About Kangaroo Island

Sea-lions basking on white beaches, koalas dozing in lofty eucalypts, pelicans soaring over shimmering lagoons...

Kangaroo Island is a pristine wilderness - a place that has offered protection to substantial populations of native Australian animals, a place of beauty and a place of escape. Kangaroo Island (or ‘KI' as the locals call it) is also big and surprisingly diverse.
You'll find soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes, wetlands and massive arcs of bone white beach.

A BIG Island - as the third largest island off the coast of mainland Australia, Kangaroo Island is more than a day-trip destination. 

At 155 kilometres long and up to 55 kilometres wide, it covers an area of 4,416 square kilometres.
'We didn't realise the Island was so large' is frequently stated by visitors soon after their arrival.

Getting to Kangaroo Island

By Ferry...

Kangaroo Island SeaLink operates two large, luxurious vehicle and passenger ferries, between Cape Jervis (approx. 2 hour drive from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula) and Penneshaw KI. There are four departures daily, with additional services during peak times. Bookings are necessary. Travelling time is a comfortable 45 minutes. Mainland coach connections are available to/from Adelaide and Goolwa to Cape Jervis. Island connections are available to/from Penneshaw to American River and Kingscote.

Need more information or wish to do a booking, please contact:
Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +61 8 8553 1185 or Toll Free: 1800 811 080
Email: info@tourkangarooisland.com.au

By Air...

Kangaroo Island is also serviced daily by air. The 30 minute flight operates between the main terminal at the Adelaide Airport and Kingscote KI Airport (which is located 14 kilometres from Kingscote; the main township on KI).

Getting Around Kangaroo Island

There are so many fantastic places to see on Kangaroo Island and one of the best ways to experience our splendid scenery
is to self-drive. You can take your own car to Kangaroo Island by ferry or hire a car when you get there.

Exploring Kangaroo Island by car is a wonderful way to travel the 1,600 Kilometers of roads which take you through the major townships. You can expect the majority of our main roads to be sealed,
principally those linking Penneshaw, American River, Kingscote, Parndana and Flinders Chase National Park.

If you wish to go bush, you are welcome to travel on our unsealed roads leading you to tucked away beaches,
natural wildlife habitats and special destinations.

For those who wish to sit back, relax and be guided through the beautiful terrain on Kangaroo Island, there are many tour options available. For instance, you can take tailored tours that include major attractions, lighthouses, wildlife, extreme adventuring, food and wine, heritage and history, boating and fishing, cycling, bush walking and much more!

View On-Island Transport Options

View Organised Tours

Need more information or wish to do a booking, please contact:
Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +61 8 8553 1185 or Toll Free: 1800 811 080
Email: info@tourkangarooisland.com.au


Budget Rent A Car Kangaroo Island

Kingscote Aerodrome Kingscote SA 5223

Telephone 0885533133

Budget Rent A Car Kangaroo Island

Welcome to Budget Rent A Car Kangaroo Island, your number one destination for affordable car rental on beautiful Kangaroo Island. Whether you are holiday making or on a business trip, Budget Rent A Car Kangaroo Island can provide you with the latest model rental cars at an affordable...

Kangaroo Island Transfers

Haney Road Kingscote SA 5223

Telephone 0885530100

Kangaroo Island Transfers

Kangaroo Island Transfers provides a door to door passenger transfer service from airport, ferry, all accommodation houses, holiday and private homes. They meet all scheduled daily flights, and service all areas of Kangaroo Island. They also provide tour connections, specialized mini tours, wine...

Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat Tours

Hummocky Road Stokes Bay SA 5223

Telephone 0885592215

Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat Tours
Stokes Bay

While staying on Kangaroo Island experience a slice of heaven with four-wheel drive touring alongside unique bed and breakfast accommodation. Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat Tours are eco certified and offer exclusive, personal touring tailored to your needs with a guide who has an excellent...

Exceptional Kangaroo Island Tours

1139 Playford Highway Cygnet River SA 5223

Telephone 0885539119

Exceptional Kangaroo Island Tours
Cygnet River

Since 1990 Exceptional Kangaroo Island has offered all inclusive small group day and extended tours of Kangaroo Island, travelling in comfortable four wheel drive vehicles promising good food, wine and wildlife in the wild. Tours can depart from Adelaide (with air connection), Kingscote,...

Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours

85 Franklin Street Adelaide SA 5000

Telephone 1300795447

Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours

Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours have it all, with a touch of adventure, and is aimed at the more spirited, budget traveller who enjoys experiencing places and attractions not on the main route. Guests travel in small groups on a mid-size coach for a fun and informal yet informative two days touring...

