Camping on Kangaroo Island includes options that range from rustic log cabins and beautiful bell tents to pared-back places to pitch your tent.
Kangaroo Island has a mix of privately-owned caravan parks, council-run sites and conservation areas and national parks where you can throw up a tent or pull in with your caravan. Here are some of the best Kangaroo Island camping spots.
1. Kangaroo Island Seafront Holiday Park
Roughing it has never been so appealing. Forget tinned spaghetti. Stock up on permaculture produce from Petite Provenance, and artisanal goods from Vivonne Bay General Store, one of the best places to eat on Kangaroo Island, before settling into your glamping tent at Kangaroo Island Seafront Holiday Park. Located 300 metres from the SeaLink Ferry, the campground has views over Hog Bay Beach and the ruffled sea surging through Backstairs Passage.
2. Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve
You will find your days start to vanish rather quickly when you’re out and about enjoying the wide, open spaces and nature trails that loop around the Western KI Caravan Park. The campground has powered and unpowered tent sites, as well as modern and well-maintained shower blocks and a children’s playground. Got a gammy back? Say goodbye to your sleeping bag and bunker down in the self-contained log cabins or luxury cabins.
3. Discovery Lagoon Caravan and Camping Grounds
Eco campers and caravanners will appreciate the fact the Discovery Lagoon Caravan and Camping Grounds is run entirely on renewable energy. The campground is surrounded by red river gums on a 40-hectare property that is about three kilometres from Emu Bay Beach, where you can set sail on a fishing charter and see the sea open up. The campsite also has two one-bedroom eco glamping cottages which are designed for couples.
4. Harveys Return
Harveys Return Campground is a short (steep) hike away from Harveys Bay, going from green to cyan as it traces the original horse cart track used by the Cape Borda lighthouse keepers on the northwest tip of the island. The bare bush campground has sheltered picnic tables, gas barbecue facilities and toilets and is surrounded by a grove of eucalyptus trees with leaves that flicker in the light. Walk through the scrubby grey-green terrain to get to the lighthouse, built in 1858.
5. American River Campground
This council-run campground is located near a boat ramp near a narrow neck of the American River, which, incidentally, is not a river, and has capacity for just 15 or so campers. Like many of the campgrounds on Kangaroo Island, the American River Campground is basic, making it well suited for old-school campers: there are toilets and hot showers, sheltered picnic tables and powered and non-powered sites, too. Rise at dawn to cast a line in the ‘river’.
6. Antechamber Bay Campground and Ecocabins
You will find the Antechamber Bay Ecocabins nestled under a grove of gums with outstretched limbs that click and creak in the wind on the banks of the Chapman River. The rustic cabins provide a cool place to hang after a week of exploring Kangaroo Island’s best wineries. In addition to the cabins, which sleep eight, there are camping areas with a communal shelter, rainwater showers and self-composting toilets.
7. D’Estrees Bay Campgrounds
There are five campsites scattered across four campgrounds located within the vast tract of wilderness at D’Estrees Bay. The Big Sand Dune Campground has just one campsite, and is the campground of choice for hard-core campers who like to sleep under a sky confetti’d with stars with not another soul around. It’s the stillness and solitude that is most luxurious at this site which accommodates camper trailers and tents and offers easy access to Southern Kangaroo Island Marine Park.
8. Duck Lagoon Campground
Bird-watchers will appreciate the purpose-built bird hide and observation platform at Duck Lagoon Camp Ground, a small reserve near Cygnet River that is a haven for migratory birds. Enjoy a quiet walk along the banks of the lagoon and read the interpretative signage about the area’s history as squadrons of birds (such as Australian pelicans) fly overhead. Walk along the shore and note the presence of pied oystercatchers, royal spoonbills and black swans in your little black bird book.
9. Western River Cove Campground
The Western River Cove Campground is situated on the rugged north coast of Kangaroo Island, about an hour’s drive from Kingscote. A footbridge runs like a corridor through the campground over the river that runs through it and down onto the white sand. The Western River Campground is not suitable for caravans and has no powered sites, but like all the council-run grounds, it is pet-friendly.
10. Browns Beach Campground
Browns Beach Campground occupies a prime piece of real estate on Nepean Bay, just 15 minutes drive from Penneshaw. Set up your camp chair, pour yourself a glass of Dudley Kangaroo Porky Flat Shiraz, and sit in the sunshine on your own private patch of sand on the dunes overlooking Brown Beach. The family-friendly beach is located on the north coast of Dudley Peninsula and is hard to beat for beachside camping nirvana.
11. Vivonne Bay Campground
The six-kilometre U-shaped beach at Vivonne Bay is regularly ranked as one of Australia’s best. From above, the bay presents like a colour catalogue of all the possible blues and greens. Get amongst it by surfing, fishing, snorkelling, playing classic catches or beach cricket, just a few of the many excellent things to do on this corner of Kangaroo Island. Located about 45 minutes from Kingscote, the campground is accessible for caravans and has both powered and unpowered campsites.