Top 15 Places To See On Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island, SA 16 October 2023
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Continue reading for each of the top Aussie Bucket List experiences that you must see and do when travelling to Kangaroo Island in South Australia.


TOP Aussie BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES

1 - Remarkable Rocks


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Sitting up above the sea in Flinders Chase National Park, the impressive Remarkable Rocks form what appear to be a cluster of precariously balanced granite boulders. This stunning work of nature has been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain over some 500 million years. The golden orange lichen covering some of the rocks offers visitors wonderful photo opportunities at different times of the day.

Interpretation signs share the story of how these intriguing rocks were formed. There is a viewing platform providing a vantage point for disabled access. The area also provides an excellent vantage point for viewing the photogenic Casuarina Islets.

Much of the park was devastatingly burnt in the bush fires, with the visitor centre, walking trails including the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, boardwalks and visitor facilities destroyed, and heritage-listed buildings damaged.

Luckily, the tourism draw-card of Remarkable Rocks is still intact and the iconic sites of Admirals Arch, Cape du Couedic lighthouse and cottages, and Weirs Cove, as well as Cape Borda lighthouse and cottages were untouched by the 2019-2020 summer bush fires.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) is working hard to support the bush fire recovery of Kangaroo Island’s parks including supporting wildlife recovery, rebuilding essential infrastructure and re-imagining visitor experiences in parks.

Work is underway in partnership with other organisations to support native animal recovery, particularly for the endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart and glossy black-cockatoo. Our wildlife recovery efforts include immediate food and water drops, monitoring with motion-sensing cameras, population counts, feral cat and pig control, plantings as well as providing the environment time and space for natural recovery.

The good news is that there are native animal sightings like goannas, koalas, eagles, kangaroos and echidnas.

Plant life is already bouncing back at Flinders Chase. Many native plant species are adapted to survive, regenerate and thrive after fire. Native sedges, ghanias, yaccas, hakeas and mallees are re-sprouting and turning the landscape green again. Following winter rains, some plants are growing a few centimetres a day! It won’t be long until the bush is back.

Visit the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia's bush fire recovery webpage for more information.

Add the Remarkable Rocks to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


2 - Admirals Arch


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Admirals Arch is a natural rock arch created by amazing forces of nature It's situated within Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island. You can take an easy walk on a boardwalk around the cliff face. This leads you to a viewing platform overlooking the arch. The arch is sculpted by weathering and erosion from the sea over thousands of years. Fur-seals often play among the rocks. These dark brown seals feed at sea but return to land to rest and breed. In summer, each of the large males establishes a territory with a number of females. You can often see Fur-seal pups playing near the rock pools beneath the arch.

There is an interpretive centre at the park with more information, maps and ideas for walking and viewing wildlife nearby. You can also stay nearby in the heritage lighthouse cottages at Cape de Couedic. These have been beautifully restored with modern facilities.

Add Admirals Arch to your Aussie Bucket List HERE


3 - Pennington Bay


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Pennington Bay sits on the southern coastline of Kangaroo Island. It is a stunning bay that is famous for its surfing due to the powerful swells that roll in. Caution should be taken when swimming as the waves can be rough. The landscape of Pennington Bay is stunning, with stunning bush land and wild life.

Add Pennington Bay to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


4 - Snelling Beach


Image credit: Licensed by Aussie Bucket List

Snellings Beach is the most visible and most popular on the north coast. The North Coast Road runs right past the western end of the beach, providing parking and beach access, while a lookout on the road provides an excellent view of the entire beach. The 660 m long, northwest facing beach receives waves averaging over 1 m, which maintain a 100 m wide surf zone dominated by four beach rips and permanent rips against the rocks at each end. The waves tend to increase in height toward the western end, increasing the rip intensity. A 10 m high foredune backs the beach, with the Middle River meandering through the backing floodplain and exiting across the northern end of the beach.

Snellings Beach is a popular summer beach for swimming and surfing.

Add Snelling Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


5 - Cape Willoughby Lightstation


Image credit: SA Parks and Wildlife Services

Situated in the easternmost point of Kangaroo Island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built in South Australia in 1852. It stands 27 metres high with 102 steps to the lookout tower, and offers stunning panoramic views across Backstairs Passage and the Kangaroo Island coastline. Guided tours of the Lightstation precinct, including the tower, are held daily.

The Visitor Centre includes a fascinating museum reading room, with light refreshments and souvenirs available. The isolation, ruggedness and beauty of this part of Kangaroo Island, is striking. Stay overnight in a spacious lightkeeper’s cottage to live the experience from the comfort of one of these beautifully restored cottages. Self-guided walking trails provide further insight into the lives of the early Lighthouse Keepers and the construction of the Lightstation.

A 1.9 kilometre loop walk commences from the Visitors Centre. Nearby Antechamber Bay, in Lashmar Conservation Park, offers a long sandy beach perfect for swimming, beachcombing, with picnic and camping facilities.

