Kangaroo Island Camping and Caravanning Tips

Top Camping Spots on Kangaroo Island and Tips for Your Next Adventure

Kangaroo Island camping and caravanning is a different experience compared to other parts of Australia. Like most places, there are a range of facilities with different levels of services. What is unique is that even Kangaroo Island’s privately owned caravan and camping sites provide a sense of tranquility, with space and privacy. There are no jumbo playgrounds or jumping pillows here, instead there is the massive backyard of nature’s playground, with all the essentials.

Camping on Kangaroo Island is a great way to get closer to nature. To ensure that your experience is suited to your preferred caravan and camping style and where you would like to stay, there are a range of options for you to consider which you will find listed below.

Privately Owned Caravan and Camping Parks

Kangaroo Island National & Conservation Park Campgrounds

To fully immerse oneself in the natural beauty, flora and fauna of the island, stay at a national or conservation park nature-based campground. There are numerous choices for caravanning and camping in these parks on the island that range from secluded bush campsites to beachside camping spots. While there are many campgrounds and campsites available, national parks staff are working hard to restore camping facilities in the fire-damaged and recovery areas of Kangaroo Island. The majority of the campgrounds in these areas have now reopened and work continues to progress.

National and conservation park campsites must all be pre-booked online. Visit Parks SA to keep up with what facilities are available, and to book a national or conservation park campsite.

Please Note: Kangaroo Island Council and National Parks campgrounds are closed on Catastrophic Total Fire Ban days.

Camping at Chapman River Kangaro Island
Camping on Kangaroo Island
Antechamber Bay & Chapman River Campgrounds
Caravan and Camping Chapman River Kangaroo Island

Located within Lashmar Conservation Park on the north coast of the Dudley Peninsula, these two campgrounds are only a short drive from Cape Willoughby Lighthouse. Antechamber Bay campground consists of a long sandy beach looking towards the mainland and Cape Willoughby, whereas the Chapman River campground meets the sea at Antechamber Bay. Both campgrounds are ideal for swimming, fishing, canoeing and birdwatching.

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park Campgrounds

This protected park is located on the south coast of Kangaroo Island with four camping areas at D’Estrees Bay and another at Murray Lagoon.

The D’Estrees Bay campground offers beachside camping at D’Estrees Bay, Wheatons Beach, Tea Trees and Big Dune Campgrounds. Discover windswept shores with dramatic terrain including reefs, craggy headlands, shipwrecks and wild surf. The beach is also great for fishing.

Kangaroo Island’s biggest freshwater lagoon, Murray Lagoon is also another fantastic camping spot on the island. It is a peaceful haunt for birdwatchers, nature photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, especially after rain.

Flinders Chase National Park Campgrounds

Camping in Flinders Chase National Park is currently limited to two camping areas at Harvey’s Return and West Bay due to the impact of the 2019-2020 bushfires. The park is located on the west end of Kangaroo Island and is as close as you can get to full immersion into the wilderness areas of the island.

Harvey’s Return campground boasts a remote and historic cliff top location at the old landing site for the lightkeepers at Cape Borda.

West Bay offers seclusion and spectacular views over the island’s westernmost inlet. Beyond the rugged headlands of West Bay are shipwrecks and a pristine beach ideal for swimming and fishing.

National and Conservation Parks Amenities

Campground Toilet BBQ Tent CV/MH Power Shower Water Pets Beach
Antechamber Bay
Chapman River
D'Estrees Bay
Murrays Lagoon
Harvey's Return
West Bay - Currently Closed
Rocky River - Currently Closed
Snake Lagoon -Currently Closed

Kangaroo Island Council Campgrounds

Kangaroo Island Council Camp sites are currently self-registering, and at present, there is no pre-booking available. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis. This can be challenging at peak times; however you could also be lucky. We recommend checking for a site earlier in the day, so you’re not left looking for alternatives late in the afternoon or evening.

Most have facilities like toilets, showers, water, BBQs, and some have power available. There is a small fee payable to stay at these campgrounds.

These campsites are transitioning to an online booking system—keep up to date and get more information at the Kangaroo Island Council camping page.

Please Note: Kangaroo Island Council and National Parks campgrounds are closed on Catastrophic Total Fire Ban days.

Brown Beach Campground

This secluded campground is located adjacent to Brown Beach, adjoining Hog Bay Road on the north coast of the Dudley Peninsula. Campsites are situated amongst native vegetation with easy access to the beautiful sheltered beach—perfect for swimming.

American River Campground

Located in the small town of American River on the eastern cove of the island, this campground is situated on the American River inlet near the boat ramp and jetty. Stroll to the nearby jetty café or into town for provisions and feast on fresh seafood. American River is a fisherman’s paradise, but also wonderful for bushwalking, birdwatching on Pelican Lagoon, and is a safe haven for yachts.

Duck Lagoon Campground

A birdwatcher’s delight, this campground is located near Cygnet River only 12 kilometres from Kingscote. There are bird viewing platforms for avid birdwatchers, picnic areas, and walking paths alongside the lagoon with interpretive signage about the history of the area.

Emu Bay Campground

The level sites at this campground make it ideal for caravans and motorhomes. Emu Bay is located on the north side of the island and features a beautiful white sandy beach that has vehicle access. Campsites are situated amongst the coastal vegetation and a short stroll away from the beach.

Stokes Bay Campground

Situated behind the Rock Pool Café at Stokes Bay, on the north coast, this campground is only a short walking distance from the secluded beach where there are safe and calm little rock pools ideal for swimming. The unique access to this beach is via a rock tunnel. The campground is surrounded by bushland with many native animal visitors, including wallabies, koalas and kangaroos.

