Regions & Size
Kangaroo Island is 155 km long by 55 km wide with 540 kms coastline covering some 4,500 sq kms. It is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville Islands.
For a snapshot of Kangaroo Island, we recommend a minimum 3 night stay but if you can stay for a week then all the better. This will allow you time to take in more of the famous sights and most importantly take some time to relax – after all, isn’t that what a holiday is all about?!
Discover six unique regions of Kangaroo Island below and some of the wonderful highlights each region has to offer.
Penneshaw is the main town on the Dudley Peninsula and it’s where you’ll disembark from the SeaLink ferry. Many people choose Penneshaw as their base for their Kangaroo Island holiday and SeaLink has a range of accommodation for you to choose from, including the Kangaroo Island Seafront or a range of self-contained holiday homes. You may consider other places to stay around this area such as Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Antechamber Bay where you can choose from a number of cottages or beach houses.
An ideal beachside holiday spot only seven minutes from Penneshaw, Baudin Beach provides a quiet holiday location with a beach, small jetty and beautiful panoramic views over Eastern Cove towards American River. The quintessential beach holiday location, Island Beach boasts stunning turquoise waters and rows of spectacular homes. It is well known for local wildlife such as wallabies and goannas and is a famous fishing spot for King George Whiting.
Highlights: Cape Willoughby Lighthouse Tours • Dudley Wines Clifftop Cellar Door • Sunset Food & Wine • Art Galleries • Penneshaw Penguin Centre • Penneshaw Markets • Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail in Penneshaw township • Fishing • Antechamber Bay • SeaLink Ferry Terminal • Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari • Dudley Peninsula Scenic and Wine Tour • Public Skate Park
American River is a quiet, friendly fishing village nestled on a hillside on native bushland. You have a great selection of accommodation to choose from including the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, The Terraces, Ulonga Seaviews, Kangaroo Island Coastal Units and Wanderers Rest of Kangaroo Island.
American River is a bird-watching paradise and a great place to try local fresh oysters from The Oyster Farm Shop while enjoying the views over Eastern Cove. There’s an impressive stretch of coastline around this area including the spectacular Pennington Bay, a photographer’s dream and a very popular place for fishing and surfing. There are plenty of scenic walks around and exploring American River by foot can be a rewarding way to see this region.
To learn more about this region download our information booklet.
Highlights: Fishing & Fishing Charters • Sailing • Pennington Bay • Bird Watching • Clifford’s Honey Farm • Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery • The Oyster Farm Shop • The River Deck Cafe • The Boat Shed in American River featuring the rebuild of the historic ship replica Independence
Kingscote & Emu Bay
Kingscote is the commercial hub of Kangaroo Island and home to a number of shops, facilities and nearly half of the Island’s population. There’s a large range of accommodation options available including hotels/motels, bed & breakfasts, holiday homes and a caravan park. Near by Emu Bay also has a wide selection of coastal holiday homes to choose from. Kingscote is situated on Nepean Bay, overlooking a tranquil harbour. It is a special place in South Australia’s colonial history, as just north of Kingscote is the important heritage site, Reeves Point, South Australia’s first European settlement.
Emu Bay (located 18km from Kingscote) is a popular holiday spot on the north coast. It boasts a beautiful 4km long white sandy beach with vehicle access as well as safe, clear water for swimming and water activities.
Kingscote Highlights: Shopping • Restaurants • Colonial history • Jetty fishing • Art galleries • Amadio Wines Kangaroo Island Cellar Door • Island Beehive • KI Spirits • Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures • The Islander Estate Vineyards Tasting Room • Bay of Shoals Winery & Cellar Door
Emu Bay Highlights: Safe swimming beach • Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures Tours • Emu Bay Lavender Farm & Cafe • Wildlife
North Coast Discover a real sense of space and freedom as you pass by rolling hills and great views. The northern coastline is simply stunning with white sandy beaches, clear waters, hidden coves and spectacular coastal scenery. There are a number of secluded beaches such as Stokes Bay, Western River Cove and King George Beach, which are a haven for fishing and water sports. King George Beach is a hidden treasure, a small pebble beach tucked away in a delightful cove. At the mouth of Middle River, Snelling Beach is excellent for swimming, surf fishing and great rock fishing at either end of the beach. Stokes Bay has a wonderful walkway through the headland of boulders – a white sandy beach and a beautiful rock pool.
Heartland Heading inland you will find the true heart of Kangaroo Island, Parndana. The Heartland was where ex-soldiers were settled and given the task of farming the island’s central plateau. There is a small selection of accommodation in the town, as well as limited services and facilities.
North Coast Highlights: The Rockpool Cafe @ Stokes Bay (open seasonally) • Table 88 (Open October to May) • Amazing white sandy beaches • Water sports • Fishing Safe • Safe swimming beaches
Heartland Highlights: Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park • Parndana Hotel • Exploring country tracks
Western Kangaroo Island
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. You will also see colonies of Long-nosed Fur Seals frolicking in the Southern Ocean.
In this area, you can stay in absolute luxury at the very stylish Southern Ocean Lodge or choose from cabin or hotel style accommodation. There’s also a great caravan park here that offers camping sites and on-site cabins.
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.
Highlights: Wildlife • Nature • Flinders Chase National Park & Visitors Centre • Remarkable Rocks • Admirals Arch • Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Visitor Centre and Cafe • Cape du Couedic and Cape Borda Light Houses • Weirs Cove • Surfing • Fishing • Kelly Hill Conservation Park & Caves – Tours & Adventure Caving • Bush Getaway Adventures Quad Bikes and Paintball
The South Coast is one of the most popular places on Kangaroo Island – it’s rugged, beautiful and home to some of the Island’s favourite attractions, Seal Bay Conservation Park, Little Sahara and Vivonne Bay.
Vivonne Bay is a long, curved sandy beach superb for picnics, beachcombing, surfing and fishing and there’s a good selection of accommodation available here, mainly lodge style or beach house accommodation.
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.
Highlights: Seal Bay Conservation Park & Guided Beach Walks • Little Sahara • Sandboarding or Electric Bikes •Vivonne Bay • Raptor Domain - Birds of Prey, Fang-Tastic and the Venom Pit displays • Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action • Rustic Blue Art Gallery & Café (open seasonally) • Seal Bay Café • Vivonne Bay General Store