Add Cape Willoughby Lightstation to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


6 - Curly Creek Walking Trail


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island 

The Curly Creek Hike in Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, South Australia is an 11km return hike with bird and wild life likely to be seen. This hike follows an old fire access track which skirts the edge of Murray Lagoon. Walkers will not only discover a large range of birdlife but also a variety of vegetation communities.

Bald Hill provides spectacular views overlooking Murray Lagoon and is an ideal spot to observe migratory waders as they feed from the lagoon below.

The Curley Creek Hike begins at Curley Creek, 6 km from the Murray Lagoon park office or 4 km from the South Coast Road off Seagers Road. The Curley Creek Hike can also be accessed via the Bald Hill Walk, 2 km from the Murray Lagoon park office.

Access to the trail can be subject to seasonal flooding.

Note: walking trail subject to flooding in winter months.

Add Curly Creek Walking Trail to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


7 - Emu Bay Beach


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island 

Emu Bay is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on Kangaroo Island. The Emu Bay Beach is located just a brief drive west of Kangaroo Island's largest settlement, Kingscote. Its popularity is most likely due to its clear waters, long shoreline, and the fact it is one of the few Kangaroo Island beaches with direct vehicle access.

The unique Emu Bay shale geological formation is another signature landmark, while a small fishing jetty dates back to 1918.

Add Emu Bay Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


8 - Kelly Hill Caves


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Discover the magical underground world of Kelly Hill Caves and admire the ornate cave decorations. For the bold and inquisitive there are also adventure caving tours that take you crawling through the underground maze. Or you may like to go bush walking to appreciate the diverse landscapes above ground and take advantage of the picnic facilities.

*Please note during extreme weather events the park may be closed for guests safety. Visit the Kelly Caves website for further details.

Add Kelly Hill Caves to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


9 - Flinders Chase National Park


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Flinders Chase National Park is now open following the devastating 2019-20 summer bushfires, which burnt 96 per cent of the park (and the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area).

Flinders Chase Nation­al Park is a must for any Kan­ga­roo Island parks adven­ture. This vast area of wilder­ness fea­tures the icon­ic Remark­able Rocks, Admi­rals Arch and a long-nosed fur seal colony.

Sit­ting high on ancient rocky plat­forms above the sea, Remark­able Rocks’ sur­re­al shapes and gold­en orange colours pro­vide extra­or­di­nary pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ties. Admi­rals Arch at Cape du Couedic is not only an impres­sive rock arch, weath­er worn over thou­sands of years, it’s also home to a colony of long-nosed fur seals.

Flinders Chase Nation­al Park is recov­er­ing nat­u­ral­ly fol­low­ing the 2019 – 20 sum­mer bush­fires, which burnt 96 per cent of the park (and the Ravine des Casoars Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area). Bush­fires have played an inte­gral part in shap­ing the ecol­o­gy of the Aus­tralian land­scape for mil­lions of years. Many native plant species are adapt­ed to sur­vive, regen­er­ate and thrive after fire and much of the park is regain­ing its green cloak of coastal health, mallee wood­land and euca­lypt for­est. Goan­nas, koalas, eagles, kan­ga­roos and echid­nas are reg­u­lar­ly spot­ted in the park.

Vis­itors can be part of the bush­fire recov­ery jour­ney by dri­ving re-opened roads, includ­ing Cape du Couedic Road (and the wavy sec­tion which has become one of the most ins­ta-famous roads in South Aus­tralia), vis­it­ing Remark­able Rocks, Admi­rals Arch and Weirs Cove and camp­ing at West Bay and Harvey’s Return.

Add Flinders Chase National Park to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


10 - Red Banks Beach


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

The colourful cliffs of Red Banks, 15 minutes north of American River, rank among the island's best-kept secrets. Red Bank does not disappoint, once the sun has set see the glowing orange sand and rock cliffs.

Add Red Banks Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


11 - Stokes Bay Beach


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

The secluded beach at Stokes Bay, located on Kangaroo Island's serene north coast, is protected from the pounding surf by a giant pool surrounded by rocks. This tranquil location can be found by walking east of the bay, follow the signs pointing to the 'Beach' and make your way through the headland of boulders.

Add Stokes Bay Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


12 - Vivonne Bay Beach


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Vivonne Bay was voted one of Australia's top beaches, this was because of its clear water, cleanliness and privacy. Its long, sandy beach is ideal for picnics, sunbathing, fishing and surfing. The beach at Vivonne Bay is also famed for its cray fishing and numerous boats leave and arrive at the town’s jetty with a fresh catch.

There are picnic and barbeque areas set up at the jetty that are available for public use.

Add Vivonne Bay Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


13 - Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park is located on the southern coast of Kangaroo Island approximately 40 kilometres south west of Kingscote. It possesses vast areas of wilderness and spectacular coastal scenery. The park has plenty of walking opportunities, including the unmarked Cape Gantheaume Coastal Trek (experienced hikers only), established trails at Murray Lagoon (may be subject to flooding in the winter months), and short walks at D’Estrees Bay.

