Adelaide | Kangaroo Island Day Trip

Beautiful beaches and islands are must-visit places in many Australian cities. Among them, Kangaroo Island, the most famous and most recommended island in Adelaide, is the third largest island in Australia, following Tasmania and Melville Island. Located not far away in the southwest of Adelaide, many travellers choose to visit Kangaroo Island for one-day fun, two-day experience, or even multi-day adventure.

Here I want to give an introduction about the transportation, attractions, and itineraries of Kangaroo Island, so everyone can have a quick glimpse of what is really fun on Kangaroo Island!

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1. How to Get to Kangaroo Island?

There are 2 main transportation methods to Kangaroo Island, one is by plane and the other is by ferry. The biggest differences are time and cost. Details are as follows:

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If you take a plane, which operated by Regional Express and Qantas, you will depart from Adelaide Airport. There are about 3 to 4 flights per day, and it takes around 30 minutes to get to the island; however, a round-trip ticket costs about AUD$200 to $600 more than ferry tickets, with which you even can buy another air ticket for the Australian Domestic flight, so fewer people choose to fly to Kangaroo Island.

On the other hand, ferry, operated by SeaLink, departing from the SeaLink Ferry Terminal at Cape Jervis, takes 45 minutes to arrive at Kangaroo Island. There are also 3 to 4 ferry services per day. Fares varies from different passenger groups, and there are options for carrying your own vehicles. The detailed cost is as follows:

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(In addition to cars, if you want to take any other large vehicle or equipment on board, such as electric motorcycles, surfboards, kayaks, etc., you must pay additional fees. For details, please refer to the Official Website Fare.)

If you are staying at Adelaide City, it takes about 90-minute drive from Adelaide City to the Cape Jervis ferry terminal. SeaLink also provides services called "Coach & Shuttle Services" offering pick-up and drop-off from Adelaide City and certain places to Cape Jervis, and from Penneshaw to a few main spots within the island. Service rates and locations are indicated below:

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Finally, after arriving at the island, other than the "Coach & Shuttle Services", you can also rent a car at the airport or port. There are three rental companies, "Budget", "Kangaroo Island Connect Campervan Hire", and "Kangaroo Island Connect Car Rental". Prices range from AUD$80 to $300 depending on what car model you choose and whether it's off-peak seasons. Check out Rentalcars.com if you want to find out the best prices.


2. Kangaroo Island Itinerary

The most important thing after deciding your transportation to Kangaroo Island is to arrange your itinerary. Like I mention above, there are "Coach & Shuttle Services" among some main spots within the island, which you can take advantage of to plan your trip, but the routes and services are limited, so self-drive tour around the island might be another good option. But if you don't want to drive or you want a more effortless choice, SeaLink also offers selected tours from Day Tours to Multi-Day Tours to suit your needs. The details are as follows:

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These tours are of great value to travel Kangaroo Island. Let me explain why. If you take ferry and the coach services, the transportation fee will be more than AUD$150 already, not to mention that there will be extra costs for entrance or services to some places on Kangaroo Island, ranging from AUD$300 to $350.

On the other hand, tour company like SeaLink, they sell "trip", "shuttle bus services", and "plane tickets" as bundles. Day tours usually price at AUD$185 to $190. Total basic cost will be about AUD$300 including transportation, and for two-day tours, price ranges from AUD$450 to $630. Most tours include transportation services, entrance fees, meals, or accommodations depending on your selections, which are more time-saving and budget-friendly than buying separately, sometimes even cheaper than self-drive travelling the island. That's why these tour packages are popular among travellers.

The most trending choices are "Day Tours" and "Two-Day tours". I purchased the "Day Tour" package of the "Kangaroo Island Day Tour" through Klook. In fact, the tour service provider is SeaLink as well, but Klook offers quick customer service which saves a lot of time and occasionally discounts. It's very handy, so I recommend to everyone!

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(Kangaroo Island Day Tour departs from “Adelaide City” at 6:15 am. The shuttle bus will pick up and drop off at certain hotels. The voucher you receive after purchase confirmation will indicate the pick-up location.)

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(A "Boarding Pass" will be given to the tourists after getting on bus. Simply show this to the ferry staff, and then you can board the ferry.)

