One of the best day trips, weekend getaways, or full-on vacations in South Australia has to be Kangaroo Island! This part of Australia is a total favorite for many being conveniently located near the city of Adelaide, which makes it super easy to get to.

What makes Kangaroo Island so special? Well, over a third of the island is made up of protected nature reserves, making it an absolute haven for wildlife lovers. Get ready to spot iconic Australian animals like kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and sea lions on the beautiful north and south coasts.

A trip to Kangaroo Island is one of the most relaxing getaways you can have in Australia. Although finding the perfect place to stay can be a bit tricky given the island's size and limited number of towns, the number of stunning beaches definitely makes up for it.

So I've put together a handy guide on where to stay on Kangaroo Island, so you can easily find your ideal accommodation.

Best areas to stay in Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island has many amazing areas to explore, each offering something unique. Let me share some of the most popular spots that you should definitely consider when planning your stay.

For first-timers, I highly recommend staying in Kingscote. It's the biggest and only proper town on the island, with supermarkets and restaurants conveniently close to the Kingscote Airport.

If you're a family looking for a secluded vacation with stunning beaches, Vivonne Bay is the perfect choice. Here, you'll find beautiful holiday homes perfect for larger families right on the Kangaroo Island seafront.

For a romantic couples getaway or anyone seeking complete seclusion, Stokes Bay on the northern side is the ideal little escape.

And lastly, if you're looking for the ultimate beach vacation with the best beaches on Kangaroo Island, Emu Bay is the place to be.

1. Where to stay on Kangaroo Island for the first time: Kingscote

Where to stay in Kangaroo Island - Kingscote

If you're visiting Kangaroo Island for the first time, I recommend staying in Kingscote.

It's the biggest and most developed town on the island, which makes it super convenient for newcomers. On top of that, it's located near the airport, so getting there is a breeze.

It's a 30-minute flight from Adelaide. Alternatively, if traveling in a car or camper, you can take the ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw Beach, which takes 45 minutes and you can book with Sealink Kangaroo Island.

In Kingscote, you'll find a wide range of restaurants, bars, and supermarkets, making it the most convenient area to stay. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.

It's also the perfect starting point to explore the rest of the island. The roads from here will take you to all the amazing attractions Kangaroo Island has to offer.

While it may not be the most idyllic area to stay in, choosing Kingscote will definitely make your experience the easiest.

Best area for:

  • First-timers

  • Easy access

Things to do in Kingscote

When you're in Kingscote, you'll have plenty of options to explore the island or have some fun closer to town. Heading over to the Kangaroo Island Visitor Center is a great day trip because many of the island tours start from there. I recommend this sure fun seal and dolphin snorkeling tour.

Also, don't miss the Penneshaw Penguin Center located at the Visitor Center, where you can observe the adorable Little Penguins that call Kangaroo Island home.

For a more relaxing experience, I highly recommend visiting the Bay of Shoals Wines. It's a beautiful winery just outside of Kingscote. They offer wine tours, oyster tastings, and a fantastic picnic experience in their vineyard.

Best hotels to stay in Kingscote

($$$) Villas on the Bay Kingscote

Villas on the Bay Kingscote offer fantastic, spacious units in Kingscote. These units come equipped with a fully-equipped kitchen, and you can choose from a variety of villa sizes, ranging from 2 to 3 bedrooms. It's perfect for larger groups or families.

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($$) Kangaroo Island Seaview Motel

Kangaroo Island Seaview Motel is a fantastic mid-range option if you're looking to stay near Kingscote! Kangaroo Island Seaview Motel is conveniently located close to the town center, and all rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and air conditioning and the place is beautifully decorated.

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($) KI Dragonfly Guesthouse

If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, KI Dragonfly Guesthouse is the perfect spot. This cozy guesthouse offers rooms of various sizes to cater to your needs. Plus, enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout, a TV lounge, and a fully equipped kitchen.

