A cat inside a campervan watching the sunset

Ultimate Guide to Camping on Kangaroo Island: Top Sites & Tips for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Discover the joys of camping on Kangaroo Island with this no-frills guide, which takes you through the top campsites, fees, amenities, and outdoor activities. Whether you fall asleep to the sound of the waves or awake in a serene bushland, you’ll learn where and how to make the most of your adventure. We skip the fluff, providing you with the practical insights for an unforgettable stay amid nature’s marvels.

Key Takeaways

  • Kangaroo Island offers a range of camping options, from beachside bush camps like American River to luxury caravan parks with full amenities. Top sites include Vivonne Bay, Western River, and Emu Bay Campgrounds.
  • Planning a trip to Kangaroo Island involves transport consideration, with ferry rides from Cape Jervis and flights via Qantas. Book in advance to ensure a spot, and check connectivity if staying in touch is essential.
  • When camping on Kangaroo Island, it’s crucial to adhere to local rules and practice sustainability: dispose of waste properly, stick to paths, and follow fire regulations and campground amenities, which may vary from basic to full-service facilities.

Exploring Kangaroo Island’s Campgrounds

A journey across Kangaroo Island reveals many picturesque campgrounds, each boasting unique appeal. Seven campgrounds provide budget-friendly options that range from the rustic charms of bush camping at American River to the gentle lullabies of the ocean at Browns Beach and Stokes Bay.

D’Estrees Bay and Murray Lagoon are fresh additions to the island’s camping landscape. They have unique attractions and facilities that offer adventures that intertwine tradition and novelty. For those interested in history, the coastal pathways leading to the Ironstone Hill Campground reveal more than just natural splendour; they whisper tales of the past through the ruins of Harry Bates’ cottage and a bygone stone-threshing floor. Not far from these sites, on the north coast, Hog Bay Beach awaits, providing an additional option for campers seeking a serene coastal experience.

Vivonne Bay Campground

Situated just a brief distance from the crystal blue waters of Vivonne Bay, Vivonne Bay Campground provides a sanctuary for those craving both leisure and adventure. This camping ground offers various options, including powered and unpowered sites.

The added luxuries of showers and a playground for the little ones, coupled with the convenience of being just a hop, skip, and jump from the sandy beaches and the well-stocked Vivonne Bay General Store, make it a prime spot for an idyllic camping trip.

Western River Campground

A sixty-minute journey from the charming town of Kingscote takes you to the hidden valley haven of the Western River Campground, also known as the Western Ki Caravan Park. This hidden gem offers:

  • Unpowered sites
  • Inviting campers to indulge in a traditional camping experience where the only soundtrack is the symphony of nature
  • It’s a sanctuary where one can truly disconnect and immerse oneself in the tranquil surroundings of the valley.

Emu Bay Campground

Emu Bay is a campground designed to accommodate various camping styles. Whether arriving with a caravan or simply toting a backpack and tent, Emu Bay Campground has you covered with unpowered and caravan sites. Essential facilities such as toilets, picnic areas, and barbecue spots enhance the camping experience, while the picturesque setting provides a serene backdrop for days spent lounging by the water or exploring the clear blue waves at Antechamber Bay Campground.

Journey to Kangaroo Island: Travel Essentials

The excitement starts even before you arrive on Kangaroo Island. With SeaLink ferries charting the waters between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw and QantasLink offering convenient flights to the island’s airport, the journey is just as exciting as the destination. The ferry, with its comfortable lounges and viewing decks, is a maritime escapade in itself, often graced by the playful antics of dolphins or the majestic sight of Southern Right Whales gliding through the Southern Ocean. To avoid delays, book well in advance and prepare for the ferry’s gentle sway if you experiance seasickness.

Caravan Parks vs. Bush Camping

In Kangaroo Island, deciding between caravan parks’ modern luxuries and bush camping’s unrefined charm can be equally difficult and thrilling. The island’s caravan and camping options cater to a variety of preferences. The caravan parks are like small oases, providing an array of accommodations that range from powered sites perfect for caravans to glamping tents that add a touch of luxury to the wilderness. These parks are not just about amenities; they are sanctuaries that offer a break close to nature, often equipped with BBQs and picnic areas.

In contrast, bush campsites strip the camping experience back to its core, offering a deep connection with the island’s secluded or beachside locations, with walking trails that meander through the local ecosystem.

Essential Amenities at Campsites

Whether you prefer the comprehensive conveniences of a caravan park or the minimalist charm of a bush campsite, the basic amenities on Kangaroo Island can significantly enhance your experience. In caravan parks, expect to find well-maintained facilities that include everything from hot showers to fully equipped camp kitchens, ensuring that your basic needs are easily met. For those venturing into the more rustic bush camping sites, you’ll find the essentials covered with BBQ facilities, picnic areas, and toilets. However, it’s wise to note that some sites may offer more simple amenities like coin-operated showers.

