Encircled by jaw-dropping coastline and home to mesmerizing natural wonders, mysterious landscapes and abundant wildlife, Kangaroo Island is unlike anywhere else on earth.
Just a stone’s throw from Adelaide, this isolated pocket of island wilderness offers up some of the most authentic nature experiences in Australia. Get back to nature on island time and roam along postcard-perfect beaches, traverse ancient landscapes shaped by time and get up close to iconic Australian animals. Read on to unearth Kangaroo Island’s best natural attractions and start ticking off your bucket list.
1. Remarkable Rocks
The wind-blasted boulders of Remarkable Rocks are synonymous with Kangaroo Island. This geological phenomenon has been crafted from granite by the pounding wind, sea and rain over 500 million years and is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the island. Tucked within the wilds of Flinders Chase National Park, commanding views over the Southern Ocean only add to the drama of this eagerly photographed landscape. Morning and late afternoons are the best times to visit as the sun transforms the lichen covered rocks into glowing monuments of Mother Nature’s artistry.
2. Enchanted Fig Tree
Pull up a seat for lunch under the dappled light of a 120-year-old fig tree as the gentle sounds of lapping waves beyond provide the soundtrack to a magical dining experience. Tucked off the picture-perfect shores of Kangaroo Island’s Snelling Beach, your table is set under the gnarled branches of the ancient Enchanted Fig Tree. Planted some 120 years ago to sustain the first settlers of the island, its bending boughs and shaded canopy now provide a magical setting for a feast worthy of a fairy tale. From progressive long lunches to decadent dinners dished up by some of South Australia’s best chefs including Simon Bryant and Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed, the Enchanted Fig Tree is the ultimate destination dining experience this summer.
3. Admirals Arch
Just a little further down the coast another geological masterpiece awaits. Admirals Arch is a natural rock arch carved out over thousands of years by the unrelenting forces of the sea. Stalactites adorn the time-weathered rock formation and frame the roaring Southern Ocean beyond. The waters below are a haven for New Zealand fur seals who sunbake at the water’s edge and frolic in the shallow rockpools, while wildlife lovers will also often be rewarded with sightings of dolphins, whales and unique birdlife.
4. Emu Bay
The long, white sandy beach of Emu Bay is simply breathtaking. This gorgeous stretch of sand and surf is protected from the elements; if it's windy in Kingscote, just slide around to Emu Bay, finding conditions calm, clear and primed for soaking in the sun. No need to worry about parking either, as you can drive on the beach then immediately plonk yourself on the sand. For another dose of natural history, keep your eye out for the Emu Bay Shale; one of only two fossil beds in the world to showcase a unique extinct marine arthropod (Redlichiidan trilobites for the scientifically inclined). If you’re chasing the sun, here’s our guide to the best beaches on Kangaroo Island.
5. Vivonne Bay
Imagine sinking your toes into powdered-sugar sand and diving into crystal-clear waters reminiscent of a true island getaway. Like something out of your wildest tropical beach dreams, Kangaroo Island’s Vivonne Bay is a genuine island paradise. Once voted Australia’s best beach, six-kilometres of white sandy shores meet gently lapping waves. With a jetty framing the south-end and distant dunes in the north, this beach is the perfect spot for a quick dip, a picnic or a spot of fishing. It’s also a popular haunt for the locals, with dolphins and seals often spotted enjoying the pristine waters.
6. Little Sahara Desert
Wind-sculpted sand dunes sprawl out towards the ocean at Kangaroo Island’s Little Sahara Desert. Explore the undulating dune network stretching two square kilometres and stop for a spot of surfing… on sand. Less than a 10-minute drive from Vivonne Bay, hire a sandboard or taboggan from Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action and sail down the pillowy peaks – the tallest dune towers about 70 metres above sea level.
7. Stokes Bay
Pull up in the Stokes Bay carpark, weave through a little labyrinth of caves and emerge onto some of the whitest sand and clearest water in Australia. This secluded seaside sanctuary is one of the most idyllic spots to throw down a towel on Kangaroo Island. Flanked by Snelling Beach and Emu Bay, the northern coastline of Kangaroo Island is primed for balmy summer days spent beach hopping from one picture perfect cove to the next. There are also plenty of beachside abodes to settle in for summer; for views of Stokes Bay, check into Stowaway.
Cast-off to Kangaroo Island
Ready to escape to Kangaroo Island? Write your bucket list then heck out our suggested itinerary for more things to do plus the best places to stay and eat on Kangaroo Island.