3-Day Family Kangaroo Island Itinerary
See abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery with this Kangaroo Island Itinerary.
Kangaroo Island sits off the coast of South Australia and is Australia’s third-largest Island.
Best known as home to wildlife such as Kangaroos, Sea lions, Koalas, Echidnas, Wallabies, Goannas, marine mammals and many species of birdlife, the island is teeming with wildlife as well as breathtaking beaches and the famous jaw-dropping scenery inside the Flinders Chase National Park.
It is possible to spend as little as one day on the island to to see the highlights, or a few days like we did to see a lot more. Visitors wanting to really relax and soak in the island ambiance stay a week or longer.
How to get there
The Kangaroo Island Ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island is the most common way to get to the island. Cape Jervis is an 1 hr 45 min drive from Adelaide. The Kangaroo Island Ferry takes 45 minutes to make the journey. There are multiple departures daily, however they do book up in advance so make your ferry booking as soon as you know you are going.
Kangaroo Island Sealink also operate daily coach transfer from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. Island Transfers connections are available to/from Penneshaw to American River and Kingscote.
Another option is to take a 30 minute flight from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island Airport.
Kangaroo Island is huge! You will need a car or to book bus tours to get around the island.
If you are flying into Adelaide like we did, you can hire a car from Adelaide airport and take it on the ferry with you. Generally a 4WD is not needed, however if there is rain forecast I highly suggest getting the 4WD as roads flood on the island making it difficult to get around unless you have a 4WD.
You can also hire a car once you get onto the island or take a Kangaroo Island Tour.
Where to stay
We stayed in Kingscote, the largest town on the island. We chose the location for its variety of cafes and grocery store, plus we wanted accommodation that was self catering for our own comfort.
While it has also been recommended to stay at various locations on the island as there is a lot of driving involved, we had a lot of rain during our stay and had to pivot our plans frequently, so we were glad in the end that we chose the one fairly-central accommodation as a result.
Aurora Ozone Hotel
We stayed four nights at the Aurora Ozone Hotel in Kingscote. The hotel is ideally located directly opposite the beach and has a range of standard rooms and self-contained 1 and 2-bedroom apartments. We stayed in the penthouse which had tow bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and living room. The hotel included a full breakfast and was only a few steps away from the grocery store, shops and restaurants.
3-Day Family Kangaroo Island Itinerary
Take the Kangaroo Island Ferry, then drive to Kingscote for lunch. There are several cute cafe options, and we really enjoyed the friendly ambiance of the Lighthouse Cafe and their delicious burgers and all-day breakfast.
Next drive to Emu Bay. The beach in this little town is one of the most popular on the island due to its clear waters, long shoreline, and the fact it is one of the few Kangaroo Island beaches with direct vehicle access.
Drop by the Emu Bay Lavender Farm on your way back to your accommodation, trying some of their famous giant scones and picking up locally-made products.
Drive to Seal Bay to take the 10am Guided Tour. Arrive with plenty of time before the tour so you can take the self-guided walk along the boardwalks beforehand.
Book your tour in advance to make sure your spot on the tour is guaranteed.
The Seal Bay Guided tour takes visitors into the heart of the endangered Australian sea lion colony that live on Kangaroo Island.
The 45 minute tour is a remarkable opportunity to learn about these endangered animals while they swim, rest and play only a few metres away.
Tour times: 9:15am, 10:00am, 10.45am, 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1:15pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm
Book your tour here.
Next, hope back in the car to take the short drive to the Raptor Domain, to make their 11:30am Free-Flight Birds of Prey Presentation.
Raptor Domain rescues many orphaned, injured and sick birds each year. Unfortunately not all birds are able to go back to the wild so many remain at Raptor Domain where they are ambassadors to help create awareness and appreciation for their species and their habitats.
The free-flight Birds of Prey presentation is an incredible way to learn about some of australia’s most remarkable birds up close, including barn owls, kookaburras, wedge-tailed eagles, cockatoos, black kites and more.
