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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Ideal location, great stay

Two friends and I spent 3 lovely nights in a cabin at Emu Bay Holiday Homes over the final weekend of October. The cabin was very clean and well maintained. Rene warmly welcomed us on arrival and provided us with some great local tips. The cabin was well equipped and had everything we needed for a home away from home experience. Spectacular views of Emu Bay and convenient location. We return home to Adelaide refreshed and with many lovely memories. A big thank you to Rene and Johannes. We now keenly await our next memorable KI experience.

– Holly P

What a gem

We had a fantastic five night stay with four other friends in Jireh House. Spotlessly clean and well appointed it was a great location to enjoy the views set among beautiful gardens with numerous colourful flowering plants. Mornings and evenings on the front verandah were memorable in the tranquil setting with numerous birds using the bird bath or feeding on the flowers. Easy access to Island attractions. Great assistance and communication with all our arrangements from Christine and Rene. We’ll definitely recommend it to friends and return some time.

– Peter F

Family friendly home

A house with stunning views. Home away from home comfort. Great facilities provided. A fantastic location . House situated amongst beautiful gardens so tranquil and peaceful.
Beautiful grounds for taking a walk and enjoying the Australian flora and fauna. Spotting koalas in the trees near the house was a highlight.

– Artkat