Trip essentials

Trip essentials

Trip prepa­ra­tion

A lit­tle research and plan­ning can trans­form the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail from a great walk into the walk of a lifetime.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Accom­mo­da­tion pri­or to and after the walk 

The Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail com­mences in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park and con­cludes in Kel­ly Hill Con­ser­va­tion Park. Both parks are locat­ed at the west­ern end of the island, approx­i­mate­ly 1.5 to 2 hours from the fer­ry and air­port arrival/​departure points.

Allow plen­ty of time to get to the island and the start of the walk, as well as the return jour­ney. We rec­om­mend book­ing a night’s accom­mo­da­tion close to the trail the day before you plan to start the walk and on the final day of the walk. That way you can kick things off with plen­ty of day­light hours ahead of you and fin­ish the walk with time to explore the won­ders of Kel­ly Hill Caves before indulging in the lux­u­ry of a hot show­er and soft bed. 

Her­itage accom­mo­da­tion and camp­ing is avail­able with­in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park or vis­it Kan­ga­roo Island Tourism for oth­er accom­mo­da­tion options close to the trail. 

Advance book­ings are essen­tial.

Camp­ing on the trail

There are four ded­i­cat­ed overnight camp­ing areas along the trail (Cup Gum, Hakea, Banksia and Tea Tree).

Each camp­ground offers pad or plat­form based tent camp­ing, uni­sex toi­lets, shel­ter for food prepa­ra­tion and cook­ing, fil­tered rain­wa­ter, boot clean­ing sta­tions to reduce the risk of spread­ing Pc, and basic camp fur­ni­ture for your comfort.

Inde­pen­dent walk­ers are required to pro­vide their own tent, cook­ing equip­ment and sleep­ing equip­ment. See our pack­ing list for ideas on what to take. 

Accom­mo­da­tion off the trail

If camp­ing is not your thing, accom­mo­da­tion options to stay off trail are avail­able through com­mer­cial tourism oper­a­tors. For infor­ma­tion on the var­i­ous options avail­able vis­it Kan­ga­roo Island Tourism. Advance book­ings are essential.


Toi­lets are locat­ed at every camp­site, Cape du Couedic light­house and Remark­able Rocks. Please use these facil­i­ties when­ev­er possible


All rub­bish must be car­ried out of the park, includ­ing organ­ic scraps, used match­es, adhe­sive ban­dages, teabags, san­i­tary prod­ucts, cig­a­rette butts and unwant­ed cloth­ing. Please take care not to drop any­thing and keep our parks beau­ti­ful by pick­ing up any rub­bish you see.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Know before you go

It is impor­tant to plan and pre­pare for your trip so that your Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail walk is safe and enjoy­able. Here are a few guide­lines that will help you to make the most of your experience:

  1. Plan your trip – book your trip well in advance, includ­ing your accom­mo­da­tion, trans­port and trans­fers to and from the start and end of the trail. Study maps and route guides ahead of the walk. The Wilder­ness Trail is a Class 4 hike and allows you to explore and dis­cov­er nat­ur­al envi­ron­ments along defined and dis­tinct tracks. You need to be self-reliant, par­tic­u­lar­ly in regards to emer­gency first aid and pos­si­ble weath­er haz­ards which may affect your nav­i­ga­tion and safety.
  2. Know your lim­its – a good lev­el of fit­ness is required to walk the trail. You can expect to walk between 3.5 and 6.5 hours a day. This will also depend on your fit­ness lev­el, weath­er con­di­tions, how much weight you are car­ry­ing, and how long you stop for wildlife view­ing and rest breaks. For your own safe­ty, be will­ing to seek assis­tance if the walk is more dif­fi­cult than expected.
  3. Be pre­pared – take cloth­ing and equip­ment to suit change­able weath­er and track con­di­tions. Pack all your own food (includ­ing an extra day’s worth) and first day’s water supply.
  4. Share your plan – make sure you let a reli­able per­son know your plans before you go, includ­ing what to do if you fail to return as planned. 
  5. Safe­ty in num­bers – walk with a com­pan­ion or a num­ber of friends wher­ev­er possible.
  6. Be aware of the weath­er – weath­er on the trail is change­able and cer­tain times of the year have a high­er risk of bush­fire and dan­ger­ous ocean con­di­tions. Be aware of the dan­gers and check the fore­cast and weath­er warn­ings before you go. Depend­ing on the con­di­tions, you may need to change or adapt your itin­er­ary. Vis­it the Bureau of Mete­o­rol­o­gy for the lat­est weath­er updates.
National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Trip prepa­ra­tion


The best time to go is March to Novem­ber but every sea­son offers some­thing dif­fer­ent on the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail, so no mat­ter what time of year you vis­it you’re sure to have an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence. Why not plan your trip around some of these sea­son­al highlights:

  • Spring (Sep­tem­ber — Novem­ber): the sea­son of rebirth and a won­der­ful time to see the island’s spec­tac­u­lar array of wild­flow­ers, birds and mam­mals, includ­ing Cape Bar­ren Geese nest­ing in native grass­es to incu­bate their eggs.
  • Sum­mer (Decem­ber – Feb­ru­ary): wildlife retreats to bush­land habi­tat to shel­ter dur­ing the heat of the day, sum­mer wild­flow­ers and the new growth of native trees add colour to the land­scape, fur seals start to breed and cool sea breezes pro­vide relief on hot days.
  • Autumn (March – May): a time of tran­si­tion with mod­est rain­fall bring­ing water­ways back to life and pro­vid­ing new growth for wildlife to feed on, new­born seal pups make their debut in the colonies along the coast and sea winds are calmer.
  • Win­ter (June – August): orchids and fun­gi are pro­lif­ic, rivers are flow­ing, win­ter swells crash into tow­er­ing cliffs pro­vid­ing a breath­tak­ing spec­ta­cle, echid­nas form mat­ing trains’ where up to eight males fol­low a female around, majes­tic South­ern Right Whales pass the shores and high rain­fall pro­duces lush, green veg­e­ta­tion. The months of Octo­ber through to March also offer the longest day­light hours. For more infor­ma­tion on sea­son­al high­lights (and chal­lenges!) refer to our Sea­son­al High­lights fact sheet.