Kangaroo Island Designer Tours

3-5 Rawson Street Kingscote SA 5223

Telephone 1800247007

Kangaroo Island Designer Tours

Tours of Kangaroo Island are available with Kangaroo Island Designer Tours. We can custom tailor a tour of Kangaroo Island for you or you may choose from one of our more popular Kangaroo Island Tours. Let us take you to the best that beautiful Kangaroo Island has to offer in modern comfortable air...

Kangaroo Island Discovery Tours

49 North Terrace Penneshaw SA 5222

Telephone 1800624624

Kangaroo Island Discovery Tours

Welcome to Kangaroo Island Discovery Tours personalised touring. Our small group tours (minimum of two passengers, maximum of five passengers) are designed to bring you up close and personal with Kangaroo Island. Your friendly experienced guide will impress you with his local knowledge of Kangaroo...

Kangaroo Island Hire a Guide

PO Box 761 Kingscote SA 5223

Telephone 0885530235

Kangaroo Island Hire a Guide

Kangaroo Hire a Guide offers four wheel drive tours with itineraries that allow you to discover the most interesting sites on Kangaroo Island with the option of staying the night in magnificent bed and breakfasts. They also offer Nocturnal Tours which is the only way you can view penguins in the...

Kangaroo Island Odysseys

34 Addison Street Kingscote SA 5223

Telephone 0885530386

Kangaroo Island Odysseys

Kangaroo Island Odysseys provides personalised, quality four wheel drive wildlife and nature discovery small group touring. You can experience a wide variety of wildlife in its natural habitat, while also enjoying spectacular coastline, pristine beaches and natural bushland...

Kangaroo Island SeaLink

440 King William Street Adelaide SA 5000

Telephone 131301

Kangaroo Island SeaLink

Kangaroo Island SeaLink offers a wide range of touring products on Kangaroo Island, including day tours that will take you to many of the highlights of this beautiful island, or see more on a one or two night extended coach tour. The island is perfect for self-drive holidays, so why not choose from...

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours

Lot 42 Cook Street Parndana SA 5220

Telephone 0885595033

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours provides a world class eco experience. Their local guides will take you on a journey of discovery of Australia's leading wildlife destination. Being true locals their knowledge is much more than something that can be learnt from a book. They are committed to...

Pete Dobre Photographic Tours and Workshops

28 The Oaks Parade Aberfoyle Park SA 5159

Telephone 0882705557

Pete Dobre Photographic Tours and Workshops
Aberfoyle Park

Come and learn from one of Australia's most well-known photographers Pete Dobré, as he shares his knowledge through Photographic Tours and Workshops. On this seven day tour of stunning Kangaroo Island Pete will teach you to take better pictures through an understanding of your camera and...

Tom's Tours

Hornsdale Barn Road Jamestown SA 5491

Telephone 1800618876

Tom's Tours

Join Tom’s Tours and combine the spectacular Flinders Ranges, Wilpena Pound and Brachina Gorge on an all inclusive two days and two nights tour with an opportunity to stay at Hornsdale Farm in a 95 year old homestead enjoying traditional home cooked Australian meals. We can also tailor make a...

Sea Dragon Tours

2575 Cape Willoughby Road Penneshaw SA 5222

Telephone 0401727234

Sea Dragon Tours

Sea Dragon Tours offer private luxury four wheel drive Kangaroo Island tours where your personal guide will tailor make an itinerary to suit your particular interests to ensure you get to enjoy the best the island has to offer. With their help you decide which places you want to visit and how long...

Regions of Kangaroo Island

Penneshaw & Dudley Peninsula, American River,
Kingscote & districts, North Coast, Parndana & districts,
West End and South Coast.

Kangaroo Island is a pristine wilderness - a place that has offered protection to substantial populations of native Australian animals, a place of beauty and a place of escape. Kangaroo Island (or ‘KI' as the locals call it) is also big and surprisingly diverse.
If you traverse its 155km length you'll find soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes,
wetlands and massive arcs of bone white beach.








Dudley Peninsula

Incorporating: Penneshaw, Island Beach, Baudin Beach, Brown Beach, Cape Willoughby & Antechamber Bay.

Dudley Peninsula forms the eastern end of Kangaroo Island and is home to the tranquil seaside town of Penneshaw where new arrivals come ashore off the Sealink Ferry and get their first glimpse of the gorgeous Kangaroo Island.

Dudley Peninsular comprises of Baudin Beach, Brown Beach, Island Beach, Cape Willoughby and Antechamber Bay. This region of the island is an ideal beachside holiday destination, offering the works with a diverse range of accommodation options and wildlife, crystal clear swimming beaches, cellar doors, historic lighthouses, cafes and restaurants and of course sensational views.

Dudley Peninsular highlights include: 

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse Tours • Frenchman’s Rock • Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum •  Art Galleries • Penneshaw Penguin Centre • Cellar Doors - Dudley Wines and Sunset Winery •   Penneshaw Farmers Market • Fishing • Public Skate Park • Antechamber Bay • Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari • Penneshaw Caravan Park • Baudin Conservation Park • Lashmar Conservation Park


American River

Incorporating: Pelican Lagoon & Pennington Bay.

A perfect place to go sailing, fishing and bushwalking, this quaint and inviting fishing village lies between hillside and native bushland. Excellent accommodation options are available in this area offering four star to self-contained cottages and cabins. 

Beyond being a ‘twitches’ paradise with birdwatching galore, American River is the region to taste some of Kangaroo Islands finest oysters at the Oyster Farm Shop or to indulge in Fish and Chips at the Shed Café on the wharf overlooking Pelican Lagoon.

There’s also a superb expanse of coastline in this region which includes the marvelous Pennington Bay, a must visit for photographers and surfers or those wanting to see pods of dolphins surfing the waves.

Prospect Hill, the highest point of Kangaroo Island is also a must visit. Located just off Hogs Bay Road and named in honor of Captain Mathew Flinders, you too can become an explorer and survey the landscape by soaring to the top of the 512 stairs. At the top you will be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views. Don’t forget your camera!

American River highlights include:

Prospect Hill • Pennington Bay • Fishing & Fishing Charters • Sailing • Bird Watching • Oyster Farm Shop
• Beyeria Conservation Park Walk • Independence Trail • Fish Cannery Walk • Red Banks



Incorporating: Nepean Bay, Brownlow, Bay of Shoals & Cygnet River.

Located on the peaceful and tranquil Nepean Bay, Kingscote is the capital and commercial hub of Kangaroo Island. It offers shopping, facilities, a wide range of accommodation options and food choices. 

Kingscote has a very special colonial history, as just north of Kingscote is Reeves Point, the site of first European Settlement in South Australia. You can visit Reeves Point and still see the remains of the first Post Office, early houses, jetty remains and more. 

Kingscote highlights include:

Shopping • Restaurants • Colonial history • Jetty fishing • Pelican feeding • Art galleries • Cellar doors • Island Beehive • KI Spirits
• Island Pure Sheep Dairy & Cheese • Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures • Kingscote Museum


Parndana & Heartland 

Venture into the heartland of the island where you will find its most central township, Parndana.  Parndana is the agricultural hub of the island where farming provides a valuable contribution to the economy, largely through prime lamb, wool, cattle and broadacre cropping. Other farmed items include marron, viticulture, broccoli, potatoes and honey.

A great base to explore the North and South coast of the island, Parndana offers a small amount of accommodation from cottages to bed and breakfasts and a caravan park. Services in Parndana include a Golf Course, BMX track, Children’s Playground/Picnic Park, and Museum. Mechanical & Petrol supplies, Post Office, 7 day Supermarket and 24 hour laundry mat.

The Parndana Hotel is an oasis in the middle of the island and is a perfect spot for a cold beer and a pub meal. Additionally, home to the Kangaroo Island Shearing Hall of Fame here you will also find many interesting photos, artifacts and information.

Not far from Parndana is the Andermel Marron Café where you can enjoy freshly farmed marron and indulge in a large selection of Two Wheeler Creek Wines. Additionally, visitors can view marron up close in the holding tanks.

Also a must see in this region is The Island Estate Vineyards established by Frenchman Jacques Lurton in 1997. Here you can undertake a fully guided tour of this 5-star winery while taking delight in trying some award winning drops.

If looking for handcrafted items, then head for Roo Lagoon Gallery located off the Playford Highway. Both beautiful and functional these pieces are made from rich red gum trees found on the west end of Kangaroo Island. 

Parndana also has an interesting history which is showcased at the Parndana Solider Settlement Museum. Here you can experience the way life was in the 1950s for the ex-WWII servicemen and their families as they set out to turn scrubland into farmland on Kangaroo Island.

