If you’re planning a holiday to Kangaroo Island or just wondering what you can do here, I’ve collated a list of the 10 best things to do on Kangaroo Island that I always share with my guests staying at our luxury boutique retreat.
The beauty of Kangaroo Island is there is something for everyone, from nature lovers to the foodies, we’ve curated some of the best Aussie experiences there are. Vibrant landscapes, world-class produce and outdoor adventures are on your doorstep – you’ll need longer than you think!
1. Admirals Arch
Admirals Arch frames ocean views (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
This fantastic natural feature is located in the Flinders Chase National Park at the western end of the island. Admirals Arch is not only spectacular to look at but is also home to hundreds of long-nosed fur seals and the occasional Australian Sea Lion. This colony of seals, is one of the largest on the island and pups are often seen playing in the rockpools. During winter, whales are regular visitors.
Access to the Arch is a 15-minute walk from the car park along a timber boardwalk that is also wheelchair friendly. When you leave the Arch, make sure you call in and have a quick look at Weir’s Cove. It’s where the first lighthouse keepers lived and is not only interesting from a historical perspective but also offers spectacular coastal scenery. The Arch is a 2-hour drive from Sea Dragon Lodge, you can visit the Arch on our bespoke 4WD tours.
2. Remarkable Rocks
The natural sculptures of the Remarkable Rocks (Credit: Ben Goode)
Located just 10 minutes from Admirals Arch is one of the Island’s most infamous natural features – the Remarkable Rocks. The unusual shapes were formed by hundreds of millions of years of erosion, resulting in a surreal sight. I describe it as being the “love child of Mother Nature and Salvador Dali”.
It is fascinating to see what wind and rain can do to granite given enough time and the results are a photographer’s dream. Access to Remarkable Rocks is a 10-minute walk along a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk. Please note the warning markers on the ocean side of the rocks and do not venture past these for your own safety.
3. Cape Willoughby Lighthouse & Devils Kitchen
Eagle Eye view of Cape Willoughby and the Lighthouse (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
Cape Willoughby Lighthouse is the oldest in South Australia and once played an important role in the state’s shipping trade. It was built to assist the safe journey of ships passing through the treacherous stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage.
The tower took over two years to construct and the workers lived in tents during this time. It was officially opened in January 1852 and manned 24 hours a day by 3 lighthouse keepers who lived there with their families. Tours that include a climb to the top of the lighthouse, are conducted on most days. The views from the top of the lighthouse are sensational and a must-see during your visit to Kangaroo Island.
Devil’s Kitchen is located about 150 metres to the east of the lighthouse and is a spectacular formation in the granite cliffs. It is particularly awesome when large southerly swells crash into it during a storm. The Lighthouse and Devil’s Kitchen are only a 30-minute walk from Sea Dragon Lodge.
4. Wildlife Walk on Sea Dragon Lodge
Enjoy wildlife walks on the 250-acre beachfront property (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
Sea Dragon Lodge is a 250-acre seafront estate covered extensively by natural bushland. As a result, wildlife abounds and can be seen every day at any time of the year. There are several walks on the property, ranging from 10 minutes to an hour and guests regularly see Kangaroos, Wallabies, Echidnas, Goannas, Eagles and hundreds of smaller birds.
The best time of day to see the wildlife is before breakfast or when you return home from a day of touring, before sunset.
The wildlife on Sea Dragon Lodge estate is all wild and living in their natural environment, we do not feed the animals. There are many opportunities for the avid wildlife photographer.
5. Swim or Explore Your Own Private Beach
Unique, private beach access at Pink Bay (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
Sea Dragon Lodge is the only accommodation on Kangaroo Island with private access to its very own secluded beach called Pink Bay. Pink Bay got its name from the pink tinge given to it by the feldspar in the granite boulders. It is one of the few places where you can see kangaroos hopping on the beach and is the perfect spot for a nice glass of wine at sunset.
The very secluded and private nature of the beach has also resulted in a number of marriage proposals being made on the beach.
The beach is sandy and quite safe for swimming. Abundant fish live near the rocks, the thriving sea life makes for interesting snorkelling and if you are into fishing, guests have caught Whiting, Mullet, Tommy Ruffs and Salmon from the rocks and shore.
The beach is about a 2-3 minute walk from all the accommodation at Sea Dragon Lodge.
