A Quick Backpacker’s Guide to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is a great place for backpackers to explore with so much to see – from endless activities to utter relaxation options. Travelling with just a few clothes and simple possessions can be incredibly liberating and you’ll find that the excellent year round climate on Kangaroo Island means you’ll spend the majority of your days outside in the stunning surroundings. There are all types of Kangaroo Island holiday accommodation available on the island to suit your holiday.



Getting there

The ferry from Cape Jervis is regular and reliable so you’ll be able to hop aboard and enjoy the short ride. Arriving into Penneshaw, you’ll find the island’s main hostel (Kangaroo Island Backpackers Hostel) right there – meaning that if you’re arriving late at night or early in the morning you can either tumble into bed or quickly unpack and start your day.

Getting around Kangaroo Island

It’s true that Kangaroo Island is a great place to see by road and you’ll enjoy the freedom of being able to travel North to South or East to West, exploring the miles of coastline as you go. If you do have a little extra budget, find some fellow backpackers and rent a car or jeep. However if you’re not a driver, there are lots of arranged tours where you can join a group and have your transport organized. Within the towns, there are also shops, restaurants and amusements close by within walking distance.


What to do in Kangaroo IslandKangaroo Island dolphins

You won’t be bored on Kangaroo Island. Take a visit to the Tourism Centre when you arrive or ask in your hostel for recommendations of the best places to visit. Below are a few that you simply can’t miss:


  • Kangaroo Sightings: When on Kangaroo Island, make sure you take some time to spot some of the island’s most famous residents. They like to graze in fields and you’re most likely to see them late afternoon or around dusk.
  • Ocean Safari: the marine life on the island is some of the best in Australia. Take a drive along the coastline and you’ll be likely to spot dolphins, seals and incredible seabirds.
  • Diving: if you’re looking for a one off experience, sign up for a diving trip and explore the stunning coral reefs around the island alight with tropical fish. If you’re more experienced, take a visit out to the shipwrecks off Kangaroo Island for an adventurous dive.
  • Penguins at Penneshaw – close to the main backpackers hostel, you’ll find the best penguin colonies on the island. Take a morning to see these magical creatures flitting in and out of the rock faces.
  • Walking Trails – explore the inland areas of Kangaroo Island, especially if you’re visiting in Autumn or early Spring when temperatures tend to be a little cooler and the vegetation is at its most lush.
  • Spot an Echidna – Kangaroo Island has its very own species of echidna. Distantly related to the platypus, these animals are notoriously elusive and most Australians admit to never having seen one in the wild.


Never want to leave Kangaroo Island?

There’s so much to explore as a backpacker visiting Kangaroo Island. The chances are you’ll end up wishing you had more time on this paradise haven, but rest assured you’ll take very happy memories back to the mainland. If you’re not into backpacking and want to spend your time on KI in luxury, check out clubki.com.au for a range of options.

Top Kangaroo Island Wineries

South Australia is well known for its extensive selection of stunning wine regions with some of the biggest name wineries in areas such as the Barossa and Clare Valley as well as the Adelaide Hills. Newly emerged however in recent years is the Kangaroo Island wine region, just a few hours ferry ride away from the mainland.


Kangaroo Island Wine

There are over 200 hectares under vines on Kangaroo Island, with the wines increasingly known for their strong fruit flavours and intense colours.

The climate on the island is temperate with relatively modern conditions throughout the year meaning that the grapes ripen over an extended period of time.

The excellent wines from Kangaroo Island can be enjoyed alongside some of the stunning food and produce you’ll be able to find – both in restaurants and local markets. Alternatively, you can sample many of the wines at some of the island’s Cellar Doors.

Kangaroo Island Luxury

Wineries to try on Kangaroo Island:

  1. Dudley Wines

This is one of Kangaroo Island’s original wineries. The beautiful outdoor area overlooks the area of water that separates Kangaroo Island from the mainland at Cape Jervis, known as Backstairs Passage. Dudley Wines offers the perfect setting to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting and their cellar door is open every day of the week.


  1. Wheeler Creek Wines

If you’re a fan of white wines, you’ll want to make a visit to Wheeler Creek wines. It is the most Western vineyard on Kangaroo Island and it benefits from the cooler climate condition that allow optimum white wine production. Open throughout the week, you can also enjoy delicious fresh food here.


  1. The Islander Estate

There’s something very special about sampling wines in a classic barrel room, and there’s a real sense of history and expertise at this stunning winery. Originally developed by famous French winemaker Jacques Lurton this five star winery also offers excellent guided tours.


  1. Bay of Shoals Wines

As the name suggests, this winery offers breathtaking views over the Bay of Shoals and Reeves point. It has an excellent selection of Rose wines on offer as well as strong Rieslings if you prefer white wine. Everything is beautifully maintained and all the vines are hand pruned.


  1. Sunset Winery

This is one of the island’s oldest wineries and is an absolute must for those keen to spot some of the island’s best wildlife. Sunset Winery is located deep amidst the native bushland of the island and you have a good chance of seeing kangaroos, unique bird species and possibly an elusive echidna. The restaurant is peaceful and serves a variety of local produce, whilst the sea views over the Eastern Cove are truly magical.

kangaroo island

You can read more about Kangaroo Island wine here.