Kangaroo Island

Ultimate guide to things to do on Kangaroo Island with kids

Deserted beaches, wild animal encounters, pristine wilderness and surreal but stunning landscapes make Kangaroo Island (or KI as it is affectionately known by the locals) a magical destination for explorers of every age. 

Just two hours off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is a natural paradise of soaring cliffs, epic sand dunes, lush wetlands and endless stretches of bone white beach.

When you have your fill of swimming and playing in the sparkling blue waters encircling the island, take a trek to one of the island’s signature landmarks. Remarkable Rocks, a cluster of enormous, weather-worn granite boulders, is like a visit to mother nature’s sculpture gallery. The Admirals Arch is another landmark that is a must visit with its stalactites dangling from its rocky ceiling and awesome views of a New Zealand fur seal colony that lives below.

Emily lives on Kangaroo Island with her husband and two kids. Photo Supplied

Along with fur seals, visitors to KI will be in wildlife heaven with plenty of opportunities to spot sea-lions, koalas, penguins, sea-lions, whales, pelicans and, of course, kangaroos in their natural habitat. You will also find several wildlife parks and rehabilitation centres where you can enjoy up close and personal experiences with native animals and birds.

Foodie families will love visiting KI’s impressive farm gates where you can taste some of Australia’s best cheese, lamb, honey and more. 

And adventurous clans can head to the Little Sahara to go sandboarding on the dunes, swim with dolphins or immerse themselves in the natural world at one of the many camp sites on the island.

Top things to do on Kangaroo Island

There’s something for everyone on KI – from wildlife to fabulous bays and beaches. Here are a few of our favourite things.

  1. Visit hauntingly beautiful Admiral’s Arch 
  2. Spot the Australian sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park
  3. Enjoy the magnificent sight of Remarkable Rocks
  4. Explore Flinders Chase National Park 
  5. Head to Little Sahara, a rare desert on an island
  6. Surf the dunes 
  7. Enjoy sun, sand and sea at one the island’s brilliantly blue bays and beaches
  8. Take a hike along one of the island’s many brilliant hiking trails
  9. Swim with the dolphins
  10. Kayaking along the Harriet River

Things to do on Kangaroo Island with...

Kangaroo Island with kids
Seals are the most famous inhabitants of Kangaroo Island. Picture: Shutterstock

Best time to visit Kangaroo Island as a family

Kangaroo Island sits around 112 kilometres south of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and has four very distinct seasons, each bringing a certain something special to visitors.

During winter, from June to August, the island is covered in lush green grass and the rivers are flowing. The first of September marks the beginning of spring and wildflower season, and is one of the best times to spot the islands birds. 

Summer officially starts on the 1 December and is optimum beach time while Autumn, from March to May, is also a popular time to visit thanks to the mild weather.

Visiting off-peak means better deals with accommodation, tours and car hire. The island is only accessible by ferry or plane, so you do need to plan and book ahead for your arrival and departures whatever time of year.

Remarkable rocks Kangaroo Island
Remarkable rocks Kangaroo Island. Picture: Shutterstock

Family-friendly places to eat on Kangaroo Island

Surrounded by the ocean and offering rich, lush grazing grounds, Kangaroo Island is home to some of Australia’s best produce.

All around the island you’ll find quaint places to eat where you can taste the local goodies. The farmer’s markets are perfect for tasting and topping up supplies from the farm gate. Cheese lovers will be in heaven and for those that like their lamb, Kangaroo Island lamb is some of the most succulent you’ll ever taste. Then there’s the oysters, Marron, honey… we could go on and on. 

Kid friendly Dudley Wines on Willoughby Road is a favourite for families with free wine tasting, an amazing view and food that will have everyone raving. We especially love the whiting pizza.

Do remember Kangaroo Island does run on ‘island time’ so it’s always best to double check if venues are open.

Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Things to do for free on Kangaroo Island

  • One of the best things about Kangaroo Island is the abundance of free stuff to do. It is sometimes considered to be an expensive destination to get to, but once you arrive, that all changes. 
  • Walk around Clifford’s Honey Farm and taste some of the local honey, visit Kangaroo Island Spirits for a free tasting. 
  • Visit Admiral’s Arch in Flinders Chase National Park, which is not only a marvel of nature, but also an ideal place to observe the New Zealand fur seal colony flopping about on the rugged rocks. It’s also the location of the historic Cape du Couedic Lighthouse. Remarkable Rocks is another marvelous piece of handiwork by Mother Nature and is a must see at sunrise. 
  • Explore Vivonne Bay, Stokes Beach, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse (guided tours are available up and into the lighthouse for a small cost) and the Old Wisanger School, opened in 1884.
What’s on?

Annual events for families on Kangaroo Island

February – SeaLink Kangaroo Island Cup

With a carnival atmosphere, this three-day event is loads of fun.

Kangaroo Island Fringe

Held on to the oval at Pennehsaw where the Kangaroo Island Fringe offers live performances and a variety of entertainment for the whole family.

September – Kangaroo Island Marathon

The course, located in Flinders Chase National Park weaves through the magical landscape and starts and finishes at the visitor centre.

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