Murray Lagoon supports wetland habitat for abundant birdlife, while D'Estrees Bay has beautiful beaches for recreation. This bay is a historic site connected to the island's early whaling industry. The self-guided drive along D'Estrees Bay Road allows the visitor to discover the natural and cultural significance of the area.

Designated points of interest along the 8km drive are marked with a silhouette of an osprey bird. Camping is available at D'Estrees Bay Campground.

Add Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


14 - Seal Bay


Image credit: SA Tourism Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island's premier tourist attraction, the award winning Seal Bay offers visitors an unforgettable wildlife experience. Learn about the amazing lives of these endangered animals as our experienced guides take you on a tour into the colony. There will be plenty of time for photos as the sea lions shelter in the dunes, rest on the sand or surf in the ocean. Set your own pace on our 800 metre wheelchair accessible boardwalk which meanders through the dunes to a number of viewing platforms.

Seal Bay is a 45-minute drive from Kingscote. Beach access to the sea-lion colony is by guided tour only but sea-lions can also be seen from the self-guided boardwalk. Special twilight tours are also available in summer school holidays.

Entry tickets can be purchased from Seal Bay Visitor Information Centre, where you can learn more about these fascinating creatures and also browse for souvenirs.

Add Seal Bay to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


15 - Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary


Image credit: Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most reliable wildlife viewing areas on Kangaroo Island. It is the home range of many koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidna, goanna, Cape Barren geese, and over 40 other species of birds. Take a guided 120 minute guided tour with one of our experienced tour guides through the sanctuary and observe the amazing and beautiful wildlife. Learn about the bush fire and the survival techniques used by these amazing animals.

The 5000 acre Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the western end of Kangaroo Island, between the Kelly Hill Caves Conservation Park and the Flinders Chase National Park. It is bordered by over 100,000 acres of protected wilderness lands and the Great Southern Ocean. We are pleased to offer you self contained cabins. All have truly spectacular wilderness views of the beautiful turquoise waters of Hanson Bay.

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary offers guided nocturnal tours and guided daytime walks of the Sanctuary so you can experience Australian native marsupials up "close and personal". The Koala Walk is open every day and is recognised as the best place on Kangaroo Island to see a sustainable population of Koalas in the wild. The Sanctuary is also a bird watchers paradise - with resident Blue Wrens, Lorikeets, Crimson Rosellas, Black Cockatoos, Bush Stone-Curlews, Crescent Honey-eaters, and Cape Barren Geese.

Add Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


Recommended Kangaroo Island ACCOMMODATION

Copperstone KI Luxury Accommodation


Image credit: Stayz Au

An Architecturally designed Luxury Beach House completed mid 2015.

Overlooking beautiful Emu Bay Beach and hinterland with stunning views from every room.

Perched on 5.5 acres of private land.

500m to Emu Bay Beach - 5km white sand, drive on beach.

Large open plan living/dining area and kitchen, opens up to the sunken courtyard/entertaining area with BBQ, 2nd fireplace and front deck.

Floor to ceiling double glazed windows in all rooms.

Ideal Location for both a Summer or Winter Holiday.

Add Copperstone KI Luxury Accommodation to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


Tammar Ridge - Snelling Beach


Image credit: Stayz Au

Relax, Indulge, Escape….

This piece of paradise has been rebuilt following a devastating bushfire in December of 2019. Tammar Ridge has risen from the ashes in a refreshed, spectacular design offering a luxurious wildlife retreat.

Tammar Ridge, named after the resident wallabies, is set upon 35 acres of fields and native sugar gum stands teeming with wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and the occasional koala. Birdwatchers will marvel at the striking rosellas, fairy blue wrens and seabirds on Snellings. Tammar Ridge boasts lovely bush walks and uninterrupted views along the North Coast, overlooking Snelling Beach, Middle River and horizon views of Yorke Peninsula.

Beautiful Snelling Beach is ideal for picnics, walks, swimming, surfing and fishing - mullet and salmon from the surf or whiting and flathead from the bay.

Our new house is designed by Mark Reu from Basecamp Design to take in the 360 views from the ridgetop with 2.7 metre tall aluminium elegant windows, large verandahs north and south and a huge undercover outdoor entertainment area overlooking Snellings Beach and the amazing North Coast scenery.

Clever roof design and double glazing throughout, feature local store thermal mass walls and solar battery backup will provide you a low energy footprint stay !!

Tammar sleeps up to 8 people with four kingsize bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (3 ensuites) and large laundry. All fittings and furnishings are of the highest quality to give you the holiday experience you deserve!

Add Tammar Ridge - Snelling Beach to your Aussie Bucket List HERE.


Or, find your dream accommodation on Expedia


We hope that you are able to tick the Kangaroo Island, South Australia off your Aussie Bucket List soon! Feel free to browse our other blog posts for further inspiration on travelling Australia.


Article by Samantha Porter - Aussie Bucket List Founder & Travel Writer


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