How to get to Kangaroo Island

Located in South Australia, Kangaroo Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Australia. It’s the perfect destination for a family holiday, romantic holiday but also for backpackers who want to see what Australia has to offer!

There are so many things to do on Kangaroo Island and no matter what, it should be on your Australia bucket list!

I lived and worked on Kangaroo Island for a few months and know this place like my own pocket. Once you get there, you will be mind blown by the beauty of the place. But first things first, let’s get to KI!

In this article, we tell you how to get to Kangaroo Island and have a wonderful trip!

how to get to kangaroo island

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Where is Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is located 13km off the coast of South Australia.

The nearest town on the mainland is Cape Jervis and the closest big city is Adelaide.

Unlike what you may think, Kangaroo Island is pretty big. It’s the 3rd biggest island in Australia. It’s 155km from east to west and 55km from north to south. It takes about 2 hours to drive from one end to another.

How to get to Kangaroo Island

There are 3 ways to get to Kangaroo Island. If you wish to plan the trip yourself, you can take the ferry or fly to Kingscote.
If you’d rather having everything organised for you, you can opt for a tour.

Driving and take the ferry to Kangaroo Island

If you have your own car, the best option is to drive down to Cape Jervis to take the ferry.

ferry to kangaroo island

The ferry to Kangaroo Island is operated by the company Sealink. It’s the only one that goes to the island. It leaves from Cape Jervis and takes about 45 minutes.

There are 5 to 6 crossings per day. It’s highly recommended to book in advance! As the options are limited, it would be risky not to book! They sell out quickly! You can check prices and availability on the Sealink website.

The ferry costs $49 per passenger and $98 per vehicle.

Admittedly, it is a bit pricey but it’s very well worth it!

If you are driving from Adelaide, it will take you 1h30 to get to Cape Jervis. From Melbourne, it would be 9h.

Pro tip: The first ferries are at 6am and 9am. If you can, catch one of those! That way you will enjoy a whole day on KI!

Once you get to Cape Jervis, you will find the ferry terminal very easily. Go in the office to check-in and they will tell you how to proceed. The driver will have to drive the car into the ferry before heading to the ferry. Passengers can go straight in the boat.

The ferry has a bar and you can buy food or drinks. There are seats inside and outside.

The crossing is fairly quick (45minutes) however if you usually feel seasick, make sure to take something for that beforehand.

You will arrive in Penneshaw and can start exploring Kangaroo Island!

Why should you choose this option? Although it may not seem like it, this is actually the cheapest option (all things considered). Once you get to the island, you will need a car so being able to bring it will make everything easier. Also, if you are 4 people in the car, it only works out about $50 per head.

Bus and ferry combo to Kangaroo Island

If you don’t have a car or don’t want to bring it to KI, you can opt for a combo coach and ferry.

You can catch a bus from Adelaide to Cape Jervis. There are only 2 departures per day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
You can check the timetables here.

The bus transfer costs $33.50 and you will have to add the ferry cost on top of that ($49).

Again, make sure you book everything in advance.

Flights to Kangaroo Island

If you don’t like the ferry idea or want a quicker alternative, you can choose to fly to Kangaroo Island.

There are several direct flights per week from Adelaide to Kingscote. They are operated by either REX or Qantas.

They usually cost under $200 return. To get the best deal, check on Skyscanner.

The flight is only 35 minutes long which is great!

Flying to Kangaroo Island is perfect for people going for a short amount of time and who want to get there quickly and efficiently.

As previously mentioned though, getting around KI will require a car. If your plan is to rent a holiday home and just relax, flying is perfect! Otherwise, you will need to take into consideration the cost of renting a car.

Kangaroo Island Tours from Adelaide

The other option to get to Kangaroo Island is booking a tour from Adelaide.

Of course, this means that you will have to take the ferry but the great thing about it is that everything is included and organised!

kangaroo island remarkable rocks

Booking a tour to Kangaroo Island is the perfect option for people who want to go on a day trip from Adelaide or on a 2-day trip.

If you’d like to spend more time on the island, self-driving will be better. But if you only want to go for one day or two, booking a tour will make your life so much easier.

Here are 2 great Kangaroo Island tours.

Kangaroo Island day trip from Adelaide

With this day tour from Adelaide, you will get to enjoy the best places on Kangaroo Island.

It will be a bit of an early start but it’s well worth it!

You will meet in Adelaide CBD at 6:45am and hop on the bus to Cape Jervis. Along the way, you will enjoy the beautiful views on the Fleurieu Peninsula, one of Australia’s most famous wine regions.

You will then take the ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw.

kangaroo island road to kingscote

Once you get to Kangaroo Island, you will head to Seal Bay and to the beautiful Flinders Chase National Park. You will discover the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch!

The tour includes transport, meal, guided tour and national park entrance fees.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability.

2-day tour from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island

If you’d like to enjoy an overnight trip to KI, this tour will be ideal for you.

kangaroo island hanson bay sunset

This tour is perfect to see the most beautiful places on Kangaroo Island. It’s a bit more expensive than the day tour of course but it’s also way better value. Transport is the most expensive part of a trip to KI so staying overnight is well worth it.

On this tour, you will go to Flinders Chase NP (Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch), Seal Bay, Emu Bay and Little Sahara. You will also get to discover the wildlife, with a visit to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, and visit a distillery.

The tour includes transport, accommodation, meals and visits.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability.

How to get around Kangaroo Island

Unless you choose to go on a tour, you will need a car to get around Kangaroo Island.

Public transport is rather limited and most places are quite secluded. You also need to remember that going from one end of the island to the other is 155km long.

If you take your car on the ferry, this won’t be an issue as you can just drive around freely.

If you are flying or don’t take a vehicle on the ferry, you will need to rent a car on Kangaroo Island.

You will find car rentals in Penneshaw (by the ferry terminal) and in Kingscote (by the airport).

You check prices directly on their websites but I always recommend to use a comparison tool such as Skyscanner to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Now that you know what are the best ways to get to Kangaroo Island, the only thing you have to do is HAVE FUN! KI is amazing! It’s such a beautiful place and if there is one thing I have no doubt about, it’s that you will love it.

You may also be interested in:

Things to do on Kangaroo Island

16 Best Airbnbs on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Australia Travel Guide

Places to see in Australia

Adelaide to Uluru Drive: Australian Outback Road Trip


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