Campgrounds such as Vivonne Bay and Duck Lagoon go a step further with additional features like playgrounds and communal areas for socializing and enjoying the great outdoors. The Discovery Lagoon Caravan Park, located nearby, also offers similar amenities for a comfortable stay.

Activities and Attractions Near Campsites

Campgrounds on Kangaroo Island are filled with natural wonders and enriching cultural interactions. Some of the top attractions include Flinders Chase National Park, Seal Bay Conservation Park, Remarkable Rocks, and Admirals Arch. At Flinders Chase National Park, you can walk among the Australian sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park, marvel at the granite formations of Remarkable Rocks, and experience the ocean’s sculpting prowess at Admirals Arch while observing the thriving seal colonies that add to the spectacle.

These south coast attractions are just a short walk from major towns like Kingscote, making them easily reachable from your campsite.

Planning Your Camping Trip: Fees and Regulations

When planning your Kangaroo Island camping trip, consider certain administrative aspects, particularly fees and regulations. For those who prefer to keep things budget-friendly, unpowered campsites cost $25 per night. If you’re looking for a site with more juice, powered sites at council-maintained campgrounds will set you back $35 a night.

The payment process is straightforward, with options ranging from old-school cash deposits in Iron Rangers to the modern convenience of credit card payments at pay stations. For those planning to make regular returns to this idyllic island, an Annual Pass may be just the ticket. But remember, while the island welcomes all, there are rules to abide by, such as the strict no-wood-fire policy in conservation park sites and national parks.

Tips for a Sustainable Stay

Appreciating Kangaroo Island’s breathtaking natural beauty entails a duty to preserve its untouched state. To ensure a sustainable stay, remember to:

  • Dispose of rubbish properly, including food scraps, to protect the local wildlife and environment.
  • Stick to formed paths when exploring the island’s trails to minimize your ecological footprint and leave the landscape untouched.
  • If setting up camp outside of designated areas, choose harder ground to minimize the impact on soft soil and vegetation.

By managing campfires responsibly, using biodegradable products, and respecting the wildlife, your stay will be enjoyable and ecologically sound.

Staying Connected: Tech Considerations

Despite the appeal of disconnecting during camping, maintaining some level of connectivity can be essential for sharing your adventures or simply for reassurance. In the more remote corners of Kangaroo Island, a Telstra SIM card is your best bet for mobile phone reception, ensuring you can call, text, and even upload that perfect sunset shot to social media. It’s a good idea to check in with your mobile supplier for the latest on network coverage before so you’re not caught off guard.

And for those times when you’re truly off the grid, public telephones are scattered across the island, from Penneshaw to Seal Bay, ensuring you’re never completely out of touch.

Accommodations Beyond Tents

The camping experience on Kangaroo Island extends beyond the typical tents and sleeping bags scenario. For those seeking a touch of home in the wilderness, self-contained cabins nestled in tranquil bushland offer a charming retreat complete with all the amenities one might need. Pet lovers can rejoice with pet-friendly accommodations like Kingscote Tourist Park and Family Units, ensuring that your furry friends can join in on the fun at no extra cost.

For the eco-conscious traveller, Eco-Glamping cottages and Eco-Luxury Tents provide an immersive experience in nature without leaving a heavy footprint. With specialized lodging also available for guests with disabilities, Kangaroo Island ensures an inclusive and comfortable stay for all adventurers.


From the rugged cliffs and serene beaches to the whispering eucalyptus forests, Kangaroo Island is a camper’s dream destination, offering diverse experiences. Whether you’re setting up camp under the stars, enjoying modern comforts in a caravan park, or exploring the island’s natural wonders, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast. With careful planning, respect for the environment, and an adventurous spirit, your Kangaroo Island camping trip will surely be an unforgettable journey into the heart of Australia’s wild beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth taking a caravan to Kangaroo Island?

Yes, it’s definitely worth taking a caravan to Kangaroo Island as it offers a comfortable and flexible way to explore the island’s natural beauty and have a relaxing experience. With caravan parks and campgrounds available, you can enjoy the convenience of amenities while immersing yourself in the island’s stunning scenery.

Does Kangaroo Island have a caravan park?

Yes, Kangaroo Island has several caravan parks available for visitors, and they can book ahead at peak times to secure a spot. When transporting campervans aboard the SeaLink ferry from mainland South Australia to the island, it’s important to make advance reservations and specify the length of your vehicle.

Can you have a campfire on Kangaroo Island?

No, open campfires are not permitted during the Fire Ban Season on Kangaroo Island. Instead, it is recommended that you use liquid fuel or gas stoves.

Can I camp in Kangaroo Island?

Yes, you can definitely camp on Kangaroo Island, which has a variety of campgrounds, caravan parks, and glamping options for a tranquil and magical experience.

What are the best ways to travel to Kangaroo Island for camping?

The best way to travel to Kangaroo Island for camping is to take the SeaLink ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw. It’s a good idea to book in advance and be prepared for potential seasickness if traveling by ferry.