Where Is Kangaroo Island?

The question "Where is Kangaroo Island?" can be answered in many ways. Kangaroo Island is located 14 kilometres (9 miles) off the South Australian coast, just a short 20 minute flight from Adelaide Airport (ADL). Currently, QantasLink services Kingscote Airport (KGC) with daily flights available. Most of our guests fly for convenience.

From A Physical Perspective

Kangaroo Island is located 14 km (9 miles) from the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, separated by a narrow strait called Backstairs Passage. Further west the Investigator Strait separates the north coast from the Yorke Peninsula and far to the west, is Eyre Peninsula.

Located 36 degrees south of the Equator, this places it on the same parallel as Malta, Gibraltar, Nashville, Monterey, or Nagano, Japan in the Northern Hemisphere. It has the only north-facing beaches at this latitude. To the south is the high-energy, cold Southern Ocean and north are two relatively warm, protected shallow gulfs. The final taper of the tropical Leeuwin Current comes in from the west. All of this results in a weather pattern and marine environment which is globally unique. Recent ocean surveys discovered many marine plants and animals never recorded by science.

Map of australia showing kangaroo island

From A Climatic Perspective

Climatically the two significant drivers are: cool, moist air from the Southern Ocean which keeps things fresh with any winds out of the south; and the Outback to our north brings warm to hot, dry air with any winds from that quarter. Cool changes from low-pressure systems provide climatic variation. In summer (Dec – Feb) cool changes are mild, less frequent and centred well to our south; and in winter (Jun – Aug), are more intense, higher frequency, and often centred much closer to the mainland.

From A Geological Perspective

Geologically, the Island is an extension of the adjacent Fleurieu Peninsula and shares many characteristics with the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges to the north. Terrestrial plants and animals have close relationships with the adjoining mainland but also share some species and key groups with the south-west of Western Australia and Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria.

From An Indigenous Perspective

This is an interesting one. At least three Aboriginal groups (Kaurna, Narungga, and Ngarrindjeri) maintain an active cultural reference to Kangaroo Island, and there is plenty of evidence of a long pre-contact occupation of Kangaroo Island. However, no-one remained on the island at the time of European exploration in 1802. The Indigenous interest in Kangaroo Island from both a spiritual and physical perspective remains strong.

From A Political Perspective

Politically Kangaroo Island is part of South Australia, and it forms part of a broader electorate for both the Federal and State Governments. From a Local Government perspective, the Island has its’ own autonomy – the Kangaroo Island Council. Despite the triple layer of governance, Islanders retain a strong sense of independence. Investigations into allegations of smuggling in 1843 found Islanders had little regard for distance bureaucracy. It seems nothing has changed!

More About Kangaroo Island

Tammar wallaby

Kangaroo Island Wildlife

Learn about our incredible Kangaroo Island wildlife. This island is home to a large range of wildlife species & 260+ bird species.
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Kangaroo Island Weather & Climate

Before you visit Kangaroo Island, make sure you're aware of the weather conditions to expect. Kangaroo Island is a beautiful place to visit year-round, but it is important to pack accordingly.​
Backroads of kangaroo island

Getting to Kangaroo Island

Find out about the best ways of getting to Kangaroo Island with our easy guide. Choose to take a quick 20 minute flight, or take the ferry. Interstate and international access tips included.
Cape du couedic lighthouse on kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island History

Learn about the fascinating history of Kangaroo Island, including both Indigenous history and the more recent European discovery.