Less than 10 miles off the coast of South Australia lies an epic escape known as Kangaroo Island (or “KI” to locals). Only a 30-minute flight from Adelaide, or a 45-minute Sealink ferry ride from Cape Jervis, the charming destination is just a stone’s throw from the mainland—but somehow still feels worlds away. And although it’s readily accessible, most Australians have never made the pilgrimage (but they’re always quick to mention it’s high on their bucket list).
“Kangaroo Island is a microcosm of Australia when it comes to wildlife and vegetation,” says Nikki Redman, a nature tour guide for Kangaroo Island Odysseys. A visit feels like you’re jumping directly into a David Attenborough docuseries. At 1,700 square miles, KI ranks as Australia’s third-largest island. It’s a lush oasis that condenses so many of the country’s greatest hits into one binge-worthy highlight reel.
The scenery is a stunning combination of native bushland, boundless coastlines, and expansive red dirt roads reminiscent of the Outback. Indigenous wildlife ranges from mobs of wild marsupials to colonies of Australian sea lions sunbathing in the sand. Throw in some innovative brewmasters and distillers, an artisanal culinary scene, and one of the best hotels on the planet, and you can see how Kangaroo Island has managed to perfect the recipe for tourism success.