Kangaroo Island

10 best things to do in the 2nd best travel region in the world: Kangaroo Island

Following Kangaroo Island’s award as the second-best region in the world, we’ve rounded up our top 10 picks of the best things to do there.

Kangaroo Island has just been recognised as the second-best region in the world in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 guide. Coming in second after the Western Balkans’, Trans Dinarica Cycling Route and ahead of regions like Tuscany in Italy, Donegal in Ireland and País Vasco in Spain, Kangaroo Island is such an authentic travel experience that’s literally right on our doorstep (and a short ferry ride away!).

After overcoming the tragedy of the 2020 bushfires, Kangaroo Island is ready to introduce the world to its exceptional offerings in 2024. Boasting some of Australia’s most pristine beaches, the region is not just about the sand and the sea—the island is a melting pot of diverse local produce, awe-inspiring natural experiences, and a hotspot for native wildlife.

We’ve got our top 10 picks of the best things to do in Kangaroo Island—proudly named the second-best region in the world! Check out our list below.

The Enchanted Fig Tree by Gastronomo Dining

Located on the North Coast Road of Middle River, The Enchanted Fig Tree offers a restaurant venue unlike any in the world and invites guests to not just dine but partake in a sensory journey rooted deeply in Kangaroo Island’s legacy. 120 years ago, a small fig tree sapling was planted as a food source for the first settlers of Kangaroo Island. Over its years of growth, the tree has now transformed into a mesmerising dining location, boasting colossal, gnarled limbs and shimmering leaves. 

Beyond the tree’s leafy archway, diners will find themselves within a collection of natural ‘living rooms,’ where every morsel served is a feast for the senses inspired by the surrounding landscape, the vibrant local culture, and the island’s rich history. With the dining season opening on November 8th, guests can enjoy dishes from talented Adelaide chef John Stamatakis and specialty drink offerings from Rose Kentish, the mastermind behind Full Circle Spirits.

What: The Enchanted Fig Tree. 
Where: Kangaroo Island, 5995 N Coast Rd, Middle River SA 5223. 
When: The Enchanted Fig Tree season opens for dining on the 8th of November and closes on April 08, 2024.
To book, click here. For more info, visit The Enchanted Fig Tree websiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Kangaroo Island Spirits

Kangaroo Island Spirits is one of Australia’s most consistently awarded gin brands and receives numerous local, national, and international accolades each year—making it a must-visit stop on your Kangaroo Islan to-do list.

Recognised as Australia’s first gin distillery, it was recently recognised at one of the biggest spirits competitions in the world—the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC)—and has been shortlisted for the prestigious International Gin Producer Trophy Award this year as only one of three nominees in the world.

With a $3.5 million revamp of their cellar door and production facilities back in 2021, the location features a range of immersive and interactive tasting experiences for visitors and is the perfect showcase for this award-winning spirits producer.

What: Kangaroo Island Spirits.
Where: 856 Playford Highway, Cygnet River, Kangaroo Island, SA
When: Monday to Sunday, 10:30 am-5:30 pm.
For further info, click here.

Emu Bay Lavender Farm

Kangaroo Island’s famous Lavender Farm at Emu Bay runs over 51 acres of land and has an estimated 7500 lavender plants on the property. Family-owned and operated, the farm is focused on sustainability, with the harvesting of lavender flowers throughout the Summer. The island’s famous Ligurian bees pollinate the lavender flowers and help produce the farm’s signature lavender honey which is featured in their on-site store, along with a bunch of handmade therapeutic products, all made with the distinctive essential oil sourced from the bunches of lavender.

Emu Bay’s Lavender Farm welcomes locals and visitors to the island and is open 7 days a week. Serving breakfast from 9 am and lunch from 12-3 pm, it’s the perfect location to kick back and enjoy the spectacular scenery with a sweet treat or cup of coffee.

What: Emu Bay Lavender Farm.
Where: 205 Emu Bay Rd, Wisanger, Kangaroo Island, SA 5223
When: Monday to Sunday, 9 am-4 pm.
For more info, click here.

Southern Ocean Lodge

It’s been over two years since the devastating bushfires swept through Kangaroo Island, leaving a trail of destruction, including that of the luxury tourist accommodation Southern Ocean Lodge.

After undergoing a huge rebuild, the newly renovated accommodation is set to open its doors this December, with reservations now open for those who want to be one of the first to experience the island’s new, prestigious and luxurious lodge.

The new-look property includes all the features previous guests loved best, along with some considered extras, set for a new era of travel on Kangaroo Island. With the same generous inclusions as the original—all dining, drinks and signature experiences for starters—the new Southern Ocean Lodge also has almost the same footprint as the first, with 25 luxurious guest suites easing along the coastline.

The Lodge will also feature a new ultra-premium Ocean Pavilion, cleverly designed to offer a single owner’s residence or two separate suites to create the ultimate Kangaroo Island hideaway for families and friends travelling together. The Great Room terrace now boasts a wet-edge pool, while spacious new surroundings for the Southern Spa allow for three treatment rooms, a gymnasium, a sauna and hot and cold plunge pools.

