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3 Epic Day Tours to Kangaroo Island From Adelaide (South Australia)
Kangaroo Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Australia.
Known for its beautiful nature reserves and diverse wildlife, it is a definite must-visit for those looking for a good dose of nature.
Sadly, Kangaroo Island was devastated with aggressive bushfires between Dec 2019 – Jan 2020. Many of the reserves in the west were destroyed, including the wildlife that inhabited them.
In this article, I will provide an overview of Kangaroo island including how to get there, how to get around, how much it costs and whether it’s worth the trip.
Towards the end of this article, I also share the 3 BEST day tours to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide.
If you would like to jump straight to my day tour recommendations, you can click here.
An Overview of Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island and a popular tourist attraction off the coast of South Australia.
Covering 4,405 square kilometers, most of the island (about a third actually!) is made up of protected nature reserves. These areas create a natural sanctuary for wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, sea-lions and birds.
Kangaroo Island is internationally acclaimed for its wine and food industry, unique rock formations, wildlife and spectacular coastline.
In the west, you can visit Flinders Chase National Park to see penguin colonies and striking coastal rock formations.
You’ll definitely want to allow time to check out the sculpted Remarkable Rocks and the stalactite-covered Admirals Arch.
You can get an idea of the main sites on Kangaroo Island on their interactive map here.
How to Get To and Around Kangaroo Island
There are a couple of ways to get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. For one, you can fly, or you can take the Sealink ferry from the mainland which operates 7 days a week.
Given the size of the island, it is possible to drive from one end of the island to the other in the space of 2 hours.
Therefore, it’s popular for travellers to hire a car once on the island or bring their own vehicle across via the ferry.
If you have a caravan/campervan, you can bring that along on the ferry too. However, you must pre-book your travel and specify the exact length of the caravan, plus the complete towing length (car and caravan) ahead of time.
Keep in mind that there are no taxis or public transport once on the Island so you will need to plan this ahead of time.
Click here for more information on ferry schedules and bookings.
If you don’t want to hire a car or self-drive, you can join a group tour which includes all transfers and entry fees. This will allow you to let your hair down and relax with everything conveniently organised for you.
How Much Does it Cost to Get to Kangaroo Island?
Ferry tickets from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island are definitely not cheap, especially if planning to bring your own car.
Currently, the Sealink ferry across to Kangaroo Island costs $49 AUD one way and $98 AUD for return tickets (for adults). Kids tickets are almost half the price at $25 AUD one way and $50 return.
If you’d like to self-drive and bring your car across to Kangaroo Island it will cost you $98 AUD one way and $198 return.
You can save yourself these additional expenses by booking an all-inclusive day tour to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. I’ll share more about these below.
Has Kangaroo Island Recovered from the Bushfires?
It’s no doubt that Kangaroo Island was impacted SIGNIFICANTLY from the aggressive bushfires between December 2019 – January 2020, with a large chunk of the island’s nature reserves and wildlife destroyed from the flames.
The fires started on the 20th December 2019, as a result of hot and dry weather conditions and lightning strikes. And as more lightning strikes hit Kangaroo Island (on the 30th December), the bush fire situation worsened, growing more and more out of control.
Especially, in the west within Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area and the Flinders Chase National Park.
Fires continued to burn across the island for some weeks, resulting in many businesses, homes, farms, precious habitats and wildlife being burnt and lost. The bushfires endured over this period were the largest fires ever recorded in the island’s history.
Since then, Kangaroo Island has had a great recovery, with the majority of the Island (the east) largely unaffected by the fires and back open for business.
The video above and post below provide a great insight into just how much Kangaroo Island has recovered since the bushfires.
Although some parks are still closed on the island and there is still some way to go before it gets back to its former glory, there are still many things that you can do and enjoy on the island.
You can also check out this 2020 Fact Sheet about Kangaroo Island and what is currently open, closed and available to explore.
Fun and Affordable Day Tours to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide
A great way to save costs and take all the stress away from organising your trip is to join a day tour to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide. It also means that you won’t have to hire a car!
There are a few fantastic day tours available to suit varying interests and budgets.
Here are some of the top-rated day tours to do around Kangaroo Island!
1) From Adelaide: Kangaroo Island Wine and Dine Day Trip
Discover the nature, wildlife, wine and spirits of Kangaroo Island on this full-day bus and ferry tour to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide.
On this tour, you will be introduced to some of the island’s top distilleries with a chance to taste some of Kangaroo Island’s local produce during a 2-course lunch.
The day will start early with a transfer to Cape Jervis, passing through the picturesque coastal and vineyard views along the Fleurieu Peninsula.