The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park located in Parndana is the second largest privately owned park in South Australia. Here you can see an extensive array of animals and birds including the opportunity to handfeed the kangaroos and wallabies and even pat a koala.

Parndana and Heartland Highlights include:

Soldier Settlement Museum • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park • The Islander Estate Vineyards & Cellar Door • Walking Tracks • Parndana Gold Course • Roo Lagoon Gallery • Andermel Marron Café and Two Wheeler Creek Wines •


North Coast

Incorporating: Emu Bay, Smith Bay, Cape Cassini, Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach, Middle River & Western River Cove.

Stunning is one word to describe the coastline of the North Coast of Kangaroo Island where feelings of space and freedom overtake the senses, and rolling hills and views for miles inspire you to take time out to relax.  Stokes Bay Beach is one of kangaroo Islands best beaches.  The beach is accessed through a rock tunnel formation.  Once you stroll onto this beach you will immediately find a natural rock pool which is great for children to swim safely. For those who like to surf, body surf or explore sheltered coastal inlets while perhaps flicking a fishing line then Stokes Bay Beach is your place. At the beach you may even see penguins, dolphin pods and the odd seal or two pass by.

Stoke Bay also has lots of tucked idyllic beach jewels like Western River Cove, King George Beach and Snelling Beach. Popular with snorkelers and rock fishers is Snelling Beach. Snelling Beach is a perfect place for a swim, a snorkel, a short walk or to relax for a few hours. Also located at Snelling Beach is Hannaford and Sachs Gourmet Island Dining experience. This is one for the foodies with the most sought-after dining experiences on Kangaroo Island’s North Coast. Dine inside the huge old Fig Tree or in the plush 150 year old Shearing Shed.

Stokes Bay and its surrounds are far enough from everything to really escape with plenty of beautiful seaside accommodation and camp sites. It is close enough to comfortably explore Flinders Chase National Park during the day or head back in to Kingscote and surrounding areas.

Emu Bay located 18 km from Kingscote is very picturesque and a very popular holiday spot. Emu bay boasts 4 km of long white sandy beach with vehicle access as well as safe, clear water for swimming and water activities. Excellent for holiday makers wanting a seaside holiday location while being close to the amenities of Kingscote  and access to all Kangaroo Island has to offer.

Emu Bay Highlights include:

•Safe swimming beach • Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures Tours • Wildlife • Emu Bay Lavender Farm • Shep’s Studio • Beach Vehicle Access • Kangaroo Island Brewery

North Coast Highlights include:

• Beaches • Water sports • Fishing• Billygoat Falls •Hannaford and Sachs •Will’s rare Breeds Farm •Stokes Bay Bush Garden • The Rockpool Café at Stokes Bay


West End

Incorporating: Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Borda & Hanson Bay.

Easily the most popular destination on Kangaroo Island! Come and experience the wild, rugged and naturally beautiful West End.

If you’re looking for some peace and solitude, or some pure indulgence, Western Kangaroo Island is the place to be. The native bushland is home to an abundant amount of wildlife teeming with birds, echidnas and kangaroos, while koalas doze happily in eucalyptus trees above.

Flinders Chase National Park features the spectacular Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch as well as a colony of long nosed fur-seals at Cape du Couedic. A network of walking trails and boardwalks enable you to enjoy the park and its diverse wildlife.

Learn more about the park at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre, go on a self-guided nature drive along Shackle Road that takes you between the Visitor Centre and Cape Borda Lighthouse, or stay in one of the heritage cottages.

This region is rich in history, with Cape du Couedic, Cape Borda and Weirs Cove all remnants from the Island’s past. Western Kangaroo Island offers numerous walking and hiking trails that are well worth the effort, including the Weirs Cove, Rocky River and Sandy Creek Hikes, just to name a few. Hanson Bay is a popular surf-fishing area with large Australian salmon often caught along the spectacular beach.

Explore the amazing limestone caves at Kelly Hill Conservation Park located in the south-west of Kangaroo Island and discover an underground magical world filled with awesome formations. Take in the splendor with the Cave Show Tour or for the more adventurous, join an experienced guide on an Adventure Caving Tour where, equipped with a helmet and headlamp, you can crawl your way through an underground maze of smaller caverns.

Surrounded by beautiful Australian bush settings there are plenty of accommodation choices down in the picturesque west end of the island. Central to Kangaroo Island’s most popular attractions visitors will enjoy the relaxed ambience while getting more than a peep or two at some nighttime wildlife.

