Kangaroo Island is Australia’s best-kept secret. Located in SA, only a few hours from Adelaide, KI is home to fantastic wineries, natural landmarks and of course, beaches.
The beaches on Kangaroo Island are absolutely beautiful. Squeaky white sand, crystal clear water, quiet… they have it all!
In this article, you will discover the best beaches on KI. This includes a selection of well known spots as well as hidden gems (the ones only the locals know!)
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!
Map of the most beautiful beaches on Kangaroo Island
To help you know where each one of these beaches are located, feel free to use the map!
Best beaches on Kangaroo Island
Now let’s dive into it and discover the best beaches on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
Vivonne Bay is by far the most famous beach on Kangaroo Island and was voted one of the best beaches in Australia!
It’s located on the south coast of the island, half way between Kingscote and Flinders Chase National Park.
By car, it will take you about 45 minutes to get there from Kingscote.
It’s a U-shaped beach that stretches all along the bay (6km) which means that you will have more than enough room for yourself! Even if you are visiting during peak season, it never gets that busy.
There are two parts of Vivonne Bay. The first one is by the tiny village and is known as the main beach. To get there, turn right at the convenience store when you are on the S Coast Road. You will be taking an unsealed road down to the bay and can then walk to the beach.
The second part is a smaller beach by the jetty. This is even quieter. You will probably have the whole beach for yourself! It’s smaller and there are rocks on the edges but the sand is just as white, the water just as blue and you will get to admire the beautiful views of the bay.
To get there, you’ll need to turn right onto Jetty Road from the S Coast Road. You should see a sign indicating Point Ellen. This is a dirt road as well so make sure to drive slowly and be careful as there are kangaroos and wallabies jumping around. You do not need a 4WD but pot holes are very much a thing here.
Now let’s talk about activities. There aren’t any facilities on the beach so make sure to take everything you need with you however, Vivonne Bay is an excellent spot for:
- Swimming. The beach is not patrolled but the waters are shallow and calm.
- Snorkelling. The water is crystal clear so it’s a great spot to snorkel.
- Relaxing and working on your tan (don’t forget the sunscreen)
- Seeing the dolphins. Keep an eye on the horizon as you could catch a glimpse of dolphins jumping.
- Fishing. A lot of locals come to Vivonne Bay on their boat to fish. If that’s something you are interested in, you can rent one at one of the local fishing charters.
Now, apart from the beach itself, you will find quite a few things to do in the area. Vivonne Bay is ideally located near Little Sahara, one of KI’s top attractions and the river Harriet. Here are some examples of fun activities nearby:
- Kayaking on the River Harriet. You can rent a kayak on Jetty Road and explore the River Harriet for a few hours. It’s very good fun and as the river is calm, it’s also a good thing to do with children. Click here to see the prices.
- Quad bike tour. With so many dirt roads and beautiful landscapes to discover, Kangaroo Island (and more particularly Vivonne Bay area) is the perfect place to explore with an ATV. You can rent one from Jetty Road and go on an adventure! Click here to see the latest prices.
- Buggy tour of Little Sahara. This is a super fun thing to do in Little Sahara. You’ll be exploring the sand dunes on board of a buggy. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Renting a toboggan. If you want to have fun on the sand dunes of Little Sahara, renting a toboggan is also a great thing to do! See prices here.
- Renting a sandboard. Last but not the least, if you are into snowboarding, you may want to try the sand version of this! See prices here.
WHERE TO STAY IN VIVONNE BAY: This is one of the best places to stay on the island if you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday.
Vivonne Bay is a inlet which means there are a fair amount of holiday rentals. Here are the best:
- For a couple: the Serenity Cottage is a unique Stayz beautifully decorated and with a romantic balcony. It’s ideally located, only 450m from the beach. Click here to see the prices.
- Up to 6 guests: StormySky is a beautiful house with 3 bedrooms, only 100m from the beach! See prices here.
- Up to 10 guests: Vivonne on Sunset is a spacious 4-bedroom house entirely made of stones and wooden beams. See prices here.
Stokes Bay is located in the northern part of the island.
It is a beautiful beach with thin and white sand (although nowhere as white as Vivonne or Hanson Bay!).
The beach itself is not that wide so you need to make sure the tide is not too high when you are going.