From here, you’ll jump onto the Sealink ferry for the 45-minute trip across to Kangaroo Island where you will enjoy a guided tour to:
- Raptor Domain for a fascinating Birds of Prey Display – view the only “In-Flight” Birds of Prey display in South Australia.
- Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery for a delicious 2-course lunch followed by a guided tour of the distillery.
- Clifford’s Honey Farm shop –. Here you’ll get to see a working beehive, taste different varieties of pure Kangaroo Island honey, try their famous homemade honey ice-cream and buy honey beauty products to take home as a memento.
- Kangaroo Island Spirits – This local company is South Australia’s only boutique distillery. Here they specialise in handcrafted premium Australian Spirits including award-winning gin, vodka, and liqueurs. All of which are produced on the premises.
- False Cape Wines Cellar – Take part in a structured wine tasting with peaceful views of the surrounding vineyard. This cellar has been built from recycled wood, jetty timbers and limestone.
Finally, you’ll end the tour at the Penneshaw Hotel where you have some free time to eat dinner (at your own expense) before returning to the Ferry Terminal for your ferry and coach transfer back to Adelaide.
- 16 hours, starts at 6:15am (check in), unsure about end time.
- Roundtrip transport to Kangaroo Island by bus and ferry
- Local driver/guide
- Luxury, air-conditioned bus
- Spirit and wine tastings
- A delicious 2-course lunch
- Guided tour and wine tasting at eucalyptus distillery
- Entrance to Raptor Domain
Note: hotel pickup and drop off is not included in this tour.
- $309 AUD p/p
View on Get Your Guide
2) Kangaroo Island Full Day Experience by Ferry Including Lunch
Discover South Australia’s top nature tourism destination on this fun day tour to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide.
On this tour, you will get to enjoy seeing native wildlife and a delicious lunch in the Australian bush.
The trip will start from Adelaide, with a scenic coach ride towards the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula south of the city. Throughout the journey you’ll get to admire views of the vineyards, rolling hills and coast.
After your arrival to Cape Jervis, you’ll hop aboard the SeaLink ferry for the 45-minute crossing to Kangaroo Island.
Once at Kangaroo Island, the tour will take you to:
- Seal Bay Conservation Park – Spend time amongst a colony of rare Australian sea lions.
- Flinders Chase National Park – A sanctuary for native Australian animals including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and echidnas
- Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks – Follow the boardwalk to a rugged cliff face that reveals the spectacular rock arch formation which has become a safe haven for playful long-nosed fur seals.
- 16 hours – starts at 6:15am (check in), ends around 10:40pm.
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (Adelaide CBD hotels and hostels)
- Transportation by luxury, air-conditioned coach
- National park entry fees
- Return coach and ferry travel to Kangaroo Island
- Live commentary by a local driver/guide
- Guided beach walk at Seal Bay Conservation Park
- 2-course lunch at Vivonne Bay Bistro
- Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch at Flinders Chase National Park
- $315 AUD p/p
View on Get Your Guide
3) From Adelaide or Glenelg: Kangaroo Island Private Group Tour
Explore the beauty and wonder of Kangaroo Island on a personal group tour.
You will get to see some amazing sites and may even spot some New Zealand fur seals, Australian sea lions, penguins, echidnas and kangaroos.
On this tour you will also get to:
- Experience a guided tour of Seal Bay
- Witness Flinders Chase National Park including the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch
- Explore Hanson Bay Sanctuary Koala Walk
- Admire Flinders Chase National Park
- Visit a vodka distillery and bar
You will also get the chance to sample and purchase locally made products and produce throughout the tour.
- 14 hours
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (in Adelaide or Glenelg)
- Round-trip Ferry transfer fees (I believe)
- All park entrance fees
- Private tour vehicle and guide
NOTE: This tour doesn’t include food and drinks.
- $360 AUD p/p
View on Get Your Guide
Kangaroo Island Guide & 3 Epic Day Tours to Kangaroo Island From Adelaide
I hope that this article has given you a good insight into Kangaroo Island including how to get there, how to get around, how much it costs and also whether it is worth the trip.
To be honest, I feel that there is still a lot to see in Kangaroo Island despite the devastation caused by the bush fires.
As you can see, there are many tours that allow you experience both:
- The incredible wildlife, reserves and natural rock formation and
- Local flavours from the region – food, wine and spirits
Regardless of the tour you choose to do around Kangaroo Island, I’m sure that you will have a fabulous time!
Here’s some other Kangaroo Island activities you can check out as well: