders Chase National Park
Explore the winding Cape du Couedic Road and visit famous Kangaroo Island sites such as Weirs Cove, West Bay, Harvey’s Return, Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks. This unique rock formation is perched 70 metres above the ocean waves and looks like an artistic modern sculpture.
See Australian sea lions
Kangaroo Island is one of the best places in the country to see Australian sea lions. Take a stroll along the boardwalks at the aptly named Seal Bay where these animals have been living in large colonies for thousands of years. A guided tour of this area also gives you access to the beach where the seals live.
Explore pristine beaches
There are plenty of pristine beaches to explore on Kangaroo Island. Spectacular sunsets can be enjoyed at Snellings Beach which is also a popular spot for fishing. Western River Cove is a deserted beach bookended by steep rocky headlands or check out the island's best-known beach, Vivonne Bay.
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Kangaroo Island FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy
You can fly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide and other destinations in Australia (subject to seasonal demand) or catch a ferry from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. The ferry trip takes around 30 to 45 minutes.
Kangaroo Island has 1,000miles (1,600km) of roads and no public transport so you need your own set of wheels. Your options are to bring your car on the ferry, hire a car on the island or join a guided group tour.
Kangaroo Island is a beautiful spot to visit at any time of year. Summer is generally hot and dry and winter is pleasantly cool. Spring and Autumn are perfect for bushwalking, fishing and seeing the island's native wildflowers in bloom. Kangaroo Island can be chilly in the evening, even during the summer months.
Kangaroo Island is a casual place so you can leave your dressy clothes at home. Gear which can be layered is the best option as it can be chilly when you set off on tour in the early morning but temperatures can warm up substantially as the day goes on. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter. A raincoat or poncho is better than an umbrella as it can get windy on some parts of the island. One thing you definitely shouldn't bring is honey. Kangaroo Island is a sanctuary for the world's only Ligurian bee population and all honey products and associated equipment are banned from the island to prevent contamination.
Most activities on Kangaroo Island involve the great outdoors so there is no need to dress up. In the evening, smart casual is the typical dress code for the island's restaurants.
Kangaroo Island ferries offer free Wi-Fi and Telstra customers can get a signal in major tourist areas and along most of the island's sealed roads. There is limited or no Wi-Fi available in some parts of the island, particularly when you are traveling off-road. Non-Telstra customers will have little or no coverage throughout the island but most hotels and resorts on the island offer Wi-Fi access.
Telstra customers can use their mobile in major tourist areas and along most of the island's sealed roads. There is limited or no mobile service available in some parts of the island, particularly when you are travelling off-road. Non-Telstra customers have little or no mobile coverage throughout the island.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
The bushfires on Kangaroo Island in January 2020 were the biggest in the island's history. The fires burnt almost half of the island and had a devastating impact on the people, homes, businesses, wildlife, nature and tourism. As catastrophic as the fires were, Kangaroo Island and other bushfire affected regions in South Australia are bouncing back. Nature is starting to flourish again, wildlife is returning to native habitats and species that were thought to have been wiped out have been spotted (such as the Kangaroo Island Little Pygmy Possum which was discovered in Flinders Chase National Park). Tourism has suffered a great deal since the bushfires, but as the island continues to recover, it's more important than ever.
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