It’s a great place to relax as it is pretty quiet. The locals know about this hidden gem but most visitors skip it! If you like to stay away from the crowds and discover off-the-beaten-path places, this one is for you!
It is safe to swim in Stoke Bay and you will even find a rock pool (perfect for people who don’t like waves).
Although it is a pleasant place to visit during the day, the best time to visit is in the evening. The sunset from here is insanely beautiful!
There are some rocks on the side as well as seaweed on the beach. In the evening, when the tide is low, the colours of the sun reflects on the wet sand. It’s like a mirror!
This is by far one of the best places on Kangaroo Island to watch the sunset!
In terms of amenities, you will find picnic tables and barbecues by the beach. There also is a cafe near the car park, The RockPool Café.
Finally, if you are travelling with kids, you may want to consider visiting Paul’s Place. It’s a wildlife park where you can discover the local wildlife.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR STOKES BAY: Accommodation is limited near Stokes Bay but it’s also the beauty of staying here. It’s quiet and away from the crowds!
If you choose to spend your holiday here, you can opt for a holiday rental as there aren’t any hotels or resorts. Here are some recommendations:
- For a couple: Waves & Wildlife Cottages Kangaroo Island is a beautiful one-bedroom cottage with stunning views over the bay. It’s equipped so you can easily prepare your meals here. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Up to 6 guests: King George Beach Retreat is a stunning holiday house located in Middle River which is only 10 minutes drive from Stokes Bay. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Up to 8 guests: Tickled Pink Holiday House is a beautiful holiday house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It’s only 2kms from the beaches and a few minutes from the Rock Pool Cafe. Click here to see the latest prices.
If you are looking for a large beach, Emu Bay will be perfect for you! It’s 4 km long!
This white sandy beach is one of the most popular on the island. The sand is white and soft and there is loads of room! Even when it gets busy, you won’t be bothered by the crowd. The beach is long and wide and there is more than enough room for everyone.
The beach is unpatrolled. You are allowed to swim but it’s at your own risk. Although it is a nice place to visit, if you are looking for a beach where you can lay down and relax, keep scrolling as there are better ones for that!
Emu Bay is known because that’s one of the rare beaches on Kangaroo Island with a vehicle access. If you have a 4WD, you will have loads of fun here!
That said, you are also allowed to access the beach with a 2WD but obviously, this could be risky. If you opt for this, make sure to stay on the hard sand!
Here are another few activities you can do in Emu Bay:
- Fishing. Emu Bay Fishing Charters offer boat rentals for people who want to go fishing in the bay.
- Horse Riding. Tiger Trails offer different horse riding treks in the area.
WHERE TO STAY IN EMU BAY: Emu Bay is the perfect place to stay on Kangaroo Island if you want to stay in a holiday house. There are quite a few in the area. Also, the fact that it’s so close to Kingscote (the main town on KI) is very convenient. Here are some recommendations:
- For couples: This one-bedroom house is perfect for a romantic getaway on KI. There is one bedroom and it’s only 700m from Emu Bay Beach. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Mid-range (up to 6 guests): This cute beach house is ideally located on a dune, only a few steps down to the beach! There are 3 bedrooms and it’s fully equipped. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Luxury: CopperstoneKI is one of the most beautiful holiday rentals on Kangaroo Island. This 4-bedroom house can sleep up to 8 guests. There are 3 bedrooms, it’s fully equipped and the views are breath-taking. Click here to see the latest prices.
Located in the Southern part of the island, Pennington Bay is one of the most underrated places on Kangaroo Island.
It’s well known by surfers as it is one of the best surfing spots on the island but everybody else tends to skip it. This is a mistake you won’t be making!
There is a lot to do in Pennington Bay, especially if you are into sports and like to discover unique places.
You can easily get there by car. From Hog Road, take the small Pennington Bay Road on the right. It will bring you to the car park. From there you can walk down to the beach. It’s a good stop on your way from the Dudley Peninsula to Kingscote.
Here are things you can do in Pennington Bay:
- Surfing. As previously mentioned, this is an amazing surfing spot. There are a lot of waves and they aren’t too big which makes it quite safe.
- Walking along the beach. If you like a good beach walk, you’ll be in for a treat! Pennington Bay Beach is quite long and very nice to walk on. There are cliffs and rocks on both ends which makes it even prettier!
