How to Spend 1 Day on Kangaroo Island
Just off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island makes a popular choice for a day trip from Adelaide, and one day is just enough time to take in the highlights. Marvel at the natural wonders of Flinders Chase National Park, discover the island’s abundant wildlife, and take a thrilling night safari. Here’s how to spend 24 hours on Kangaroo Island.
Morning: Ocean Views and Wildlife Watching
Getting around Kangaroo Island without your own transport isn’t really feasible, but joining a tour will save you the hassle of renting a car and ensure you don’t waste any time. Most tours set out from Kingscote or Penneshaw and head west to Flinders Chase National Park, driving along the island’s scenic south coast.
Along the way, stop at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and take a guided Koala Walk—the bushland track is a great place to spot wild koalas and kangaroos in their natural environment. Nearby, Seal Bay is another wildlife hot spot, home to a colony of rare Australian fur seals, while Vivonne Bay is an idyllic spot for a seaside lunch or a quick swim in the ocean.
Afternoon: Natural Wonders of Flinders Chase National Park
Stretching across the western tip of the island, Flinders Chase National Park offers photo-worthy views at all angles, from sweeping coastal cliffs and historic lighthouses to wild beaches and bushland trails. To best explore the park, opt for a 4WD tour and venture off-road to enjoy scenic hikes and possible sightings of wallabies, endemic birds, and echidnas.
Most tours of the national park include photo stops at natural landmarks such as the Remarkable Rocks and Admiral Arch; a visit to the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre; and the coastal walk to Cape Borda Lighthouse, which makes a memorable spot to watch the sunset.
Night: Set Out on Safari
Tucking into fresh-from-the-ocean seafood is a quintessential island experience, so book a table at one of the seafront restaurants in Kingscote or Penneshaw—local specialties include oysters and King George whiting. If you’re spending the night on the island, one of the best times for wildlife watching is after dark. Exploring with a guide on a night safari will maximize your chances of spotting elusive creatures such as tammar wallabies, brush-tailed possums, and boobook owls. The island’s namesake kangaroos are also most active in the evening hours, so if you haven’t already spotted them, now’s your chance!