What: Southern Ocean Lodge
Where: Hanson Bay Rd, Kingscote SA 5223
When: Re-opening on December 6th, 2023.
For further info and for bookings, click here.

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Seal Bay Conservation Park, a sanctuary on the south coast of Kangaroo Island, houses the third-largest Australian sea lion colony and is one of the most popular tourist spots on the island.

The bay has remained untouched for centuries, allowing these endangered creatures to thrive in their natural habitat, and unlike many tourist spots, Seal Bay avoids using enclosures at the Park. Australian sea lions, exclusive to South Australia and Western Australia, are a rare and endangered species, with a population nearing just 12,000, and Seal Bay hosts the third largest gathering of these magnificent creatures.

Visitors are treated to an intimate yet respectful encounter with the sea lions, guided by seasoned experts who share their profound knowledge of these remarkable animals throughout a variety of tours.

No trip to KI is complete without a visit to the island’s sea lions—with its stunning beauty and unspoiled wilderness, it’s no surprise that Seal Bay is consistently listed as one of South Australia’s top ten tourist destinations.

What: Seal Bay Conservation Park.
Where: Seal Bay Road, Kingscote SA 5223.
When: 9 am — 5 pm dai­ly (except Christ­mas Day) — last entry 4 pm.
For further info, click here.

Kangaroo Island Brewery

Kangaroo Island’s first microbrewery is located just 2 minutes outside the heart of Kingscote and is a great place for the whole family to relax, including furry friends. Try their range of sustainably brewed and seasonal beers, enjoy a glass of wine, or visit on a Friday or Sunday for a handmade pizza.

Founded in 2015, this family-owned brewery has a real rustic yet modern feel to it, with almost all of the materials used in the build of Kangaroo Island Brewery being recycled and with their own unique story. With a huge focus and dedication to sticking to 100% KI originated, with everything from their beer, menu, and the brewery itself, the team at Kangaroo Island Brewery are passionate about sharing the best of Kangaroo Island with both locals and tourists alike.

What: Kangaroo Island Brewery.
Where: 61 N Coast Rd, Kingscote SA 5223.
When: Monday to Thursday, 12-6 pm, Friday, 12-9 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 11 am-7 pm.
For further info, click here.

Raptor Domain

Raptor Domain is perfect for those wanting to get closer to nature on Kangaroo Island, with its unique wildlife experience you can’t easily find in many other places. In fact, it’s home to the only free-flight Birds of Prey presentation in South Australia. 

You can see Raptor Domain’s passion for protecting and conserving birds and reptiles through rescue, rehabilitation, education and research. There are different ways you can get up close and personal with the rescued animals and insects, including a delightful interactive experience with its friendly Barn Owls, Kookaburras, Wedge-tailed Eagles and other birds and reptiles like snakes and lizards.

What: Raptor Domain.
Where: 58 Seal Bay Rd, Seal Bay, SA 5223.
When: Gates open 11 am – 4 pm | Open 10.30 am SA school holidays.
For more info, click here.

Dudley Wines

Dudley Wines is located in Penneshaw, just 12 km from the Sealink Ferry. Proudly family-owned and operated, the winery’s cliff-top cellar door features incredible panoramic views of the big island that you can take in across the Backstairs Passage. With a large selection of wines featuring the Dudley Bubbly—considered a ‘must-try’—visitors can kick back on the back lawn or deck areas whilst enjoying a gourmet platter or delicious pizzas as they sample the winery’s finest drops.

Book a tasting session and experience Dudley’s 14 wine offerings that have all been produced only 15 km from the cellar door. Family-friendly, Dudley Wines also features a fabulous kids’ playground to keep the little ones entertained, and if you are feeling energetic, you can pick up a bucket of golf balls and tee off across the valley at the one-par golf course while you’re there!

What: Dudley Wines.
Where: 153 Cape Willoughby Road, Cuttlefish Bay, 12km from Penneshaw.
When: Open 5 days (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) from 10:30 am-4:30 pm.
For further info, click here.

Swim with dolphins 

Have the opportunity to swim alongside a pod of dolphins or spot cheeky seals lounging on the rocks with Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari’s coastal snorkelling tour. It’s the perfect chance to snorkel along some of KI’s stunning coastline, plus see some amazing wildlife encounters. 

The best part? They provide everything from the wetsuits to masks to the snorkel and fins. 

What: Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari – Swim with Dolphins
Where: Penneshaw, South Australia
For further info, click here.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is a sanctuary showcasing Australia’s native fauna, from mammals and birds to reptiles. You can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s renowned creatures.

The park boasts an impressive 100 species and a population of more than 500 animals and aims to offer visitors a tangible and unforgettable encounter with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife and

The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park ensures a diverse and fulfilling experience for all. Whether you want to see cuddly koalas, slithery snakes, waddling penguins, or kangaroos, the park promises a world of wonder for every age and interest.

What: Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.
Where: 4068 Playford Hwy, Duncan, SA 5223
When: 9.30 am-5 pm (closed Christmas Day and some extreme weather days).
For more info, click here.

Read more about Kangaroo Island’s Lonely Planet Best in Travel recognition here.
For more info about Kangaroo Island, click here.

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