exploring

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a destination for gourmands and gadabouts. A 540km long stretch of rugged multi-hued beauty, largely preserved in its natural state thanks to its Ark-like remoteness yet still offering the comforts of modernity thanks to mindful businesses embracing everything seasonal, sustainable and the artisanal.

 

Here’s our guide to getting the most out of the third-largest but arguably the most unique island Australia has to offer.

Getting to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island lies 112km southwest of Adelaide, South Australia, on the cusp of the famous Fleurieu Peninsula. Flights here are approximately 35 minutes from the SA capital, however most opt for a 45-minute SeaLink car and caravan ferry from Cape Jervis, arriving in Penneshaw (the KI’s second largest town).

Top Things to Do on Kangaroo Island

Wineries and spirits

Kangaroo Island might be considered a ‘newbie’ to the winery scene (first blending in 1982) but it has quickly grown to a comfortable collection of over 30 growers and 12 respected vineyards —enough to spend an entire weekend tasting and still be thirsty for more. Highlights include False Cape Wines, located between Penneshaw and Cape Willoughby. Founded by produced by award-winning winemaker Greg Follett, is the largest and vineyard on the island, producing concentrated and intensely flavoured Cabernet Sauvignons.

 

Or embark on a spiritual journey with Kangaroo Island Spirits, the island’s first boutique distillery and home to high-quality internationally awarded liqueurs, gins and vodkas infused with the bush flavours of their Australian home.

 

Beer lovers are also catered for with Kangaroo Island Brewery, specialising in brews made from pure water collected straight from the tin roof of the brewery itself.

Cruises

Seals, whales, dolphins, birds, take your pick. Kangaroo Island’s ocean life is as diverse below sea level as it is on land. Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures takes visitors directly to the action all year long, offering the unique opportunity to swim with wild dolphins in their natural habitat. While in the cooler months of May to August Southern Right and Humpback whales can be spotted as they migrate north to breed in warmer waters.

Wilderness hikes

From spectacular 15-minute strolls around ancient rock formations, all the way to multi-day adventures through pink gum woodlands and by bright turquoise bays, Kangaroo Island makes it easy to for visits to get a little wild. Flinders Chase National Park is home to iconic rock formations such as Admirals Arch (a beautiful spot for sunset) and the startlingly beautiful granite boulders of Remarkable Rocks, easily accessible on loop trails starting at the visitors centre. Those with small children will appreciate the even tracks along the Murray Lagoon and D’Estrees Bay, while more intrepid travellers will enjoy the 4-hour 8km Ravine das Casoars hike across wild beaches and soaring sea cliffs.

Best Places to Stay on Kangaroo Island

Luxury retreats

If there’s one thing Kangaroo Island has a monopoly on it’s got to be wilderness retreats. From the refined luxe of Southern Ocean Lodge, with its contemporary design and breathtaking views across the coastline, to the more low-key but no-less inspiring stays at Lifetime Private Retreats, who specialise in more private home-like properties. Each guarantees to get travellers up close and personal with the wildlife that call ‘Australia’s Galapagos’ home without scrimping on comfort.

Hotels

Those looking for more traditionally structured stays will love the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, which manages to invoke charming old-Australiana style with the added benefit of hotel-style attention. Or opt for the convenience of the Seafront Resort, situated in Penneshaw, making it a great starting point for exploring the island.

Cabins and lodges

From lighthouse keeper’s cottages all the way to cosy beachside shacks, travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to lodges and cabins on Kangaroo Island. And no matter your location or budget, you’re never far from the outdoor action. Those who favour plenty of style along with substance will love the Stowaway self-contained cottages near Stokes Bay with its large bay windows and outdoor hot tubs making it an ideal spot for romantics. Meanwhile, history buffs will get a kick out of sleeping in the former head lighthouse keepers cottage at Cape du Couedic Heritage Accommodation.

Where to eat on Kangaroo Island

Feasting is all part of the fun of Kangaroo Island with the koalas and kangaroos sharing real estate with some of Australia’s top food producers. Here even the humble fish takeaway is a singular taste experience, with Fish Of Penneshaw famously serving up some of the freshest KI lobster and King George Whiting on the island. However those looking for something a little more magical will do well to book ahead for The Enchanted Fig Tree Lunch run by Lifetime Retreats, which sees diners settle in for a seasonal island menu beneath the swaying branches of a fig planted by the early settlers.

Tours and Packages

What’s a KI escape without spending some time getting to know the locals? Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours takes guests on four-wheel-drive expeditions across the rocky outcrops of Flinders Chase finding the very best locations to see seal colonies, koala families and, of course, plenty of ‘roos.

 

For those with a foodie focus (and who could blame them) Exceptional Kangaroo Island serves up a Food Safari guaranteed to satisfy. From freshly harvested native bush honey to smooth olive oil tastings overlooking the romantic groves, connoisseurs will love just sitting back, relaxing and being brought directly to the very best flavours KI can offer.