The weath­er on Kan­ga­roo Island is vari­able year round and changes in tem­per­a­ture and con­di­tions can occur sud­den­ly and with­out much warn­ing giv­en the island’s exposed loca­tion. You’re like­ly to expe­ri­ence a bit of every­thing on the walk – sun­shine, wind and rain. Hot con­di­tions can be expe­ri­enced over summer.


A good lev­el of fit­ness is required to walk the trail. You can expect to walk between 3.5 and 6.5 hours a day not includ­ing time for side trips. Walk dura­tions will also depend on your fit­ness lev­el, weath­er con­di­tions, how much weight you are car­ry­ing, and how long you stop for wildlife view­ing and rest breaks. If you need to build up your lev­el of fit­ness pri­or to the walk, we rec­om­mend start­ing with a 30 minute dai­ly walk and build­ing up to 6.5 hours. Be sure to tri­al walk­ing with the pack you intend to take so that you feel ful­ly prepared.

Equip­ment checklist

Pack­ing the right equip­ment will help you to have a great expe­ri­ence on the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail. When decid­ing what gear to take remem­ber that you are like­ly to expe­ri­ence a vari­ety of weath­er con­di­tions on the trail, so you’ll need to be pre­pared for both sun­ny and calm con­di­tions as well as wet and windy weath­er. Opt for high qual­i­ty, light­weight options wher­ev­er pos­si­ble as the lighter you pack, the more com­fort­able your walk­ing expe­ri­ence will be.

We’ve made things easy by prepar­ing a pack­ing list with all of your essentials.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Ways to get here

Kan­ga­roo Island is just 35 min­utes by air from Ade­laide Air­port to Kingscote on Kan­ga­roo Island, or 2.5 hours by coach plus 1 hour by fer­ry from Ade­laide. It’s then a 1.5 to 2 hour dri­ve to the start of the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park.

When plan­ning your trav­el arrange­ments we rec­om­mend leav­ing plen­ty of time for reg­is­tra­tion and ori­en­ta­tion and that you are ready to start your walk by 10am to ensure you make the camp­site before nightfall.

Get­ting to and from the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail

  • By car — You can trav­el in the com­fort of your own vehi­cle from the main­land via the Sealink fer­ry and then on to Flinders Chase Nation­al Park, or you can pick up a rental car from Kingscote, Kingscote Air­port or Pen­neshaw. Lim­it­ed num­bers of cars are avail­able for hire on the island so advance book­ings are rec­om­mend­ed. A des­ig­nat­ed car park­ing area will be avail­able at Flinders Chase Nation­al Park Vis­i­tor Cen­tre for inde­pen­dent walkers.
  • Kan­ga­roo Island Trans­fers Arrivals/​Departure — If you arrive by fer­ry or air you will require a trans­fer to and from the Wilder­ness Trail. Kan­ga­roo Island Trans­fers ser­vice departs from Pen­neshaw Fer­ry and/​or Kingscote/​Airport dai­ly. Con­tact them on 0427 887 575 or Kan­ga­roo Island Trans­fers to book.
  • Inter­nal trans­fer — If required a dai­ly bus from the end of the trail at Kel­ly Hill Caves back to the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre will be avail­able. Book­ings are essen­tial and can be arranged when book­ing your walk. For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre on (+61 8) 8553 4410.

Get­ting to and around Kan­ga­roo Island

  • By air – Qan­tas offer flights between Ade­laide and Kan­ga­roo Island (Kingscote). Vis­it their web­site for full details. 
  • By fer­ry — Kan­ga­roo Island’s vehi­cle and pas­sen­ger fer­ry ser­vice, Sealink, oper­ates dai­ly (except for Christ­mas Day) between Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Penin­su­la (two hours’ dri­ve south of Ade­laide) and Pen­neshaw, Kan­ga­roo Island. There are four depar­tures per day, with addi­tion­al ser­vices dur­ing peak times. Book­ings are nec­es­sary. Trav­el­ling time is a com­fort­able 45 min­utes. Vis­it the Sealink web­siteor call 13 13 01 (+61 8 8202 8688 from over­seas) for book­ings and more information.
  • Dri­ving + fer­ry - Enjoy the leisure­ly 1.5 to 2 hour dri­ve from Ade­laide to Cape Jervis fer­ry ter­mi­nal through the Fleurieu Penin­su­la. You will need to arrive at least half an hour pri­or to depar­ture of the fer­ry for pas­sen­ger check-in and vehi­cle load­ing, so it is best to allow 2.5 hours from Ade­laide pri­or to your sched­uled depar­ture to ensure a relaxed dri­ve and ade­quate time to check-in.
  • By coach — Soak up the win­dow views all the way – book a bus seat. Main­land coach return con­nec­tions are avail­able twice dai­ly to and from Ade­laide and Gool­wa to Cape Jervis to meet up with Sealink fer­ries. Vis­it the Sealink web­siteor call 13 13 01 (+61 8 8202 8688 from over­seas) for book­ings and more information.

You can find out all about how to get to and around Kan­ga­roo Island by vis­it­ing the Tour Kan­ga­roo Island web­site.