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2. Where to stay in Kangaroo Island for families: Vivonne Bay

Where to stay in Kangaroo island - Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay is an absolutely stunning region on the southern side of Kangaroo Island. It's made up of a few small towns and a beach that stretches for miles, offering pure beauty and tranquility.

For families, this is the perfect area to stay, as it feels very secluded but not too far away from the other attractions on the island.

Plus, you'll find plenty of family-friendly activities and hotels in this area. From beautiful beaches to campgrounds and holiday parks, there are many ways to explore the area with your kids.

Best area for:

  • Families

  • Relaxation

  • Activities

Things to do in Vivonne Bay

If you're staying in Vivonne Bay with your family, you'll be spoilt for choice with activities to keep everyone entertained.

Head over to Flinders Chase National Park for a day of hiking and exploring the breathtaking landscape. For a really cool experience, visit Seal Bay Conservation Park to get up close and personal with wild seals! 

For some local flavor, swing by Kangaroo Island Brewery for a fun tour and delicious tastings of their craft beers. And if relaxation is more your vibe, take a leisurely stroll along stunning Vivonne Bay Beach with your loved ones—it's absolutely beautiful! Vivonne Bay Rock Pool is a natural swimming spot to check out.

Best hotels to stay in Vivonne Bay

($$$) Osprey Heights River View

Osprey Heights River View is the ultimate option for families in Vivonne Bay. This stunning vacation home offers 3 bedrooms and is only a short drive from the beach. It comes equipped with four bedrooms, perfect for larger families or groups traveling together.

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($$) Ocean View overlooking Vivonne Bay

A little smaller and more affordable, this vacation home is situated in a perfect location with stunning ocean views. It's only a short walk to the beach, making it an ideal spot for families and couples.

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($) StormySky

Another great spot for a larger family and budget-friendly getaway is StormySky. This stylish and modern beach house offers 3 bedrooms, a large backyard with a BBQ, and easy access to the beach.

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3. Where to stay in Kangaroo Island for couples & seclusion: Stokes Bay

Where to stay in Kangaroo Island - Stokes Bay

If you're looking for a romantic getaway or just some peace and quiet, Stokes Bay is the perfect place to stay.

This secluded area on the North Coast of Kangaroo Island offers stunning beaches, caves to explore, and plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.

Stokes Bay is also home to some of my favorite cottages and vacation rentals that offer privacy and breathtaking views of the Kangaroo Island Seafront – perfect for a couple's retreat!

Best area for:

  • Couples

  • Seclusion

  • Families

  • Relaxation

Things to do in Stokes Bay

For couples looking to relax, Stokes Bay on the North Coast offers plenty of opportunities for long walks on the beach and picnics with stunning views.

There are also other trips you can take, such as visiting Western River Cove, Scott Cove, and the Cape Borda Lighthouse at the western tip of Kangaroo Island.

When it comes to dinner recommendations, my absolute favorite spot for a romantic evening is right here in this area. It's called The Enchanted Fig Tree, and it's a fine dining restaurant that offers an incredible wilderness dining experience. You'll enjoy a delightful 3-course meal surrounded by the beauty of nature. Just remember to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot!

Best hotels to stay in Stokes Bay

($$$) Life-time Private Retreats

This luxury retreat offers three different accommodations to choose from, each with its own unique features such as private beaches, stunning views, and outdoor baths. It's perfect for a romantic getaway and might be my favorite Kangaroo Island accommodation.

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($$) King George Beach Retreat

For a more budget-friendly option, King George Beach Retreat offers a cozy vacation home with stunning ocean views and easy access to the beach. Perfect for couples or small families looking for some peace and quiet.

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($) Waves & Wildlife Cottages Kangaroo Island

Located right on the beach with panoramic ocean views, these cottages are perfect for couples looking for a peaceful retreat. You can even spot kangaroos and other wildlife from your cottage's balcony! And the best part is, it's also a little more budget-friendly. So it will keep your Kangaroo Island cost low.

