How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this scenic region? We’ve got you cov­ered with this 3‑day itinerary.

Wildlife encoun­ters, beach fish­ing, his­tor­i­cal build­ings and hik­ing trails – there’s so much on offer in the nation­al parks of east­ern Kan­ga­roo Island off of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

Ranger Matt Angrave has put togeth­er an itin­er­ary to help you make the most of your next vis­it. Here are his tips:

Where to stay

Before you can get into plan­ning your activ­i­ties, you’ll need to estab­lish where your home base will be, and lucky for you there are plen­ty of options:

Her­itage accom­mo­da­tion at Cape Willough­by Con­ser­va­tion Park

Ever won­dered what it would be like to be a light­house keep­er? Well you’re in luck – you can book a stay in Cape Willoughby’s two light­house keeper’s cottages.

The two cot­tages are locat­ed along the south-west­ern side of the park and are close-by to the Cape Willough­by Lighthouse.

These her­itage-list­ed cot­tages sleep 9 peo­ple each, and offer spa­cious self-con­tained accom­mo­da­tion with large veran­das and scenic views of the coastal land­scape and Cape Willough­by Lighthouse.

Top tip: You can book your stay online up to 12 months in advance.

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island

Chap­man Riv­er and Antecham­ber Bay camp­grounds, Lash­mar Con­ser­va­tion Park

If you’re trav­el­ling to KI with your four-legged best friend, then as the only camp­ground on the east­ern side of the island where you can bring your dog, the Chap­man Riv­er Camp­ground in Lash­mar Con­ser­va­tion Park is the per­fect spot for you. You’ll just need to always keep your dog on a lead no longer than 2 m.

Lash­mar is locat­ed 40 km south-east of Pen­neshaw and is also an ide­al spot for swim­ming, fish­ing and birdwatching.

Pitch your tent or set up your car­a­van or camper trail­er and enjoy the camp­grounds fire pits (out­side of fire dan­ger sea­son), toi­lets, pic­nic shel­ters and gas BBQs.

A new­ly con­struct­ed bridge con­nects the Chap­man Riv­er Camp­ground with the Antecham­ber Bay Campground.

The Antecham­ber Bay Camp­ground boasts bril­liant sea views and has camp­sites suit­able for tents, car­a­vans and camper trail­ers, and is com­plete with toi­lets and pic­nic tables.

Top tip: You can book these camp­sites online up to 12 months in advance.

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island

D’Estrees Bay and Mur­ray Lagoon camp­grounds in Cape Gantheaume Con­ser­va­tion Park

In Cape Gantheaume Con­ser­va­tion Park, on the south-east side of the island, you’ll find 2 new­ly upgrad­ed camp­grounds.

D’Estrees Bay Camp­ground is the per­fect spot for falling asleep and wak­ing up to the sounds of the ocean, with access to the bay from each of the 8 campsites.

There are sites suit­able for tents, camper­vans and car­a­vans, acces­si­ble toi­lets and a pic­nic shelter.

The Mur­ray Lagoon Camp­ground fea­tures a gas bar­be­cue, pic­nic shel­ter, acces­si­ble toi­lets and plen­ty of space for the kids to kick the footy. All that and it’s an ide­al loca­tion for stargaz­ing.

There are 8 camp­sites that are suit­able for tents, car­a­vans and campervans.

Top tip: Book­ings can be made online for both of these camp­grounds, up to 12 months in advance.

Now you’ve got your accom­mo­da­tion sort­ed, let’s get into the fun stuff:

Day 1


Make your way from Ade­laide to Kan­ga­roo Island. If you’re dri­ving, you’ll need to catch the SeaLink fer­ry from Ade­laide to Pen­neshaw, or you can catch a flight from Ade­laide Air­port to Kingscote Air­port.

Once you’re on the island, head to your accom­mo­da­tion or camp­site and get set­tled in.


Now you’re set­tled in, you can get to explor­ing. Start your trip off nice and easy with a vis­it to SA’s first light­house – at Cape Willough­by Con­ser­va­tion Park. You’ll be treat­ed with stun­ning views across the South­ern Ocean.

Take a step back in time and learn what it was like to be a light­sta­tion keep­er at Cape Willough­by on a Light­house Climb Tour.

After your tour, head out on the Cape Willough­by Light­sta­tion Her­itage Hike. The trail is 1.9 km and takes you into the shel­tered gul­ly of the ear­ly 1853 set­tle­ment, where the light keep­ers lived.

Pick up a self-guid­ed walk­ing trail brochure at the Cape Willough­by Light­house Vis­i­tor Cen­tre for infor­ma­tion on the orig­i­nal light­sta­tion set­tle­ment and points of inter­est along the walk­ing trail.