Western River Campground

Featuring the best of both worlds, with both river and beach access, Western River Campground is located on the north coast of Kangaroo Island. The beach here is considered one of the nicest beaches on the island and is great for swimming, snorkelling and fishing.

Vivonne Bay Campground

The camping ground at Vivonne Bay is on the south coast of Kangaroo Island, adjacent to the Harriet River and a short walk from the U-shaped beach. This beach was once in Australia’s top 10 and is ideal for swimming, surfing, fishing and walking.

Kangaroo Island Council Campgrounds Amenities

Campground Toilet BBQ Tent CV/MH Power Shower Water Pets Beach Playground
Brown Beach
American River
Duck Lagoon
Emu Bay
Stokes Bay
Western River
Vivonne Bay

Free Camping

Free camping on Kangaroo Island is not widely accepted by island residents due to the negative impact of the carelessness of some campers and the damage it has caused to the environment. There are plenty of free and low-cost campgrounds available, so it is advisable for campers to respect the wishes of the island community and help them keep Kangaroo Island clean and protected. Please use one of the many designated campgrounds provided on the island.

What you need to know when camping on Kangaroo Island

In the busier seasons from October to April, be sure to pre-book your Kangaroo Island Campsite where possible. If you would like a site that is unable to be booked, arrive earlier in the day for a better opportunity to find your perfect spot.

Kangaroo Island Dump Sites

Kangaroo Island Dump Sites are available at four locations across the island. These include American River Campground, Brownlow (on Third Street, adjacent to the Kingscote Tourist Park), Parndana Lions Park and Penneshaw (carpark opposite Museum). Please ensure that all waste is disposed of at one of these sites.

Kangaroo Island Fresh Water

Kangaroo Island fresh water is available at most private campgrounds, so be sure to enquire when booking.

Generally, rainwater is safe to drink. If the rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell and is from a well-maintained system, it is unlikely to cause illness for most users. If concerned, distill the water before consumption by bringing the rainwater to the boil and cooling.

SA Water provides a reticulated mains water supply that supplies the townships of Parndana and Kingscote, along with a desalination plant which supplies water to the Penneshaw township. The combined systems supply water to about half of the Kangaroo Island population.

Campfires on Kangaroo Island

Our top tips for campfires will help make sure they are safe and fun for everyone!

  1. Be aware that open campfires on Kangaroo Island are:
  • not permitted in National Park campgrounds at any time of the year.
  • not permitted anywhere during the Fire Ban Season.
  • not allowed in summer and not encouraged, particularly during spring and autumn due to the bushfire risk.
  1. Be fire safe and use liquid fuel or gas stoves where possible. Refer to signage at each campground and check the fire ban season and fire restrictions on Kangaroo Island before arriving.

  2. Collecting firewood from Kangaroo Island National Parks and Reserves is not permitted and gathering firewood along roadsides is only allowed with a permit from the local council. There are strict requirements relating to these permits.
Kangaroo Island Biosecurity

Kangaroo Island biosecurity is extremely important as the island’s remoteness and isolation has created a unique environment. Restricted items include:

  • Honey products
  • Potatoes
  • Vines and cuttings
  • Pest animals—foxes and rabbits
  • Pest plants

You must also notify the local Council if you are bringing a pet over to the island.

Check the biosecurity requirements carefully when you plan your trip to ensure you have all the necessary information about how Kangaroo Island is protected.

Top Tips for Camping and Caravanning on Kangaroo Island

Camping on Kangaroo Island offers a wide range of caravanning and camping options. You are spoilt for choice, from private Caravan Parks with all the comforts, to basic bush campsites with limited facilities. The island is 4,500 square kilometres in area, so get off the beaten track and explore every inch of it.

To take full advantage of the island while caravanning or camping, here are our top 11 tips to help you make your trip a great adventure:

  1. Fill up with staples from the Penneshaw IGA, Drakes in Kingscote or the Parndana IGA. American River also has a store within the Post Office.
  2. If you’re driving on Kangaroo Island, fuel can be found in Penneshaw, Kingscote, Parndana and Vivonne Bay. It is also available 24/7 from the Western KI Caravan Park.
  3. Book your travel with Sealink when they have a Kangaroo Island Caravan Park or Campground special offer available. Keep an eye on Sealink’s special offers and save your money to spend on the island instead.
  4. Book some of your camping spots on Kangaroo Island ahead of time, especially for your first night. If you arrive late, it can be tricky to travel for an hour or more in the dark before setting up. Check out the Kangaroo Island Seafront Holiday Park in Penneshaw, a two-minute drive from the ferry. They offer a range of accommodation, including glamping.
  5. Kangaroo Island Council campsites can’t be pre-booked, so arrive early to secure a spot.
  6. National Park camp spots can be pre-booked.
  7. Each Kangaroo Island campsite is unique. To really explore the island, select a few different camping spots at various locations around the island. Stay at each campground or caravan park for a minimum of 2 to 3 nights to totally immerse yourself in this island paradise.
  8. Bring fishing gear. There are lots of opportunities for fishing on Kangaroo Island in rivers, beaches, off jetties and breakwaters or rocks. For more information check out our detail on boating and fishing.
  9. Bring bikes, for the big and little kids. There are lots of open spaces to ride around on the island to explore.
  10. Free Camping on Kangaroo Island is not encouraged to protect the flora and fauna on the island.
  11. Camping within the Flinders Chase National Park is currently limited to two campgrounds due to the impact of the 2020 bushfires.

Further Information about Camping on Kangaroo Island

Visiting Kangaroo Island is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone who enjoys nature, native wildlife, sprawling wilderness areas, untrodden beaches and spectacular scenery that will take your breath away. It is the perfect place for a total escape from the everyday to a pristine and protected environment.

The beauty of Kangaroo Island is that campers and caravanners are offered so much choice and a variety of places to set up camp.