6. Lunch at the Best Cellar Door on Kangaroo Island
Wine and Dine on the deck at Dudley Wines Cellar Door (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
Dudley Wines Cellar Door, in my view, has one of the most spectacular settings of any cellar door in South Australia and is by far the best on Kangaroo Island. They make a good range of red, white and bubbly wines, all of which you can taste for free or enjoy a delicious meal featuring local produce. For the ultimate clifftop dining experience try their gourmet pizzas or buckets of fresh South Australian prawns. Our favourite wine is the Sparkling Shiraz, very refreshing on a warm day.
On the first Sunday of every month, they have their Savvy Sunday with live, easy listening music playing all afternoon. The large deck is great for al fresco dining in the warmer months and there is a large lawned area for the kids to play.
Dudley Wine Cellars is a 25-minute drive from Sea Dragon Lodge and is open 7 days a week.
7. Lunch at the Best Restaurant on Kangaroo Island
Experience Gastronomo fine dining at The Enchanted Fig Tree (Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission)
The Enchanted Fig Tree Restaurant, operated by Hannaford and Sachs, offers gourmet food in a fairy tale setting. The restaurant itself is a 150-year-old fig tree located near Snellings Beach. Table settings are located amongst the limbs of this ancient tree, with the dense leafy canopy forming the roof overhead. The leaves create a beautiful dappled light that filters through and creates a surreal atmosphere.
The food itself is to die for and includes a sumptuous banquet of exquisite local delicacies. High-quality local wines are also available for purchase. The table service is always exceptional.
The Enchanted Fig Tree is a 1.5-hour drive from Sea Dragon Lodge and the perfect spot for lunch when you are exploring the island’s North Coast. Bookings well in advance are essential. It is open for lunch every day except Monday & Tuesday and generally has 2 sittings.
8. A Stroll Along Pennington Bay
Pennington Bay beach walk (Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission)
Pennington Bay is, without a doubt, my favourite surf beach on Kangaroo Island. Located about 30 minutes drive from Sea Dragon Lodge at the narrowest point on the island, it is a photographer’s dream. In fact, I would think it is the most photographed beach on the island. It is best viewed in the morning when the sun is at the best angle.
On bright sunny days, you can witness a rainbow of colours, a spectacular site year-round. Large Southern Ocean swells regularly frequent this beach and it is a favourite with the local surfers.
If you fancy a bit of beachcombing, then this offers a great walk. After you leave Pennington Bay, try climbing the nearby Prospect Hill Lookout for a 360-degree panoramic view that takes in the Southern Ocean to the south, through to Backstairs Passage in the North.
If you enjoy fresh Oysters, then call into the American River Oyster farm for some of these fresh local delicacies, only 5 minutes from Pennington Bay.
9. A Stroll Along Antechamber Bay & Chapman River
Pristine sand at Antechamber Bay (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
Antechamber Bay is a pristine 3-kilometre beach with iconic white sands and crystal clear waters. It is generally protected from the prevailing southerly winds creating the ideal conditions for a peaceful walk amongst nature. White-bellied Sea Eagles regularly patrol the beach, along with hundreds of seabirds of all varieties.
This is also a favourite spot of mine to go fishing, as we generally anchor less than 50 metres offshore and, along with enjoying the spectacular scenery, we get to bring home a bountiful catch. Chapman River and Lashmar Lagoon lie immediately behind Antechamber Bay and offer some lovely walks, as well as a huge array of birdlife, Kangaroos and Wallabies.
Antechamber Bay is only a 10-minute drive from Sea Dragon Lodge
10. Secret Seals Tour
Close encounters at Seal Bay (Credit: Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas)
“Secret Seals” is a long-nosed fur seal colony located on the rugged south coast of Kangaroo Island, less than a 30-minute drive from Sea Dragon Lodge. It is situated on private property, which means there are no other tourists to spoil the experience.
Many of my guests who have visited “Secret Seals”, rate it as the best wildlife experience they have ever had. It’s as close to a Galapagos style experience as you will find in Australia. You need to be reasonably fit and able to walk down a short, but steep hill to get to the seal colony.
We sit on the rocks above the colony and are able to observe the seals going about their daily business. Occasionally, we will even have an inquisitive pup come up the rocks to check us out!
After watching the seals, enjoy a walk along the 500 million-year-old coastline and then back to enjoy a glass of local KI wine on the clifftop, an experience truly unique to Kangaroo Island. This is a private 3.5-hour tour that departs from Sea Dragon Lodge.