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(The bus arrives at SeaLink Port at about 8:30 am, and we are going to take the ferry boat at 9 am.)

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(There is a ticket counter and a mini cafe in the port. The package doesn't come with breakfast, so if you don't prepare breakfast, this is the last chance to get something to eat before boarding.)

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(The ferry is much bigger than I have expected, double-decker, all non-reserved seats, and plenty of spaces. There is also an outdoor deck for everyone to enjoy sunbath and sea view.)

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(After arriving at the port of Kangaroo Island, the buses are awaiting outside already. The staff will show you the right bus to go once you check your name with them.)


3. What's Fun about Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is most famous for its traditional food, natural beauty, and abundant wildlife. If fact, more than one-third of the island has been designated as conservation areas and national parks. It can offer ultimate island escape experiences for many travellers.

Next, I will share my day-trip experience on Kangaroo Island and some useful travel information of must-visit attractions.


1. Seal Bay Conservation Park

This is one of my highly recommended spots. Seal Bay Conservation Park is the only place in the world where you can stroll on the beach and observe Australian wild seals. You can not only get up and close to the Australian wild sea lions watching them on the sand or in the surf, but also enjoy the pristine and scenic beach. The is definitely a must-visit place on Kangaroo Island.

◎ Address: Seal Bay Conservation Park, Seal Bay Road, Seal Bay SA
◎ Admission: Adult AUD$37; Child AUD$21; Family (2 adults & 2 children) AUD$90
◎ Official Website: Sea Bay

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(There is a gate near the ticket counter at Seal Bay Conservation Park. All tourists, no matter you are on tour package or travelling alone, have to follow the instructions and set off one group after another.)

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(About 2-minute walk from the gate, we arrive at the beach. Just by looking at the beach itself, I am overwhelmed and speechless. Look at this stunning view! The spectacular view of the coastline and ocean is the reason I've always enjoyed visiting islands in Australia. The two islands I've travelled before, Rottnest Island and Moreton Island, both of which also have amazing beaches that are not to be missed.)

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(Although tourists are not allowed to touch the seals, they can be really close to you. Observing the seals lolling around the beach somehow makes people feel relaxed. Australian seals have a mysterious habit that they will go hunting for food at sea for 3 days and then return to the beach to rest for another 3 days.)

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(After the Seal Bay Conservation Park, it's time for lunch. The buffet-style lunch is held at the Vivonne Bay Lodge with typical western foods, such as salad, bread, cake, grilled meats and potatoes. Not exactly delicious and fancy cuisines but it's enough as a complimentary meal in tour package.)


2. Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Kangaroo Island is known as "a zoo without fences" featuring a wide range of wild animals on the island. The Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is "a zoo in the zoo", also without fences. Visitors are free to explore the protected areas, immerse themselves in the nature, and have a closer look of those native birds and wild animals. The most famous ones are koalas. According to the official, you can see on average 25 to 40 wild koalas when you visit the park!

◎ Address: Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Coast Road, Karatta SA
◎ Tickets: Guided Tour: Adults AUD$20; Children AUD$15; Family (2 adults & 2 children AUD$50 | Admission: Adults AUD$10; Children aged 13-17 AUD$8; Children aged 2 -12 AUD$5
◎ Official website: Hanson Bay wildlife sanctuary

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(The entire Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is enormous. We only spend time in the area near the gate, mainly watching koalas, and there will be guides taking everyone around.)

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(After visiting in person, I found out that what the official said is true. There are so many wild koalas on the tree. You can easily find them sleeping everywhere. What a cutie!)


3. Remarkable Rocks

Located in Flinders Chase National Park, the Remarkable Rocks is also a must see on Kangaroo Island. The Remarkable Rocks are a cluster of granite boulders sculptured by erosive force of rain, wind and sea over some million years. When you are up on the rock, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the sea and island.

◎ Address: Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase SA
◎ Tickets: One-day ticket: Adult AUD$11; Child AUD$6; Family (2 adults & 2 children) AUD$28.5 | Two-day ticket: Adult AUD$16; Child AUD$10; Family (2 adults & 2 children) AUD$42.5 [Price listed here is the admission fee of the national park. No extra cost for the Remarkable Rocks.]
◎ Official website: Flinders Chase National Park

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(About 5-minute walk from the nearby parking lot to Remarkable Rocks, you can see this unique rocky terrain from a distance.)

