How to get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide

get to Kangaroo island from Adelaide

How to get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide

There is no more beautiful and secluded place to holiday in Australia than Kangaroo Island. The stunning island off the coast of South Australia is a pristine nature reserve and the perfect getaway for lovers of nature and serenity. Being an island though, getting there is more than a simple drive.

Want to know how to get to Kangaroo Island? The trip there is part of the adventure. Here are your travel options.

The ferry

Catching the ferry is by far the most common and popular way for holiday makers to get to Kangaroo Island. SeaLink operates two ferries, the Sealion 2000 and the Spirit of Kangaroo Island. They both accommodate over three hundred passengers and up 50 cars as well as spaces for trailers and coaches.

get to Kangaroo island from Adelaide

Photo Credit : @alicekuersch (via Instagram)

They are both wheelchair accessible with televisions and WiFi on board, making them a comfortable, easy, and exciting way to get to Kangaroo Island. They also both also have dolphin viewing decks to check out the frisky marine mammals and even whales when the time of year is right.

Even though the crossing only takes around 45 minutes, there are still licensed cafes on board to keep you fed.

In the summer months, ferries cross ten times a day while in winter they do five or six crossings. The best accommodation sites on Kangaroo Island, like Emu Bay Holiday Homes, are happy to organise and book your ferry passage for you when you book your stay.


If you are a private boat owner, it is possible to get to Kangaroo Island yourself. Be aware though, the southern waters of the Backstairs Passage, the strait between the mainland and Kangaroo Island, are notoriously rough and difficult to navigate. Have a look at the list of shipwrecks in the Backstairs Passage on wikipedia.

Boating and sailing around the island, on the other hand, is superb. For all but the most daring boating enthusiasts it is a better option to book trailer space on the ferry. This way you can safely enjoy boating around the island and leave the dangerous crossing to the ferries.

Kangaroo Island: Getting there by plane

Planes are available, leaving from Adelaide, for those less fond of the sea. When going to Kangaroo Island, getting there by plane is naturally a lot quicker than the ferry ride but it comes at a cost. Flights are more expensive than the ferry and you don’t have the option of bringing your own vehicle.

get to Kangaroo island from Adelaide

Photo Credit : @fluroman_photograohy (via Instagram)

At 4,405 km², Kangaroo Island is not easily walkable so those who arrive by plane will need to rely on a hire vehicle or private tours. For the differently abled though, it is a good option if you can spare the expense and aren’t planning on driving anyway.


For the truly intrepid, it is possible to swim across the Backstairs Passage as a way to get to Kangaroo Island. Don’t get too set on it though! Records of successful swims are few and far between. The waters are cold and rough and patrolled by huge great white sharks. The most recent attempt, in 2019, had to be pulled up short less than two kms from the finish thanks to a 4m white shark eyeing up the swimmers. Eek!

Don’t attempt this without a crew and lots and lots of training. It is much better to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island and have a swim at Emu Bay when you get there instead.

Getting to Kangaroo Island: We can book


When you book with Emu Bay Holiday Homes, we can take care of your ferry travel arrangements, with no extra fee and even a discounted rate. Contact us or book via our website today to find out more.

Reviews and Testimonials

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Exceeded our high expectations!

A wonderful experience that exceeded all expectations. The cabin has everything one needs. The surroundings are very beautiful and kangaroos, koalas and the birds come to visit often. Just when we thought it was as good as it can be, we realized there was more! Incredible starry skies and a lot of shooting stars. Wishing we could have stayed for more than 9 days.

– Trip48477180221

Vacation ❘ Couple

We stayed in the Bayview Guest wing, perfect for the two of us, for our seven night stay. Although it is attached to Amani House, (so it can be hired as part of Amani too), it is very well sound proofed and we chatted to our neighbours at times but felt undisturbed by their presence. Fantastic views of the superb Emu Bay, surrounded by wildlife and we were made very welcome by Rene and Johannes. The lovely Rene visited us to make sure we had whatever we needed and she is very knowledgeable about KI and can answer any questions you might have. Everything we needed was supplied, including a welcome gift of a bottle of False Cape red wine, local honey and KI oats and the apartment was beautifully clean. An easy walk to the beautiful beach, friendly locals and a fifteen minute drive to Kingscote for a meal at the pub, or the local Italian.

(Booking is a good idea!)

Highly recommend Emu Bay Holiday Homes.

– nick vallence

Vacation ❘ Family

“Emu Bay Holiday Homes offers a delightful experience with its stunning views of Emu Bay, exceptional service, and comfortable rooms. The central location is perfect for exploring the major attractions of Kangaroo Island. A special thanks to the owner for providing an EV charging facility, which adds a thoughtful touch to an already fantastic stay. Highly recommended for anyone visiting the area!”

– Jag Kakarlapudi