Kangaroo Island Regions

Island Beach

Island Beach

Island Beach is one of the island’s most protected and safe beaches. The waters are aqua clear and great for fishing and boating. North facing and crisp white sand, Island Beach is perfect for the family and safe for the kids to play in the water as it is has a very gradual depth.

Furry critters can always be seen at night.

Island Beach has a small community feel to it with dozens of beachhouses clustered together through winding dirt tracks. There are multi-million dollar houses through to shanty shacks. Many visitors book a year in advance along this stretch and peak season bookings are very tightly held. Penneshaw is the closest town to stock up on living requirements and the feature list below is relevant to Penneshaw.

Known as ‘Millionaires Row’. Safe, easy and comfortable option.


American River

American River

American River is KI’s most protected harbour and is a sleepy seaside fishing village. If you are looking for a quiet holiday to throw the line in off the jetty with nothing too flash but comfortable and laid back, then American River is for you. There’s also the American River Hotel restaurant which makes great meals in a relaxed environment.

The ‘River’ offers amazing views over Eastern Cove, the mainland and Pelican Lagoon. Pelican Lagoon is a marine reserve with many small inaccessible islands which are home to enormous amounts of rare bird and marine life. Very picturesque indeed. It’s a 10 minute drive to the beautiful swimming waters of Island Beach.

American River is a bit built up with residential housing and has more of a ‘locals’ feel to it.

You’ll catch all the usual wildlife at night – Roos and Wallabies and more..

Eastern Cove, the outer bay, offers excellent sailing and fishing in semi-protected waters. The village of American River supports these pursuits with an excellent boat ramp, barbecue and picnic facilities, fishing charters and boat hire. The Kangaroo Island oyster industry is also housed here.

Sleepy 1960’s feeling local fishing village - picturesque


Central Heartland and Parndana


The ‘Scrub Gum Place'' is a typical Australian country town. It feels like you could be in a small village near Alice Springs!

Parndana is home to the Soldier Settlement Museum that takes you on the journey of the returned soldiers; as part of the Soldier Settlement Scheme, they were responsible for almost doubling the area of agricultural land on the Island.

Once again plenty of wildlife and in early spring when the wildflowers come out, there’s some very pretty colours!

November is when the annual ‘Speed Shears’ event is held. Shearers from Australia and overseas compete in one of the richest shearing events in the world. Whilst year round at the Parndana Hotel you can visit the 'Shearers' Hall of Fame' to learn more about the proud shearing heritage of Kangaroo Island. This is the island’s flagship event with rock music and party goers revelling late into the nights

The heart of KI and the real inland bush experience. Parndarna has been the agricultural community of KI for years and is ideal for those seeking the ‘farmers feel’.




Includes Cygnet River, Brownlow, Kingscote, Nepean Bay, Western

Kingscote is the regional hub of Kangaroo Island. There’s about 4000 people permanently residing on KI and around half live in ‘Kingers’. Kingscote has a long history and was SA’s first settlement. You can see why because it is really pretty with its undulating coastline, views to the mainland and cosy feel.

Situated on the shores of the gorgeous Nepean Bay, Kingscote impresses with its sweeping views of the boat-studded harbour. Dauncey Street is the main drag where there’s shops, restaurants, the biggest supermarket on the island, ATM’s & everything you need really! Little Penguins reside in front of the town and there are daily feedings of the Pelicans. Guided by KI Marine Centre, tours are conducted after dusk to see the penguins returning from their day's fishing. The jetty nearly always provides a catch for those with a few hours up their sleeves. Tommy ruff, garfish, King George whiting and snook are the most commonly caught varieties.

Local feel, friendly and very Aussie. KI’s most populated spot, so it’s not the ‘isolated getaway’ but it does make a very convenient base


North Coast

North Coast

Includes Emu Bay, Cape Cassini, Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach, Middle River, Western River Cove, King George Beach

It’s hard to summarise ‘The North Coast’ in one sentence. It’s very diverse. It has its own unique character - from the rugged, isolated northwest (Cape Borda) through to the expansive white sandy beach of Emu Bay.

Eighteen kms from the KI hub, Kingscote, Emu Bay is a beautiful 4km beach with safe swimming and car access. It’s definitely a cool swimming beach which is enjoyed by locals and holiday makers. Fishermen and women can try their luck from the jetty or launch their boats from the access ramp. West of Emu Bay, the delightful North Coast is the perfect place for a quiet getaway with amazing surrounds. A mixture of SA’s tallest cliffs, deserted sandy coves and beaches line the coast with conservation parks, hills, valleys and rolling farmland meeting the sea.

Base yourself at one of the quiet self-contained retreats and enjoy fishing, beachcombing and touring. The South Coast attractions are within easy reach of both Emu Bay and the North Coast traveling through the centre (Parndarna).

The areas around Snellings, Stokes & Middle River have awesome ‘private retreats’. Emu Bay is more built up but convenient and very pretty. North Coast accommodation is generally more private and ‘Outback’


Penneshaw & Dudley Peninsula


Including Antechamber Bay, Brown’s Beach & Baudin Beach & Penneshaw

Situated on the northeast coast of the Island, Penneshaw is a pretty beachside village. It is a welcome for visitors arriving via the ferry service. With a commanding view of the mainland, just 18km across Backstairs Passage, Penneshaw is the second largest community centre on KI (behind Kingscote. Visitors enjoy a wide selection of accommodation in Penneshaw or one of the surrounding bays. Safe swimming Beaches are in Penneshaw and Brown’s Beach.

Penneshaw is well serviced with restaurants, cafes, cellar doors and the newly renovated Penneshaw Hotel. The new IGA Supermarket and bottle shops are very well stocked and have a great selection of goods. Tourism KI is situated in Penneshaw – maps and more info available here.

Recently upgraded, Christmas Cove has been a haven for small boats for over 150 years. The Hog Bay Jetty is good little fishing spot as well. Tommy ruff, trevally, snook, King George whiting and salmon can be caught in peaceful, picturesque surroundings. Penneshaw is home to a colony of Little Penguins. Tours are conducted nightly from the Penguin Interpretive Centre.

Has more of a ‘holiday feel’ to it than Kingscote which has the ‘locals feel’ to it. Three levels of cute holiday homes overlook the harbour where the Ferry docks. Convenient base to explore the island.


South Coast

South Coast

Includes D'Estrees Bay, Flinders Chase, Hanson Bay, Karatta, Macgillivray, Murray Lagoon, Seal Bay & Vivonne Bay.

Voted as having the ‘Best Beach in Australia’, a 6 star eco-lodge which charges up to $10,000 per night, World Heritage listed National Parks… The South Coast certainly must have a few good things about it!

There’s only 200 people permenantly living ‘down south’ but it is the real KI experience. Rugged coast, the most abundant wildlife and brilliant slow drives through national parks makes the south coast very unique. Some of KI’s biggest attractions are here: Flinders Chase National Park, Seal Bay (permanent colony), Vivonne Bay (Best Beach in Australia), Kelly Hill Caves, Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.

KI Outdoor Action is a ‘Must Do’ where you take a Quad Bike adventure through some of the 500kms of tracks to a private beach, sandboarding in the Little Sahara & kayaking the Harriot River.

Remote and Wild. Flinders Chase National Park & Vivonne Bay are priority viewings, however long you’re on the island for.