Kangaroo Island Facts

kangaroos in kangaroo island

12 Interesting Facts About Kangaroo Island


As Australia’s fourth most visited destination, there are many reasons why tourists visit Kangaroo Island ranging from outstanding beaches and natural scenery, incredible wildlife, artisan food and wine and historical sites.

Read our list of 12 interesting facts about Kangaroo Island:

1.  The island is larger than expected

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island.  It has over 500 kilometres of coastline and is 155 kilometres long from east to west, and 55 kilometres wide.

2.  Locality

Part of the state of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is located 112 kilometres south of Adelaide. It is separated from Yorke Peninsula to the northwest by Investigator Strait, and separated from Fleurieu Peninsula to the northeast by Backstairs Passage.

Most visitors start their journey at the town of Cape Jervis at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula where it’s just a 45-minute ferry trip to the island and its attractions.

3. Different kangaroos

Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island are different than kangaroos found on mainland Australia. They are darker in colour, shorter and have longer fur.

4. Plenty of annual events

Kangaroo Island is not just an island of natural attractions, there are plenty of events held in Kangaroo Island regularly to interest everyone.

Savour local food and wine at FEASTival, pick up a jar of homemade jam or chutney at the Farmers Market held the first Sunday of each month, or dress up in your finest racewear for the Cup Carnival.

5.  An extensive shipwreck history

The coastline surrounding Kangaroo Island is not so fortunate for some marine vessels – shipwreck records began in the mid-19th century and since then more than 80 ships have met their peril and been wrecked.

6.  An Englishman and a Frenchman play important parts in the island history

Kangaroo Island’s first recorded European sighting was by British Captain Matthew Flinders in 1802.  The first European to circumnavigate the island was Frenchman, Nicolas Baudin.

7.  Rare bee population

The island produces honey, and the Ligurian bees that were imported to the island in the 1880’s are the world’s last pure population.

8.  Solitude and tranquillity

Kangaroo Island is a popular tourist destination however it retains a charm you can’t find on the mainland.

You won’t find traffic lights (or traffic jams!), you won’t find large branded fast food outlets and you won’t find internet cafés peppered all over the island.  It’s a fantastic place to appreciate solitude and tranquillity from modern amenities.

9.  Island economy

For an offshore destination, Kangaroo Island tours make inroads with growers, producers and manufacturers across many industries.

Island industry has included salt and gypsum mining, eucalypt oil pressing, agriculture, sheep farming, bee keeping, fishing, viticulture and of course tourism.

10. Historical significance

Kingscote, the largest town on Kangaroo Island, is South Australia’s first official European settlement and was a base in the 19th century for sealers, traders and whalers.

11. Unique wildlife

The island has unique and iconic wildlife such as platypus, Australian sea lions, koalas, kangaroos, Australian and NZ fur seals, echidnas, Rosenburg goannas and penguins.  There is also extensive birdlife with species like honeyeaters and wedge tailed eagles.

12. Protected natural areas

Kangaroo Island is committed to protecting and preserving the natural environment. The island has 5 Wilderness Protection Areas and one third of the island is declared Conservation or National Park.

Book your Kangaroo Island adventure tours today!