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How to get to Kangaroo Island

Date: July 2, 2024

Kangaroo Island is located off the coast of South Australia, approximately 112 kilometres (70 miles) southwest of Adelaide. It is the third-largest island in Australia and is known for its diverse wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and natural attractions.

If you are travelling from overseas, you can fly into Adelaide Airport (ADL) which services flights from major carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates​. For more detailed information on flight schedules, you can visit the Adelaide Airport official website​.

If you are travelling interstate within Australia, Adelaide Airport receives domestic flights from all major Australian cities, operated by Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Regional Express (REX).

Travelling to Kangaroo Island

Naturally, being an island means that there are two ways to travel to it, one is crossing the Backstairs Passage by ferry, and the other is by air from Adelaide.

By ferry:

  1. Drive to Cape Jervis: Cape Jervis is about a 90-minute drive south of Adelaide. If you don’t have a car, you can take a shuttle bus from Adelaide to Cape Jervis (operated by LinkSA).
  2. Ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw: Sealink operates several daily services between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. It is recommended to book ferry tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  3. Drive from Penneshaw to your accommodation: If you don’t have a car, you will need to arrange transfer from the ferry terminal to your accommodation. Note that there is no public transport on Kangaroo Island, nor are there any Taxi services, or Uber. Most accommodation options will not offer transfers, therefore your options are:

SeaLink operates a twice-a-day shuttle bus service between Penneshaw and Kingscote (via American River), to connect to morning and evening ferry services.

  • SeaLink operates a twice-a-day shuttle bus service between Penneshaw and Kingscote (via American River), to connect to morning and evening ferry services.

By air:

  1. Flights from Adelaide to Kingscote: QantasLink operate regular flights from Adelaide to Kingscote Airport (KGC) on Kangaroo Island. The flight takes approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Private charter flights from the mainland Australia: Private charter flights can be arranged from Adelaide, smaller airports in South Australia, as well as other Australian cities. For more information you can fill in an enquiry form.
  3. Ground Transport on Kangaroo Island: Once you land at Kingscote Airport, you can pick up your pre-booked vehicle from either Budget Rent-a-Car or Hertz

Additional Tips

  • Kangaroo Island is much larger than you expect: Kangaroo Island’s size is often underestimated. It is recommended that you allow at least 3-4 nights on the island to allow you to explore and enjoy the iconic highlights of the Island. Be prepared to cover some distance during your stay.
  • Book in Advance: Whether you choose to travel by ferry or plane, booking your tickets in advance is recommended.
  • Vehicle space on the ferry: If you are unable to secure vehicle space for your preferred travel dates, consider hiring a car on the Island in Penneshaw or in Kingscote.
  • Transport on the Island: Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore Kangaroo Island as there are no public transport options on the Island.
  • Luggage: Check the luggage allowances for both ferry and flight services to avoid any issues.
  • Travel disruptions: Weather may affect ferry services to and from the Island.
  • Car hire: If you are hiring a car from Adelaide, or anywhere else on Mainland Australia, make sure that you are allowed to take it to Kangaroo Island; and if you are allowed check the small print regarding any travel restrictions. Common restrictions are on driving off the beaten track and after sunset, mainly to reduce the risk of accidents relating to wildlife on the road at nighttime.
  • Type of car to hire: You do not require a 4WD to travel around Kangaroo Island. It is recommended that you hire a car that is somewhat heavier than the Group A standard, such as a full-size sedan or an SUV, to increase comfort on the unsealed, often corrugated roads that crisscross Kangaroo Island.
  • Where to base yourself on the Island: To reduce the time you spend on the roads, and increase your time enjoying the Island’s delights, consider booking your accommodation close to attractions, or your personal places of interest. The most iconic highlights are located on the south western part of the Island (Flinders Chase National Park) and Seal Bay Conservation Park.

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Ecopia Retreat acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, to the Elders past, present, and emerging.