As the island’s largest town and main commercial hub, Kingscote is the gateway to Kangaroo Island and the starting point for many island tours and day trips. Perched on the northeast coast, it’s a lively town with a rich history—founded in 1836, Kingscote was the first European settlement in South Australia and the original state capital.
Kingscote’s highlights can easily be taken in on foot, starting with a walk along the coast to the Reeves Point Heritage site, where the Hope Museum tells the story of the original settlers. Take a stroll around the harbor, where pelicans and Little Penguins can be spotted along the shore, then head into the center to browse the shops or admire local handicrafts at the Kangaroo Island Art Gallery.
Kingscote is also often included on food and wine tasting tours of the island and is home to some of the island’s most popular artisan food producers. Enjoy wine tasting at Bay of Shoals Wines, visit the Emu Bay Lavender Farm or Clifford’s Honey Farm, or sample local brews at the Kangaroo Island Brewery.
Things to know before you go
- Many Kangaroo Island tours depart from Kingscote.
- Kingscote has a number of hotels, restaurants, shops, and cafés, as well as a gas station and supermarket.
- The town is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
How to get there
Kingscote is located on the north-eastern coast of Kangaroo Island, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Penneshaw. If you’re arriving on the island by ferry, it’s about a 40-minute drive from Penneshaw port, or you can take the SeaLink shuttle bus. Planes fly from Adelaide to Kingscote airport (a 30-minute flight). Car rental is available from the airport or else you’ll need to prebook a shuttle transfer. In general, getting around on Kangaroo Island is best done by car or by joining a guided tour.
When to get there
Kingscote can get busy in the summer months, so be sure to book accommodation and tours in advance. Most shops, restaurants, and other attractions are closed on Sundays, and it’s worth checking opening hours in the low season.
Things to Do on Kangaroo Island
Kingscote is an ideal basecamp for exploring Kangaroo Island’s scenic coastline and abundant wildlife. Take a 4WD excursion around the Flinders Chase National Park, where you can visit the Cape Borda Lighthouse and admire natural landmarks including Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Follow the Koala Walk at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to spot wild koalas and kangaroos in their natural environment, stop at Seal Bay to see the Australian fur seals, then take a stroll along the white-sand beaches of Vivonne Bay.