You can get to Kangaroo Island by plane or ferry, and there are also day trips from Adelaide if you’re looking for a quick getaway. The island is popular, so pre-booking all services like touring, accommodation and car hire before arriving on the island is highly recommended.
Kangaroo Island is located 13 kilometres (eight miles) off the south coast of Australia. It is the third-largest island off the coast of mainland Australia, being 155km long by 55km wide.
It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for some wildlife spotting, as there are many kangaroos, wallabies, penguins and seals on the island. But where is Kangaroo Island? Where is it close to? And how to get to Kangaroo Island?
What capital city is closest to Kangaroo Island?
A question often asked by international visitors, but Adelaide is the capital city near Kangaroo Island (and the capital of South Australia).
Kangaroo Island is just a short hop from Adelaide, taking about 30-40 minutes by plane to get from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island.
Where do I catch the Kangaroo Island ferry from?
Getting to Kangaroo Island is easy on the regular ferry. The Kangaroo Island ferry operates a large, modern vehicle and passenger ferry service daily between Cape Jervis (south of Adelaide) and Penneshaw (on Kangaroo Island).
How long does the ferry to Kangaroo Island take?
The ferry crossing is 45 minutes.
It takes a 1.5 to 2 hour drive south of Adelaide and then the 16km ferry ride between Cape Jervis (near Adelaide) and Penneshaw (on Kangaroo Island) which takes about 45 minutes to cross the passage.
Enjoy a coffee and snacks from the fully licenced café onboard while crossing and taking in the beautiful views. The ferries also have free wifi, to stay connected. The 45 minute ferry crossing will feel like it flew by and you’ll be on Kangaroo Island before you know it!
Sealink Kangaroo Island Ferry
Sealink operates ferries to and from the island, running between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. There are three ferries that run daily, while others operate depending on season. Daily ferries depart Cape Jervis at 09:00, 10:00 and 18:00 and depart Penneshaw at 08:30, 10:30 and 19:30.
There are two ferries that make the 45-minute journey across the Backstairs Passage, both of which are modern with air conditioning, lounge–style chairs and toilets.
Ferries can accommodate both passengers and vehicles with a maximum length of four metres. Larger vehicles are also allowed to board the ferries but must pre-booked ahead of time.
It is also advisable to buy a ticket beforehand if arriving with a smaller vehicle in order to guarantee a spot.
It is recommended to check-in at least 30-minutes before ferry departure time. There is a café, free Wi-Fi and tourist information counter at both piers for the use of passengers before and after boarding a ferry.
Those travelling by car should be sure to lock all of their belongings inside before proceeding to the passenger deck.
Can I drive on Kangaroo Island?
Kangaroo Island’s stunning beauty may best be enjoyed by self-driving, which is one of the finest methods to see it all. Alternatively, you can rent a car when you arrive on Kangaroo Island.
If are looking for some adventure, then go on a 4×4 tour around the whole island. The most popular tourist destination on Kangaroo Island is Seal Bay Conservation Park where visitors can swim with seals and penguins!
How long does it take to drive across Kangaroo Island?
Allow for at least 2 hours driving east to west (Penneshaw to Flinders Chase) if you choose to not stop. But with so many things to see, plan to double or even triple that time. The eastern half of the island is where the port and the major towns are located.
The western half is more wild and natural. In reality, if possible, allow a few days and really enjoy the delights Kangaroo Island has to offer.
Can I travel without a vehicle?
Ferry passengers that are travelling to Kangaroo Island without a vehicle can make use of Kangaroo Island’s Sealink shuttle service. Shuttles run from Adelaide and Goolwa to Cape Jervis and from Penneshaw to Kingscote and American River.
Luggage vans will transport your luggage to and from the ferry and keep it safe throughout the voyage if you don’t have a car.
Can I hire a car on Kangaroo Island?
Yes, you can hire a car on the island. There are local car hire Kangaroo Island companies, that are waiting for you at the SeaLink Ferry Terminal (Penneshaw) as you step off the ferry or greet you at the Kangaroo Island Airport (Kingscote).
Can I fly to Kangaroo Island?
Travellers can fly to Kingscote Airport on Kangaroo Island direct from Adelaide airport. Flights depart from Adelaide twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening) and arrive at the island’s only airport; Kingscote Airport. All aircraft are De Havilland DHC-8 300 Series aircraft that can seat up-to 36 passengers.
The journey from Adelaide Airport is around 30 minutes, with Kingscote Airport being located around 7.5 miles from Kangaroo Island’s main town.
Over 60,000 visitors arrive on the island by air from Adelaide each year. It is highly advisable to book well in advance, as flights are often full in the high season.
There are no taxis or public transport options at the Kingscote Airport but it is possible to hire a car from one of the onsite agents. Passengers can also arrange for private transfer through a tour company or through their hotel or resort. Other facilities at the small airport include a coffee machine, a confectionery machine, toilets and telephones.
There are also two flights a day from Kingscote Airport back to Adelaide Airport; one in the morning and one in the evening. Booking a return flight can often save visitors a bit of money as well as a lot of headache.
Can I fly from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island?
While Kangaroo Island if fairly close to Melbourne, there are no direct flights from Melbourne to the island. You would need to fly to Adelaide first and transfer to a flight, getting you to Kangaroo Island.
The approximate flight time for flights from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island is two and a half hours.
Can I go to Kangaroo Island for a day trip?
There’s a lot to see and do on Kangaroo Island, but one day tours are perfect if you only have limited time to explore and are happy to limit yourself to just a few sights on the eastern side of the island. One day would be a good taste test, but chances are, you will be back!