No need to pre-book tickets. You can get your tickets on arrival. The only pre-bookings that are essential are our private sessions. Please arrive 15-20 mins before the start of the show to guarantee your spot. If you can’t make the 11:30 show, it runs again at 2:30pm.
Get more information on the Raptor Domain.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Next, head to nearby Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park for a light lunch at their kiosk, before looking around the park and meeting some of the resident animals.
Located three kilometres past Parndana in the centre of Kangaroo Island, the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is set over 50 acres and home to over 500 animals. It’s a lovely, laid back place to spend time with some of Australia’s unique wildlife such as kangaroos (including the Kangaroo Island Kangaroo), wallabies, koalas, penguins wombats, cassowaries, dingoes, reptiles, birds, echidnas, and much more.
The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park has been rescuing and raising injured and orphaned wildlife for many years with a lot of the animals that call the park home having been raised from joeys, orphaned after car accidents, dog attacks and extreme weather.
In January 2020 the Kangaroo Island Koala and Wildlife Rescue Centre was established in response to the devastating bushfires that ravaged Kangaroo Island.
During the following months over 600 koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, goannas, birds and possums come through the rescue centre in need of critical care for burns, dehydration and starvation.
Animals that were able to be saved were treated and released back to the wild. Some of the joeys that were orphaned during those months were unable to be released and remained at the park.
Get more information on visiting the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.
Penneshaw Penguin Centre
After dark, head over to Penneshaw Penguin Centre to take the Kangaroo Island Little-Penguin Tour.
Join the friendly penguin guides on this 60 minute evening walk to search for the world’s smallest penguins and other wildlife using wildlife-friendly torches.
There are approximately 15 breeding pairs of little penguins living in Penneshaw and the sightings vary on each tour. We were lucky and saw plenty of baby and adult penguins on our tour.
Find out more about the Penneshaw Penguin Centre.
Flinders Chase National Park and Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area
Leave your accommodation early to make the long drive to Flinders Chase National Park. The park fee to enter is $13 pp.
The park has limited toilets, there is no food or drink available for purchase throughout the park.
Vivonne Bay General Store is the closest supplier of food, drinks and fuel and the Western KI Caravan Park sells basic food, drinks and ice cream. We chose to enter the park as soon as it opened and to leave around lunch time and head to the Vivonne Bay General Store for lunch.
Flinders Chase National Park is a must-visit in any Kangaroo Island itinerary to see the iconic Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and a long-nosed fur seal colony.
Recently re-opened after the devastating bushfires of 2019/2020 burnt 96 per cent of the park (the park was closed while the boardwalks were rebuilt) the park shows the resilience of nature, as well as the destruction the fires left behind them.
Goannas, koalas, eagles, kangaroos and echidnas are regularly spotted in the park (sadly we saw none but also visited on an extremely cold, wet winters day.
Sitting high on ancient rocky platforms above the sea, the surreal shapes and extraordinary colours of the Remarkable Rocks provide extraordinary photo opportunities as well as being fun to climb.
Admirals Arch at Cape du Couedic
Admirals Arch at Cape du Couedic is an impressive rock arch, as well as home to a massive colony of long-nosed fur seals.
Get more information on Flinders Chase National Park.
Vivonne Bay General Store
We stopped at the Vivonne Bay General Store for lunch on our way out of the Flinders Ranges National Park. The store has a decent range of quick food and is the easiest place to stop on the drive back across the island.
The Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee Co (formerly known as the Island Beehive) is a family owned and operated business based in Kingscote on Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Island is the oldest bee sanctuary in the world. Ligurian bees were bought to the island from Italy in 1881, and was declared a sanctuary in 1885. The bees were selected because of their mild temperament, gentleness and productivity. Due to their geographic isolation, they have been protected from disease and breeding with other races of honey bee, as a consequence the Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee is the purest strain of Ligurian bee remaining in the world.
Take a factory tour to learn about hives and honey, or take a look in the shop and see some of the bees in action and buy some local produce and gifts to take home. The honey ice cream is incredible!
Get more info on the Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee Co.
Get more info on visiting Kangaroo Island