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4. Where to stay in Kangaroo Island for the best beaches: Emu Bay

Where to stay in Kangaroo Island - Emu Bay

If you're a beach lover, you're going to love Emu Bay. This stunning bay has it all – long stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and endless opportunities for swimming, fishing, and even dolphin watching.

Not to mention, Emu Bay is home to some of the coziest cottages and vacation homes on Kangaroo Island, offering easy access to the beach and amazing ocean views.

On top of all that, it's super close to Kingscote, making it a fantastic choice for families or first-timers who want to be a little closer to a bigger town while still enjoying the beauty of a secluded beach.

Best area for:

  • Beaches

  • Families

  • First-timers

Things to do in Emu Bay 

Emu Bay is an absolute highlight for beach lovers. You'll love spending your days hanging out in the sun on the pristine white sandy beaches, taking refreshing dips in the crystal-clear waters, or even trying your hand at fishing from the jetty.

And here's something really cool you can do here – drive on the beach! Yep, you can take a 4WD vehicle right onto the sand and explore different parts of this breathtaking bay.

When it comes to dinner, you've got to check out the Emu Bay Lavender Farm. Not only is the lavender farm super cute to visit, but they also have a shop where you can pick up amazing soaps and other goodies.

However, their lunches and dinners are hands down the best on the island. So come for the food and stay for the incredible atmosphere!

Best hotels to stay in Emu Bay

($$$) Salty Dog

This cozy beach house offers breathtaking ocean views, luxurious amenities, and convenient beach access. It's the perfect spot for an unforgettable family vacation or a romantic getaway, with three bedrooms that can accommodate up to 8 people.

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($$) Berds Nest

Berds Nest is a bit smaller, with space for up to 5 people, but it's just as cozy and stylish. It also features a porch that offers stunning views of Emu Bay.

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($) Emu Bay Holiday Homes

If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Emu Bay Holiday Homes are ideal. These self-contained apartments offer all the comforts of home and are just a short walk away from the beach.

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Where to stay in Kangaroo Island – Frequently Asked Questions

✈️ How to get to Kangaroo Island?

The most convenient way to reach Kangaroo Island is by flying into Kingscote Airport or taking the ferry from Cape Jervis on the mainland to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island.

🏖️ What is there to do on Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is such an underrated island, offering plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy! Explore Kangaroo Island's stunning natural landscapes, drive along the Kangaroo Island seafront, encounter incredible wildlife, and treat yourself to some tasty food from the local restaurants.

⛺ Best campsite on Kangaroo Island?

One of the best campsites in Kangaroo Island is the Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve. It offers spacious sites, clean amenities, and even a chance to spot wildlife right from your campsite.

🏠 What is the best hotel in Kangaroo Island?

Southern Ocean Lodge (now The Baillie Lodges) is often considered the best Kangaroo Island accommodation. It is one of the most beautiful and luxurious eco-lodges, offering breathtaking views, top-notch service, luxurious spa treatments, and fine dining options. Plus, it boasts direct beach access to a private beach. However, if you're looking for something more affordable, then Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge in American River is a great option as well!

🚗 How to get around on Kangaroo Island?

If you're staying in Kingscote, you don't necessarily need a car. However, most people come by car and I would highly recommend either renting one or coming with your own. It just gives you so much more freedom and opportunity to explore everything Kangaroo Island has to offer.

Where to stay on Kangaroo Island – Final Words

Kangaroo Island is often overlooked by travelers, but it's still somewhat of a hidden gem in South Australia.

Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a fun-filled family vacation, or a solo adventure, Kangaroo Island is the perfect spot for you. Here, you can still explore those long stretches of beach and catch sight of kangaroos without running into hordes of tourists like on Fraser Island or the Whitsundays. 

I hope my guide will make it easier for you to find your ideal accommodation and figure out where to stay on Kangaroo Island.

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