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Travel to Kangaroo Island with SeaLink

Home > Adelaide > Escape the City | Family | Fun Things To Do | Long Weekend | Travel
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published January 26th 2017
45 Minutes and You're There
My 2017 started off in great style with my first ever visit to Kangaroo Island. I was born in South Australia and have lived all of my life here and have never visited KI until this year. Even I find that hard to believe!

SeaLink Ferry Kangaroo Island
SeaLink Ferry, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island (Špaula mcmanus)

I was already booked to go to KI on the 2nd January and join my photographer friend there for a few days. But, a phone call from her on New Years Day saw a last minute change of plans happen (I love last minute plans!). A quick phone call to the SeaLink call centre and my booking was changed at no charge and my revised ticket was emailed to me within minutes. Such fantastic customer service!

Within an hour I was packed and in the car and heading south to Cape Jervis, a small town on the bottom of the Fleurieu Peninsula - a popular fishing spot and known mostly as the ferry crossing point for the Island.

SeaLink Ferry Kangaroo Island
SeaLink Ferry, Cape Jervis (Špaula mcmanus)

The drive to Cape Jervis took about 2 hours and the scenery all the way is simply to die for. It's a hard drive to do when you're on a deadline - the temptation to stop and explore every township is quite overwhelming - but I pressed on with the promise of a return visit to the Fleurieu and their beautiful landscapes, got to the bottom end of the Peninsula and checked myself into the ferry terminal for the crossing.

My car was also checked in. There's a secure carpark near the terminal which is locked up at night, ensuring that my car would be safe while I was away. The charge is reasonable and one that'd I would definitely recommend if you are not taking your car over on the ferry.

SeaLink Ferry Kangaroo Island
SeaLink Ferry, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island (Špaula mcmanus)

I took a couple of Kwells, boarded the ferry and then settled in at a window seat at the front of the boat. Backstairs Passage is a notoriously rough stretch of water and has quite a reputation for seasickness - I was a little nervous as I'm not the best sailor. As it turns out, I didn't need the nausea tablets at all - the boat travelled through the water smoothly with very little disturbance to the passenger comfort. People around me were eating and drinking food from the onboard cafe, playing games, talking and generally enjoying the ride. I even managed to check Facebook and send text messages to family and friends. I can't guarantee that every crossing is smooth and comfortable, but both of my trips were stable and problem free.

The ferry ride to and from Kangaroo Island takes approximately 45 minutes. The boat arrives and leaves KI from Penneshaw, the island's main ferry port. It's a pretty coastal town on the east side of the island.

SeaLink Ferry Kangaroo Island
SeaLink Ferry, Cape Jervis (Špaula mcmanus)

Penneshaw is a town that's worth exploring if you have time before or after your boat ride.Or, even stay a day or two in. The beaches are beautiful and the views from the town's elevated position are just glorious. The town plays a big role in our state's history too - it's where French explorer Nicolas Baudin carved the details of his 1803 expedition into a rock on the beach. The area is also home to a colony of Fairy (Little) Penguins.

At the end of my 5-day stay and back in Penneshaw for the ferry ride home, I headed to the top deck and watched with much fascination as cars, trucks, campervans and caravans were loaded onto the ferry and packed in with absolute precision. It was amazing to watch and I was in awe of the efficiency of those who assist the drivers to get onto the boat.

I had a wonderful first time on Kangaroo Island and hope to get back there again in the not-too-distant future. And, next time I'll be taking the ferry again. Kangaroo Island is such a great holiday destination and one that all South Australian's simply must do - at least once in their lifetime! Just don't leave it as long as I did for you to make your first visit.

SeaLink Ferry Kangaroo Island
SeaLink Ferry (Špaula mcmanus)
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Why? Visit South Australia's largest island
When: every day, except Christmas Day
Phone: 13 13 01
Where: Kangaroo Island
Cost: check their website for all the prices
Your Comment
Congratulations winning third place.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12528) 1102 days ago
It is interesting the attitude we have to local attractions, isn't it? It took Pete Dobré commenting that international tourists like to see the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney (Opera House, Harbour Bridge) and Kangaroo Island, that made me think well perhaps we should also see this third location that is also the closest!
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4145) 1095 days ago
Nice work on the images in the article
by RC (score: 3|1221) 1115 days ago
Congratulations Paula, stunning photos as usual!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1362) 1102 days ago
I Notice you didn't mention the pricing !?
by brisb (score: 0|7) 1112 days ago
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