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  • Coastline Southern Ocean surf
  • Coast life Wild times (big nature, not big nights out)

Touting itself as ‘Australia’s Galapagos’, Kangaroo Island (KI) has an amazing proliferation of wildlife – in the sky, the scrub and the sea.

Located 13 kilometres off South Australia’s coast, it’s the country’s third biggest island – so there’s plenty of space for the local wildlife to do its thing without the 4,250 islanders getting in the way. KI is a remarkable sanctuary, and no trip to the island is complete without encountering some of the hairy, feathery or fishy residents (and no, we don’t mean the fishermen). Get up close and personal with kangaroos, seals and penguins, as well as bountiful birdlife. Things here are slow-paced and uncomplicated, a cultural hark-back to simpler days when you slept with the doors unlocked and ate what you farmed on the land or fished from the sea.

Do go/Don’t go

South Australian summers (December to February) are always sunny, but when the desert heat swoops down from the north the temperatures can top 40°C for days on end. Surrounded by the sea, KI tends to dodge the worst of the swelter, but time your visit with spring or autumn when it’s clear skies, warm days and plain sailing. Winters on the island can be chilly and windswept but beautifully atmospheric.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Pick up a regular 35-minute flight to Kangaroo Island’s Kingscote Airport, 14 kilometres from main town Kingscote, from Adelaide’s international airport ( Rex ( and Air South ( fly between the two for around AU$160 return.
  • Boats Sealink ( runs car ferries between Cape Jervis on the mainland and Penneshaw on KI (45 minutes each way). There are at least three ferries each way daily, costing around AU$90 return a person, plus around AU$170 for a car.
  • Automobiles There’s no public transport on Kangaroo Island so it’s worth bringing your own wheels. If you hire a car in Adelaide, be wary that some companies won’t let you take hire cars onto KI. Driving from Adelaide to Cape Jervis (the ferry departure point) takes around two hours. Alternatively, Sealink ( runs buses between Adelaide and Cape Jervis (AU$40 return). There are also a couple of car hire depots on the island.
  • Taxis There are no taxis on the island, but Airport Shuttle Services (0427 887 575) links Kingscote Airport with Emu Bay (AU$40), Kingscote (AU$20), American River (AU$50) and Penneshaw (AU$80) for one to two people. Sealink ( runs town-to-town shuttle buses between Penneshaw and American River (AU$13) and Kingscote (AU$16).