5 Best Beaches on Kangaroo Island to Swim Safely

Stunning Family-Friendly Kangaroo Island Beaches Safe for Swimming

Australia has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, and some of them are right here on Kangaroo Island. Not all of them are suitable for swimming though, so we’ve rounded up five of the best beaches on Kangaroo Island where the whole family can swim safely.

1. Penneshaw Beach

Hog Bay, Penneshaw’s main beach, has a coastline of perfect white sand accompanied by alluring, clear waters. Combined with its calm seas, shallow depth and serene atmosphere, Hog Bay is a superb spot to swim and sunbathe to your heart’s content. The beach is easily accessible by road and has designated parking, including picnic and barbecue facilities, plus toilets.

Wander along the coast and visit the Frenchman’s Rock Monument on the far end of Hog Bay. At dusk, the local colony of penguins totter up the beach and head to their homes—such a delight to see them on a guided tour.

Penneshaw is a busy township as it is the main arrival and departure point for ferry travel, but the beach is generally uncrowded and peaceful, so it is easy to spend the entire day at Hog Bay.

2. Stokes Bay Rock Pool

Stokes Bay rock pools and beach are often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’. That’s because this little slice of paradise is hidden from outside view and only accessible through a labyrinth of natural rock tunnels. It’s often so secluded that you end up having the entire place to yourself!

Stokes Bay’s rock-enclosed pools are phenomenal, with their calm, clear waters inviting you to relax and unwind. The rock pools are shallow and house a variety of fish; making them the perfect place to swim and snorkel for all ages and abilities. Because the swimming area is protected by the rock walls surrounding it, it is perfect for kids to play in the water without any waves crashing in between.

Beyond the rock pools lies Stokes Bay beach. This part of the beach has rough waters and it isn’t recommended for swimming, but it’s great for surfing, boogie boarding and fishing.

Stokes Bay

3. Emu Bay Beach

Emu Bay beach is among the best beaches on Kangaroo Island. Located a short drive west of Kingscote, Emu Bay is a little town that has a four-kilometre-long beach with calm, turquoise waters. The beach has direct vehicle access, though care should be taken when driving as this delicate environment is shared with the wildlife that call it home. Aside from the waters being safe for swimming, the beach is fantastic for fishing, paddling and snorkelling too, so be sure to bring along your gear.

While on your visit, you’ll notice unique rock formations on the beach that resemble stacked blocks with orange-coloured lichen growing on them. They’re known as Emu Bay Shale and are estimated to be over 500 million years old!

If you’re lucky, you may get to spot some dolphins, and if you’re still around in the evening, you may see some little penguins (sometimes called ‘fairy penguins’) on the beach. Despite its name though, Emu Bay isn’t home to Kangaroo Island emus—this species became extinct in the early part of the 19th century.

Emu Bay beach is accessible and accommodating, with a car park, playground, picnic ground and camping facilities. There are more than enough options available to have a terrific time on this spectacular beach.

Couple on Beach

4. Vivonne Bay Beach

Vivonne Bay beach has an idyllic island holiday vibe, with bright white sand and brilliant blue waters—similar to other beaches on Kangaroo Island, but Vivonne Bay beach is arguably the one with the most striking beauty and regularly makes the top 10 beach list in Australia. This horseshoe-shaped beach spans six kilometres, with a jetty at one end and sand dunes at the opposite end. The entire landscape is incredibly picturesque.

Vivonne Bay beach is accessible from the main car park and the western side of the Harriet River. The safest spot to swim at the beach is west of the main car park and along the western jetty beach. Here, the waves are gentler and you can easily wade waist-deep in these beautiful, calm waters. However, the beaches situated east of the car park are dominated by reefs and rips which are not safe for swimming, although you can soak up the warmth and sunbathe.

Vivonne Bay is also popular for surfing and fishing. The beach right in front of the car park marks the best spot to go surfing. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines from the beach or the jetty—there’s a wide variety of marine life that awaits. The picnic and barbecue facilities at the campground mean that you can cook and enjoy your fresh catch on the spot!

5. Kingscote Tidal Pool

The Kingscote tidal pool gives you the same experience as swimming in the salty waters of the ocean while being completely safe and protected from the tides. This huge pool is filled with seawater from the action of the tides and is secured by the rock walls around it, making it extremely safe for small children—although they should always be supervised near water. Grassy banks that surround the area are sheltered and offer a good vantage point from which to keep an eye on the kids while they’re in the water. The pool has both a deep end and a shallow end, perfect for novice and experienced swimmers alike.

The pool is a short distance away from Kingscote Beach, near the wharf. Facilities include showers, toilets, and picnic and barbecue areas, making a trip to the Kingscote tidal pool a great way to spend a few hours with the family.

A leisurely swim at the beach is one of the top reasons to visit an island. Fortunately, the safe swimming beaches on Kangaroo Island are not only picture postcard-perfect but they’re well-equipped with all the facilities for a wonderful, family-friendly beach day. Now that you know the best beaches for safe swimming, start planning your family holiday. Kangaroo Island has more to offer than its pristine beaches—discover its rich history, diverse wildlife, local wines, and fresh seafood, just to name a few! It’s an island that has something special to offer every traveller.