West Coast Highlights include:

Wildlife • Nature • Flinders Chase National Park & Visitors Centre • Remarkable Rocks • Admirals Arch • Cape du Couedic and Cape Borda Light Houses • Weirs Cove • Fishing • Kelly Hill Conservation Park & Caves – Tours & Adventure Caving   • Andermel Marron Farm & Cafe • Two Wheeler Creek Wines • Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Visitor Centre and Cafe


South Coast

Incorporating: D'Estrees Bay, Murray Lagoon, Seal Bay, Vivonne Bay & Flour Cask Bay.

The beautiful and rugged South Coast of Kangaroo Islands is home to some of the most treasured attractions such as Seal Bay Conservation Park, Raptor Domain, Rustic Blue Art Gallery, Little Sahara and Vivonne Bay. There is a great selection of accommodation options too whether you are looking for a lodge, backpackers or self-contained house right near the sea.

On the South Coast you’ll find a range of action packed and adventure activities from sandboarding, kayaking, paintball or a guided quad-bike tour through 500 acres of winding bush trails.

Vivonne Bay, named by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin who visited the bay in January 1803 is known as one of Australia's best beaches. Its long and curvy white lines are ideal for picnics, sunbathing and fishing. Experienced surfers can also enjoy the tremendous turquoise waters here.

The beach can be reached by taking either of the roads off to the left just past the Vivonne Bay Store. Safe swimming areas are near the jetty and boat ramp, or the sandy bottomed Harriet River that enters the bay nearby. Elsewhere the bay has an undertow that should be respected.

On the other side of the Harriet River, the Vivonne Bay western headland, Point Ellen, provides photographers with spectacular coastal scenery views with the Southern Ocean sending its waves crashing on to the cliff face.

D'Estrees Bay located on the far south east has a beautiful bay which extends from Point Tinline in the south west to Point Reynolds in the north east. The land at the bay's south west end incorporates a part of the Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park where vast areas of wilderness flourish.

Nearby Murray Lagoon is the island’s largest freshwater lake is great place to see birds, take nature photographs and see the wildflowers, particularly after winter rains.

South Coast Highlights include:

Seal Bay Conservation Park & Guided Beach Walks • Little Sahara • Vivonne Bay • Raptor Domain - Birds of Prey, Fang-Tastic and the Venom Pit displays • Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action • Bush getaway Adventures • Harriet River • Rustic Blue Art Gallery & Café • Seal Bay Café • Vivonne Bay General Store • D'Estrees Bay Road • Tru Thai at Flour Cask Bay


Wildlife & Environment

Kangaroo Island is the place where you can quietly ‘go bush' and see native Australian animals and birds as they were meant to be seen. In the wild.

Kangaroo Island is a true wildlife sanctuary. Owing to its isolation from the mainland, the Island has suffered less from the impact of European settlement and retains more than half of its native ‘old-growth' vegetation - a vast area of some 2,250 square kilometres. Similarly, the Island has been spared the damage done by foxes and rabbits, ensuring the integrity of native bushland. Result? Animal and bird populations have thrived. Today, more than one-third of the Island is declared Conservation or National Park and it has five significant Wilderness Protection Areas. So Kangaroo Island continues to be a special and protected place. Enter and be amazed...

More about Wildlife & Environment

Food & Wine

Take the road less travelled...
and discover food and wine at nature's pure heart

Take a trail to surprising places on wild and welcoming Kangaroo Island where you can taste the unexpected and wondrous in food and wine. The Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail introduces you to producers and products at their source. It invites you to enjoy the rich fruits of Kangaroo Island producers' labours in your own time in a natural unspoilt environment. Farm gate and cellar door locations are listed separately and alphabetically. Each has its own specialities and personality. The three listed itineraries cover three areas, each about a day's drive (but you're welcome to take two). The Dudley Peninsula, Central and South Coast, and Kingscote and surrounds trails are a suggested guide to a variety of sensations and connections with locals. Choose your own, guided by the listed farm gate and cellar door venues, and mix in a splash of art, scenery and natural delights.


Rich History

A Wild Island with Wild Stories...

Islands across the world have more than one thing in common.
They share a frontier bound by water and a history and culture of ingenuity, borne out of their inherent isolation.

Kangaroo Island's history is no different; it is full of interesting and compelling stories. Be sure to travel through time at one of the many museums and history - inspired attractions dotted across the Island.

early history Modern Exploration & Settlement

Agricultural History Lighthouses ShipwrecKS

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Early History

The first European explorers found the Island to be uninhabited, as evidenced by the lack of campfires and tameness of the wildlife...