- Hiking up to Prospect Hill Lookout. Located a couple of minutes drive from the beach, the walk up to Prospect Hill is quite steep but very rewarding as it will lead you to the highest point on the island. There are 500 steps and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to admire the jaw-dropping views of the bay, American River and the Dudley Peninsula. It truly is stunning!
Please note that it is not recommended to swim at Pennington Bay Beach. It could actually be quite dangerous with the currents. Also, make sure to wear closed toe shoes as the rocks can be slippery and sharp.
WHERE TO STAY IN PENNINGTON BAY: Pennington Bay is a great place to stay if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet as well as stunning scenery. You won’t find any hotels in the area but here are two beautiful holiday houses you can rent:
- Up to 5 guests: Allure Beach Retreat is the ultimate holiday house in Pennington Bay. There are 2 bedrooms and you’ll have direct access to the beach. Also, the views over the bay are breath-taking. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Up to 8 guests: Tide Lines is a large and modern holiday house with a private balcony, parking, 3 bedrooms and of course, it boasts beautiful views over the bay. It’s located a bit further from the beach though which means you’ll have to drive a few minutes to get there. Click here to see the latest prices.
Welcome to Kangaroo Island’s best-kept secret: Hanson Bay! If you are looking for a beach straight out of a Caribbean island, Hanson Bay will be the one! This beach is stunning! The sand is so white and the water so blue!
Hanson Bay is located on the southern coast of the island, nestled between Flinders Chase National Park and Kelly Hill Conservation Park.
To get there, you’ll need to turn on Hanson Bay Road from the South Coast Road. It’s an unsealed road so you need to be careful when driving on it. You do not need a 4WD to access it however, as any dirt road, you should be driving slowly and carefully.
In all honestly, it’s not the easiest beach to get to but the reward will be worth it!
Hanson Bay Beach is much smaller than the other beaches mentioned in this article. It’s a great place to visit in the afternoon to relax. It’s very quiet and so pretty! So put on your swimsuit, take a book, your camera and let’s go!
The water is crystal clear and shallow. You can swim in all safety here although it’s worth noting that it’s not patrolled.
Hanson Bay is also worth visiting in the evening as it’s an amazing sunset spot! The colours are amazing and when the sun sets, you’ll be able to see the shadows and colours of the water changing as well.
If you love photography, this will be your paradise!
To make the best of the experience, walk up the dunes (on the righthand side of the beach) and up to the cliffs. From there, the views over the bay are even more breath-taking and you can truly see the beautiful colours.
You should make sure to be wearing closed toes shoes for this and of course, not going too close to the edge. Rather than that, it is pretty safe.
WHERE TO STAY IN HANSON BAY: Unfortunately, most accommodations in the area were destroyed during the bushfires of 2020. This means that you can’t book anything at the beach precisely however, there is a cute lodge, Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve, on the main road that you can book. It’s only 10 minutes drive to Hanson Bay and very close to Flinders Chase National Park too. Click here to see the latest prices.
Located on the northern part of the island, 20 minutes drive from Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach is a beautiful small beach where you can swim and surf.
To get there, you will need to turn right (if you are coming from Kingscote) from the North Coast Road to reach the car park.
You will find a small path that will lead you to the beach.
The waves are about 1m high which perfect for surfing however, you must be careful as it is not patrolled and there can be strong currents. You can also swim. It’s reasonably safe, just be aware of the currents.
Also it is a popular beach for surfing, you will most likely have the place for yourself when you visit.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR SNELLING BEACH: You’ll find beautiful holiday rentals near Snelling Beach. Here are some recommendations:
- Up to 6 guests: Life-time Private Retreats is the ultimate luxury retreat on KI. Hot tub, breathtaking views, beautiful bathroom. It truly has it all. Click here to see the latest prices.
- Up to 7 guests: Sheoaks is a fantastic 4-bedroom house with views on both sides (beach and countryside). See prices here.
- Up to 10 guests: With 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, Tammar Ridge is the ideal place to stay for large groups. See prices here.
Other beaches to visit on Kangaroo Island
If you have a bit more time on the island and want to discover more beaches on Kangaroo Island, here are another few that are well worth a visit:
- Western River Bay
- Antechamber Bay
- Penneshaw Beach
- Bales Beach
- Redbanks Beach
- D’Estrees Bay
- Flour Cask Bay
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