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island


Head back to your accom­mo­da­tion or camp­site and set­tle in for the night. Kan­ga­roo Island’s dis­tance from Ade­laide means there’s lit­tle light pol­lu­tion, so on a clear night you’ll be wit­ness to a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of stars.

Day 2


Start your day off with a guid­ed tour at Seal Bay, on the south­ern edge of the island, where you’ll see Aus­tralian sea lions in their nat­ur­al habitat.

Guid­ed tours run through­out the day, start­ing from 9:15 am, and last for 45 minutes.

On the tour, your expe­ri­enced guide will take you along a board­walk through the dune sys­tem and to the beach. On your way, you might pass a sea lion snooz­ing in the dune sys­tem, or even lying in the mid­dle of the beach path!

Once you’re in the heart of the colony, you’ll learn all about the endan­gered ani­mals from your guide, who’ll give you insight on how these mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures hunt, surf, rest, inter­act with their pups and defend their territory.

To avoid dis­ap­point­ment, be sure to book your tour online before you go.

Once you’ve returned from the guid­ed tour, you can head out along the acces­si­ble board­walk for a self-guid­ed tour where you’ll be able to see the colony and take in the views of the coastline.

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island


You’ve prob­a­bly worked up an appetite by now, so it’s time to have some lunch – we’ve heard that a BBQ at Cape Gantheaume Con­ser­va­tion Park goes down pret­ty well.

Head over to the park and set your­self up for lunch at the new pic­nic and BBQ facil­i­ties locat­ed at Mur­ray Lagoon Camp­ground on the north­ern edge of the park.

How to spend 3 days in the parks of eastern Kangaroo Island

Once you’re all fed, you’ll be ready to stretch your legs on a walk through the park – there are a few options that leave close by to the campground.

The Cur­ley Creek Hike fol­lows an old fire access track that skirts the edge of Mur­ray Lagoon. On your way, you’ll dis­cov­er a large range of birdlife as well as a vari­ety of veg­e­ta­tion communities.

The trail is 11 km return and will take about 4 hours to com­plete. Be sure to head out with enough time to return before night­fall, and take plen­ty of water and snacks.

Alter­na­tive­ly, for some­thing nice and easy, take the Bald Hill Walk that leaves from the same spot. The trail is a short and sweet 1 km return that will take you about 30 min­utes to complete.

On your way, you’ll be treat­ed to spec­tac­u­lar views of Mur­ray Lagoon and will be able to observe a vari­ety of wet­land birds, as they feed from the lagoon.


After a day of walk­ing and wildlife spot­ting, you’ll be pret­ty tuck­ered out. Head back to your camp­site or accom­mo­da­tion for a good night’s rest

Day 3


It’s time to pack up and start say­ing good­bye to the island, but if you’re tak­ing a late fer­ry or flight back to Ade­laide, there’s still a bit of time for exploring.

Head to D’Estrees Bay on the east coast in Cape Gantheaume Con­ser­va­tion Park and cast a line from the beach for a chance to catch mul­let, King George whit­ing, treval­ly and flathead.

If fish­ing isn’t your thing, there are more views to behold in Baudin Con­ser­va­tion Park, on the out­skirts of Pen­neshaw on the east end of the island, along the Iron­stone Hill Hike. The trail is 4 km return and will take you about 1 hour and 30 min­utes to complete.

The trail fol­lows the coast east of Pen­neshaw along a sec­tion of the orig­i­nal bul­lock track to Cape Willough­by, and pro­vides spec­tac­u­lar views across Back­stairs Pas­sage to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Along the trail, you’ll walk through stun­ning sheoak veg­e­ta­tion, where endan­gered glossy black-cock­a­toos can be seen feed­ing on the trees – but be sure to keep your distance.

If you’re vis­it­ing from mid-May to late Octo­ber, you may also be lucky enough to spot a south­ern right whale from one of the many van­tage points along the trail. It’s at this time of year that these spec­tac­u­lar species migrate from sub-Antarc­tic waters to the waters off the SA coast to calve and mate.

Now it’s time to start head­ing home – or if you’ve got a few more days up your sleeve, why not head over to the west­ern side of the island? Check out Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Service’s Nation­al parks of Kan­ga­roo Island’ book­let for more ideas on what to do.

Plan­ning on spend­ing a lot of time in Kan­ga­roo Island’s nation­al parks? The Kan­ga­roo Island Tour Pass might be just the thing for you. Find out more on theNation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice web­site.

Main image: Cape Willough­by Light­house (image cour­tesy of Quentin Chester)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living