Due to rising sea levels Kangaroo Island was separated from mainland Australia around 10,000 years ago. Recognised as Karta or
"Island of the Dead” by mainland Aboriginal tribes, the existence of shell middens and stone tools demonstrate that Aboriginal people lived on Kangaroo Island as long as 16,000 and may have only disappeared from the island as recently as 2000 years ago.

Early European explorers believed the Island to be uninhabited and this was disputed in the 1930s when Aboriginal campsites were discovered in a number of areas around the Island, including one near the fur seal colony of Cape du Couedic.


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Modern Exploration & Settlement

In 1800, Captain Mathew Flinders was commissioned by the British Government in to explore and map the southern coastline of ‘Terra Australis in the HMS Investigator.  The group led by Matthew Flinders looking for water and fresh meat (which they had been without for four months) hunted the small kangaroos (near present day Penneshaw) and gave the island its name.

Flinders originally landed on the north coast of the Dudley Peninsular and was closely followed by the French Explorer Commander Nicolas Baudin, the first European to map and circumnavigate the Island (which is why so many places have French names). Despite the British and French being at war at the time, the men had peaceful engagements and both used the fresh water spring now known as Frenchman’s Rock on Hog Bay.

Since 1802 until the time of South Australia’s colonisation in 1836, a community of sealers lived on Kangaroo Island. These sealers were known as hard men who had kidnapped several Aboriginal women from Tasmania and mainland South Australia. These women were held as prisoners, wives and essentially slaves. According to historical documents, three Aboriginal women tried to escape and swim back to the mainland; one woman is said to have survived the journey.

In 1803, the schooner Independence was built buy sealers (from the American Brig Union) at American River and was the first ship constructed in South Australia.

In 1836, when the first ship the Duke of York, commanded by Captain Robert Clark brought the first colonial settlers to Reeves Point (located in Kingscote). It was soon found however that the island would not have sufficient resources to be a capital or support a large community, so the settlement of Adelaide was chosen.

Visitors to Kangaroo Island can visit Reeves Point, Kingscote Museum, Hope Cottage, Old Mulberry Tree & First Settlers Monument.


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Agricultural History
From Wool to Wallaby Skins…

In the early days, as farmers battled to clear the land, their livelihood was principally derived from the bush. They felled and sold timber, snared possums, kangaroos and wallabies for their skins, collected yacca gum and distilled eucalyptus oil.

In 1952, Kangaroo Inland became home to the first Soldiers Settlement Scheme. This scheme was seen as an opportunity to assist returning WWII Veterans with a form of employment and as a way to develop the land which, due to a lack of population coupled with rising costs was seen to be uneconomic unless production could be increased.  By 1964, all settlers occupied their new farms and encouraging results began to appear.

Find out more about Kangaroo Island’s rich and interesting agricultural history by visiting the Parndana Solider Settlement Museum. 


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More than 50 shipwrecks have occurred around Kangaroo Island since first settlement in 1836, leading to the establishment of Lighthouses at nearby Cape Willoughby in 1852, Cape Borda in 1858, Cape St Albans in 1908 and Cape du Couedic in 1909.

Kangaroo Island lies across the bottom of the Gulf of St Vincent and forms the southern edge of the two entrances into the Gulf:
The Backstairs Passage on the north-eastern side and the Investigator Strait on the north-western side.
Both these Straits are shipping routes into Adelaide and other ports in the Gulf area.

1852 Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

The first Lighthouse to be built in South Australia, and therefore the oldest, Cape Willoughby is located at the most eastern end of Kangaroo Island. Like all lighthouses it operated to prevent shipwrecks from occurring however, there was still a number of ships which sank off the coastline, remnants of which can still be found in the area.

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse is very rich in maritime history so visitors are encouraged to join a guided tour where they will get to enjoy spectacular panoramic views across Backstairs Passage from the top of the lighthouse. You will gain an insight into the harsh and remote living conditions experienced by the early light keepers, walk the Cape Willoughby Light station Heritage Hike, visit the centres museum or even have the opportunity to stay in one of the old Light Keepers cottages.

1858 Cape Borda Lighthouse

This uniquely square lighthouse is located within the Flinders Chase National Park on the north western corner of the Island. It is perched on cliffs overlooking Investigator Strait and has a very interesting history.

