Kangaroo Island stretches approximately 150K east-west and 50Km north-south and in all is 4500 sq. Km, making it Australia's third largest island. The main population centres are Kingscote (the capital and airport) to the north and Penneshaw (the ferry port) at the eastern end. However, the population is only 4300 so the vast majority of the island is essentially wilderness. Many of the visitors to the island are day trippers who only visit the main sightseeing destinations so there is no problem getting away from the crowds. Fully one third of the island is given up to National Park or Conservation Area status.
Two options here, either take a 20 minute flight from Adelaide or drive two hours from Adelaide to catch the 45 minute vehicle ferry from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Hiring a car from Kingscote is no problem.
When to go.
KI's climate is typically mild, although at times in summer it can get pretty hot. Winter averages are 13-15 degrees Celsius and summer is 20-25 degrees Celsius.The majority of the rainfall occurs in winter. For year-round weather averages in Kingscote click here.
For wildlife viewing any time is good, although if it is specifics you are looking for, such as viewing the Southern Right Whales as they pass the coast then obviously you need to time your visit carefully. However, the vast majority of what is available to see is there throughout the year.
Plenty of accommodation scattered around the island, including the ideally located Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, a personal favourite. Also worth checking out is the National Park accommodation.
Everything you've got! The kangaroos and wallabies may let you get quite close but the birds won't, and the National Park staff are going to keep you away from the sea lions. So long lenses if you're going for the photography and binoculars if not. On top of that, remember the following:
Plenty of memory capacity or film.
Cleaning cloth and brush - sand could be an issue.
Wet weather gear
How long to stay.
If it's for photography then two weeks still won't see you bored, if it's for viewing then don't try to do the island in less then three days. Plenty of people get the coach tour from Penneshaw and are back off the island the same day but they miss so much.
Take extreme care driving between dusk and dawn for the sake of both the animals and your car. If a big grey decides to cross the road just as you are passing it won't stop to check first and normally there will be another following right behind. And during the daytime look out for what look like sticks in the road, I have seen countless goannas and snakes have their sunbathing sessions cut short.
Get an island parks pass. If you are going to visit more than 4 parks, or if you are planning multiple visits to parks, this will save you money.
Don't feed the wildlife! Instruction given the world over, and I know it's hard to ignore the begging 'roos and wallabies at the visitors' centre car park, but you will be doing them no favours whatsoever if you hand over the remains of your sandwiches and crisps. And if you don't want to lose your al fresco dinner then watch out for the brushtail possums - they're everywhere and they're fearless! On my last visit they even followed me into my room before I could close the door on them.