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(It is a special experience to see this stunning work of nature, just right next to the amazing ocean view. A great spot for social media feed.)

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(The scenery next to the Remarkable Rocks is also remarkable. Look at this panoramic view!)

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(Flinders Chase National Park was named after two people. The first one was Matthew Flinders, who explored the Australian coast. He was also the person who gave the name "Kangaroo Island". And Chase was named in memory of Samuel Dixon, who dedicated himself to protecting this area. Due to his effort, South Australia government eventually designated Flinders Chase National Park as a protected area to preserve these precious wild animals and plants.)


4. Admirals Arch

The Admirals Arch is another famous spot situated within Flinders Chase National Park. Known for its natural stalactite arch shaped by the weathering and the erosive force of the sea, it is a place not to be missed. You can also see the New Zealand fur seals playing around the rocks and water here. It is absolute an extraordinary experience and an unforgettable memory to visit here.

◎ Address: Admirals Arch, Flinders Chase SA
◎ Tickets: One-day ticket: Adults AUD$11; Children AUD$6; Family AUD$28.5 (2 adults & 2 children) | Two-day ticket: Adults AUD$16; Children AUD$10; Family AUD$42.5 (2 adults & 2 children) [Price listed here is the admission fee of the national park. No extra cost for the Admirals Arch.]
◎ Official Website: Admirals Arch

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(Even before I reached the arch observation deck, I was already deeply impressed by the beautiful scenery and I wanted to stay here longer. It reminded me of the journey along the Melbourne Great Ocean Road. Australia is truly a country full of beautiful beaches and island gems.)

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(There is also a "Cape Du Couedic" lighthouse near this attraction. Its name is in French. In fact, many places on Kangaroo Island were discovered by the French; however, the British people came three days earlier, thus it became a British territory at that time.)

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(On the way to the Admirals Arch, you can see many wild New Zealand fur seals. Compared to the Australian seals in Seal Bay, the population of New Zealand fur seals is stably growing. The main reason is that they can mate 2 to 3 times per year, while the Australian seals only mate once in 18 months. Australia seals also have the behaviour of killing orphan seals in the group which is one of the reasons that make the Australia seals an endangered animal now.)

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(Here is the photo of the Admirals Arch, a must-visit attraction on Kangaroo Island! You will find the Admirals Arch slightly smaller than imagined, but such stalactites are definitely rarely seen.)


5. Flinders Chase Visitor Centre

The last place of this trip will be the visitor centre. One-day tour will end here for people to rest and to buy dinner. People who purchase two-day tour will have lunch here at noon on the second day. Here you can find lots of information and introduction about Kangaroo Island.

◎ Address: Flinders Chase National Park, Flinders Chase SA 5223
◎ Ticket: Free
◎ Official Website: Flinders Chase National Park

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(The bus will arrive at the port a bit earlier at the end of the trip. There are some restaurants near the port, where you can buy dinner as well.)

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(The return ferry departs at 7:30 pm, and it will be about 10:30 pm when you arrive at Adelaide City. After you board the ferry, remember to get the “Coach Boarding Pass” at the "Coach Connection Check In" counter and simply present the pass to the coach driver when you return to Cape Jervis for your return coach service.)


4. Accommodation in Kangaroo Island

If you plan to stay on the island, there are many great accommodation choices. Some of the accommodations on Kangaroo Island are very famous, for example, "Southern Ocean Lodge" and "Kangaroo Beach Lodges" have been selected as the best accommodations in the world. Moreover, many accommodations offer great ocean view, nice wine, and delicious food. If you want to experience a completely relaxing holiday, living on the island is definitely a top choice!

◎ Accommodation on the island: BookingAgodaHotelsExpedia ( Price Comparison )

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Here are all the introductions of the Kangaroo Island Day Trip in Adelaide. In fact, Kangaroo Island is such a huge place that a simple day trip might not be enough to explore the island. If you are not in a hurry and more flexable on budget, it is recommended that you can arrange a two-day or three-day itinerary (can also be booked through Klook) to fully experience the beauty of the island, enjoying the local sourced seafood, selected wine, full-flavour beer and tasty food!

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