To explore the maritime history of the area you can take a tour of the lightstation. The lighthouse area features a restored signal cannon, a museum and kiosk where refreshments and souvenirs are available. Don't miss the daily cannon firing on the 12.30pm tour.

After exploring the lighthouse, enjoy a stroll along one of the walking trails around the park including the Cliff Top Hike. This short trail through a picturesque rock garden takes you to a stone lookout that provides an ideal vantage point for spotting whales and dolphins.

There is also a self-guided nature drive along Shackle Road between Cape Borda Lightstation and Flinders Chase Visitor Centre where you can explore the rugged western end of the island.

Why not extend your visit and stay in one of the historic Lightkeepers' Cottages.

1909 Cape De Coudic Lighthouse

The demand for a lighthouse in this area was a must for many years, as the treacherous waters had already claimed a number of souls including three shipwrecks that claimed 79 lives.

Named by French explorer Nicholas Baudin who passed on the opposite side of the island naming the south western point Cape du Couedic after his friend and famous French sea captain Charles Louis, Chevalier du Couedic de Kergoualer (1740-1780).

The coastline based off Flinders Chase National Park was to become the last resting place for 14 ships that came into gloom on those rocky shores.

Ships sunk off the coast of Flinders Chase include:

Mars   (1875)
Emily Smith   (1877)
The Loch Sloy  - Maupertius Bay - 24 April 1899
Loch Vennachar - West Bay - September 1905
Montebello    Stunsailboom - 18 November 1906


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Kangaroo Island forms a natural breakwater for Gulf St. Vincent which must be entered via Backstairs Passage or the Investigator Straight. The unpredictable and rough coastline of Kangaroo Island has claimed many ships and lives during the early 1800s.

In order to protect shipping lanes and create safe passages lighthouses were built, the first being Cape Willoughby Lighthouse in 1852. This was followed by Cape Borda Lighthouse in 1858 and Point Marsden Lighthouse in 1875. Two further lighthouse were built at Cape De Coudic in 1907/09 and at Cape St. Albans in 1908/09 due to several disastrous shipwrecks which claimed many lives.

The vast number of ships that went aground during these years were sailing ships. Many were wrecked because of inadequate knowledge or charts, poor navigation skills or handling but also as a result of the unpredictable seas and weather.

Since the official settlement of Kangaroo Island in 1836, over 80 shipwrecks have been recorded. A few including the Loch Sloy, Loch Vennachar, Osmanli and You Yangs had both tragic and dramatic ends. Other wrecks like the Portland Maru offer fascinating and intriguing experiences for divers.

The largest vessel to be wrecked off the coast was the 5,800 tonne Portland Maru in 1935, which began taking water near Cape du Couedic before sinking close to Cape Torrens. One of the more notable, tragic events occurred to the Loch Vennachar which sailed into cliffs on the west coast in 1905 with the loss of all 27 crew. Only one body was found and buried, unidentified, in the sandhills of West Bay.

The Kangaroo Island Shipwreck Trail explores the history of the island from when Matthew Flinders became the first European to record it during his survey in the Investigator in 1802. In 1803 French Captain Nicolas Baudin circumnavigated and charted the whole island.

Visitors to the island can learn more about shipwrecks by following the Kangaroo Island Shipwreck Trail which recounts stories of 7 shipwrecks through a series of story panels at various sites across the island. The signs highlight the history and archaeological significance of the vessels, as well as telling the story of the region in which the vessels now lie.



Caring for our Island

Kangaroo Island - Too Good to Spoil...

 what you can do to protect our island









Kangaroo Island –
Too Good to Spoil

Kangaroo Island’s remoteness and isolation has created a special environment and many of Australia’s pests and diseases are not found here. Please help us keep it that way.

The island depends on nature-based tourism and agricultural and therefore protecting our native vegetation is paramount. The introduction of just one new pest or disease could have devastating consequences potentially creating an environmental disaster for KI.

Please dispose of any restricted items before travelling to Kangaroo Island.  Use the quarantine bins or contact the appropriate agency for assistance with the disposal of restricted items. Severe penalties apply.

You cannot bring

Bees, bee handling equipment and honey products (yes that means no jars of honey!). Kangaroo Island is a sanctuary to the only Ligurian bee population in the world. Help keep this species pure and disease free

Potatoes for consumption or planting. Unwashed or dirty potatoes may carry disease, which could devastate the island’s seed potato industry. Please leave them behind. Washed or brushed potatoes in new packaging are permitted for consumption only. For more information contact: Primary Industries and Resources SA 08 8553 4949 or 1300 666 010

Foxes, rabbits and declared weeds. The introduction of these pests would create an environmental disaster. For further information contact: Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board on 08 8553 4300 or www.kinrm.sa.gov.au

Other things you can do to protect Kangaroo Island...

