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How much does it cost to travel to Kangaroo Island

kangaro island

Kangaroo Island – how much does it cost?

It’s not cheap!!


Kangaroos Island is a 2 hour drive south of Adelaide in South Australia and a 16km journey Ferry crossing from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw on the island. The Ferry can take vehicles of all sizes for the 45 minute journey across the bay. The cost to travel will depend on the length of the vehicle you are taking.

Let’s deal with the Elephant in the room straight up. The Ferry crossing to Kangaroo Island is likely to be the dearest vehicle crossing you will do. The rate per metre is reported to be the dearest in the world. The Ferry company has a monopoly and is charging what they like, it’s just how it is. It leaves some people with a sour taste, which is understandable, but here’s the thing, that’s one of the reasons it’s so amazing.

Ferry leaving Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island

It’s like going back in time.

The island is so quiet, so relaxed and the beaches are pristine.

The incredible Hidden Beach

All those things you say you wish you could have on the mainland, no traffic, no stress, great fishing right from the beach, wild animals in abundance, pull up almost where you like and spend the night without fear of a Ranger at your door come sunrise, beaches all to yourself, that’s KI.

We saw lots of Seals before Kangaroo Island but not like we did at Kingscote. Here they just hang out at the Jetty, laying around in the sun and occasionally going for a swim. You can get within 2-3 metres of them, just don’t try to pat them.

Seals at Kingscote on KI

It just costs a few bucks more.

The island is nothing like the mainland. There is the small town of Penneshaw where you arrive and the main township of Kingscote.

There is a bitumen road which circles the interior of the island with a bitumen road to Emu Bay and another to Flinders Chase National Park. All other roads are dirt, some more corrugated than others.

Sunset at Hidden Beach, Stokes Bay

Amenities past the more northern towns of Penneshaw and Kingscote are few and become more expensive. You can drive from one side of the island to the other in approx. 1.5 – 2 hours.

We travelled to Kangaroo Island in early April 2017. When I rang to receive a quote for us to travel over on the Sealink Ferry, a few weeks prior to leaving, we provided them our details, 3 Adults, a dog and an 8m Motorhome. We were given a quote of $98 per person plus $365 for the Motorhome for return fare. Total cost $659, I didn’t book at that time.

Beers with Nina, the owner of Kangaroo Island Brewery

When we were in Victor Harbor we went to the Info Centre and they had a travel booking service to book the Ferry to Kangaroo Island so we decided to check on costs with them. We were told if we booked accommodation for 1 night we would get 20% off our total booking. We requested she arrange a quote and it came back at $641.

She could tell I didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm so I was honest and told her I’d been quoted directly for $659 and $18 wasn’t as much discount as I’d expected.

She was really nice and helped us with tips about the island and places to see so given we had to book it anyway we decided to go ahead. Adele mentioned we had National Seniors cards for over 50. We’re not really sure if it had anything to do with it but once it was booked it came in at $611.

Remarkable Rocks

To calculate what it would cost you to travel by Ferry to Kangaroo Island the rates are $98 per person plus $196 for a vehicle to 5 metres. For vehicles over 5 metres it is $3.50 per every 10cm over the 5 metres. (*as at April 2017)

I can certainly recommend the booking centre at the Victor Harbor Info Centre, they were very friendly and helpful to us and were able to arrange it almost $50 cheaper than our direct quote.

Bay of Shoals Winery, Kingscote

Diesel on the island ranged from 143.9c per Litre in Kingscote to 155.9 in Vivonne Bay.

To fill our 4kg Gas bottle in Vivonne Bay was $35, we chose not to pay that and waited until we arrived in Kingscote where it was $24.95.

Kingscote had a great Foodland store for groceries at reasonable prices. There’s also a Home Hardware store and Mitre 10, bakeries, Hotels and more.

We highly recommend doing as many of your purchases in Kingscote as possible.

Penguin show at Kingscote Jetty

Be careful travelling the south of the island, there can be very limited access to services in many of the areas there. Carry extra fuel if necessary.

Dogs are allowed on Kangaroo Island however you must notify the Kangaroo Island Council prior to arriving. You can contact them on 08 8553 4500.

Emu Bay Lavender Farm is on the way into Emu Bay

You can choose to stay in the Caravan Parks on the island or in any of the designated campgrounds. If you are travelling in your own Motorhome, Caravan or self sufficient vehicle you can choose to stay every night in beautiful ocean front locations with incredible views. Basically wherever you want, within reason of course. I didn’t see any no overnight parking signs whatsoever on the island.

Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park

The fishing on the island is amazing with lots of King George Whiting, Flathead, Bream and our favourite, Salmon all caught from beaches and Jetty’s. We also caught a lot of Squid while we were there. Matt caught 18 in one night off the jetty at Kingscote. You can catch all the seafood you can eat.

A great 54cm Salmon Matt caught at Hanson Bay

The island is incredible and nothing like what you experience anywhere on the mainland.

There’s no roundabouts, no traffic lights. You can find the most spectacular beaches and be the only person there.

Kangaroo Island Spirits distillery.

The island is generally free of rubbish and the wildlife is in abundance. Rules and Laws are just that little more relaxed. I’m not saying become unlawful, but it feels like back in the 60’s and 70’s where if you got in trouble you’d get a kick up the backside rather than today’s heavy handed solutions. Not saying it is that way, it just feels like it is.

Internet coverage is hit and miss. Sometimes it’s there and other times you just have to switch off and be in the moment. You know, like we used to do before 1990’s.

View from Remarkable Rocks

An adventure to KI doesn’t come cheap but spend time there and you’ll fall in love just as we did and then it’ll be worth it. The people of Kangaroo Island are so friendly, so helpful and so happy.

Don’t be put off by the cost if you can and if you do choose to go, let go of what you paid to get there and enjoy KI for everything it has to offer.


We recommend a minimum of 5 nights, ideally 10-14 nights. Our stay was 12 nights and we could easily have stayed longer.

It’s raw, it’s untouched and we highly recommend a visit to South Australia’s incredible Kangaroo Island.

Have you visited KI? Tell us about your time there.


Kev & Adele

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