Visitors must notify the Kangaroo Island Council if they are bringing a dog or cat to the island. This is per Council By-Laws 5 (dogs) and 6 (cats). To notify the council, simply call Customer Services on 8553 4500 or email kicouncil@kicouncil.sa.gov.au.

Pets are NOT allowed at Seal Bay or any national park on Kangaroo Island (including car parks).

Residual plant material may be on your vehicle, camping equipment and hiking boots. Make sure they are free of soil before visiting Kangaroo Island

Aquatic pests are a major threat to marine environments. Please clean your boat and equipment carefully before leaving for Kangaroo Island

Vine cuttings from interstate must be inspected and certified. Help keep our vineyards disease free

For further information on Biosecurity on Kangaroo Island, contact Primary Industries and Resources on 08 85532 4949 or the Hotline on 1300 666 010.

Too Good To Spoil Leaflet

KI Safety Brochure


Neighbouring Regions

~The Fleurieu Peninsula~

Situated just 45 minutes south of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers some of the best food, wine, wildlife and events in the State.
As a peninsula, water plays a major part in the recreational activities with long sandy beaches, rugged cliff-scapes, and sheltered coves introduce a range of year round holiday activities that include fishing, surfing, scuba and snorkelling, sailing and swimming.



Need more information or wish to do a booking, please contact:
Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +61 8 8553 1185 or Toll Free: 1800 811 080
Email: info@tourkangarooisland.com.au


Cape Jervis Accommodation and Caravan Park

9351 Main South Road Cape Jervis SA 5204

Telephone 0885980288

Cape Jervis Accommodation and Caravan Park
Cape Jervis

Cape Jervis Station was first settled in the 1830s and is a village of old and newer buildings providing a variety of accommodation options. Set amid a collection of native and European trees, a variety of comfortable, private and unique accommodation exists in harmony with the flocks of native...

Links Lady Bay Golf Resort

73 St Andrews Boulevard Normanville SA 5204

Telephone 0885580600

Links Lady Bay Golf Resort

Just one hour south of Adelaide is Links Lady Bay Golf Resort in Normanville. Just a few minutes from the ferry to Kangaroo Island, bound by ocean and surrounded by rugged natural beauty. Features of this luxury resort include 18-hole championship golf course rated South Australia's number one...

Serafino McLaren Vale

Kangarilla Road McLaren Vale SA 5171

Telephone 0883238911

Serafino McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale

Serafino McLaren Vale is perfectly situated for you to enjoy the wonderful activities that the Fleurieu Peninsula has to offer. For the wine enthusiast, there are many wineries with in a casual drive of each other unique wines from one of the finest wine regions of Australia. The adventurous...

Wirrina Cove Resort

Paradise Drive Wirrina Cove SA 5204

Telephone 0885982400

Wirrina Cove Resort
Wirrina Cove

Welcome to the Wirrina Cove Resort and Conference Centre, South Australia. Spread over 1,200 acres of stunning South Australian landscape and just 75 minutes south of Adelaide on the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula, you'll find Wirrina Cove Resort. The resort presents an enticing mix of casual...




South Australian Whale Centre

2 Railway Terrace Victor Harbor SA 5211

Telephone 0885510750

South Australian Whale Centre
Victor Harbor

The South Australian Whale Centre is South Australia's largest marine focused interpretative centre and has the only marine focused three-dimensional theatrette in South Australia. Visitors can experience the natural wonders of the deep, explore the world heritage listed railway building, and...

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

... need some help booking somewhere to stay?

While all Kangaroo Island accommodation is suitable for exploring the Island, particular regions of the Island afford different advantages. Whether you are arriving in the evening and need accommodation close to the ferry port, you prefer to be close to shops and restaurants or if you really want to get away from it all and stay in a more secluded area, there is a region on Kangaroo Island to suit everyone. Need some help with your bookings ... then call us now on ...

TOLL FREE: 1800 811 080



Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre

Visit with our friendly staff at Kangaroo Island's only Accredited Visitor Information Centre and let us help you customise an itinerary as unique as you are to get the most from your time on Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre - Howard Drive, PENNESHAW SA 5222
Open: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm, Weekends & Public Holidays 10am - 4pm, Closed Christmas Day.

TOLL FREE: 1800 811 080