Information correct as at 4:00pm 07/01/2020
As a result of the Kangaroo Island bushfires that started on the 3rd January, 2020, the western end of the island has been largely impacted. However, Kangaroo Island is a large island, so large in fact that it’s six times the size of Singapore with 4,405 square kilometres of land. Much of the island is open, accessible and as it has always been. So we’ve put together a guide on what is closed, open, alternative places to stay and see by those places now closed and of course useful resources to help you plan.
The island relies on both agriculture and tourism to survive and sadly both these areas have been impacted the most. This means their economy, now more than ever, needs the cash injection from visitors and holiday makers like you to keep them afloat. Sadly, so many people have already cancelled their bookings which aren’t until much later in the year, however as you’ll see from the map and information below, there is so much of the island that remains unaffected. It’s exactly as it always has been, pristine and as pure. You can still expect to see incredible landscapes, turquoise beaches, enjoy wildlife encounters, meet locals, see rolling hills and enjoy a tour with guides that know the island like the back of their hand. Please note, that there is still a fire burning on the island, however as at 1pm 07/01/02020 the CFS advise message is that there is no threat to the public as the fire front is burning west of Vivonne Bay to the North Coast at Stokes Bay, and West of Parndana.
Where to get the most up to date information?
Like with any natural disaster, we encourage you to please check conditions before you go in case conditions have changed since the time of this being published. This article is to be used as a guide only. We will endeavour to update this page as the island recovers and rebuilds, however please check the following sites first and monitor them when you’re on the island. If you’re unsure, ring ahead to your tourism operator for on-the-ground, live updates. The island has limited phone coverage and with phone towers damaged or down, it’s important you do all this research BEFORE you go. Chances are you won’t have reception unless you are in Kingscote or Penneshaw. A good idea, in these conditions, is to carry a UHF two-way radio in the unlikely event you are out of range and need to communicate with emergency services. We also recommend that you have water, snacks and if you’re travelling long distances fuel; you can never be too safe or too prepared.
CFS (Country Fire Service)
Please check with the CFS for the most accurate Kangaroo Island warnings that may be in place. These warnings include any potential threats to property or public safety or events.
Traffic SA Road Closures
Check the current road closures on Kangaroo Island. When you’re on the road and see a ‘road closed’ sign, this is a serious notification. Often, you’ll notice your car can still get through, however it’s a safety warning that needs to be respected. Often trees are still falling after a bushfire and these can fall over without a moment’s notice. The roads may have injured or deceased livestock or wildlife, and of course, these roads need to remain free for emergency services.
The Bureau of Meteorology
Check the weather before you go on Kangaroo Island as there may be upcoming days that look too uncomfortable or dangerous to travel. There may also be days of complete fire bans or high fire danger which is when everyone needs to remain on high alert and vigilant.
Tune in to the local ABC radio 891AM, FIVEaa or 5KIx FM 90.7
Download the AlertsSA app which shows timely, relevant bushfire information to the South Australian community for the 2019-2020 bushfire season.
Bushfire Information Hotline
1800 362 361
What Kangaroo Island tourism businesses and areas are closed and what alternatives do you suggest?
Due to the bushfires on Kangaroo Island the following businesses have either closed or have been devastated by their impact and are not trading until further notice. If you had bookings or were planning to book with the operators who have been impacted by the fires, we have provided alternatives for you to consider. In general, the western part of Kangaroo Island is closed. Please use our map and information outlined below to help you plan your up coming trip to Kangaroo Island. You can also download this map for ease. You can also reference the interactive Kangaroo Island Map which is also being updated daily with information. It’s a great visual to help plan and map out your journey.
- Flinders Chase National Park including
a. Admirals Arch
b. Remarkable Rocks
c. Visitor Information Centre and The Chase Café
- Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
- Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kelly Hill Conservation Park
- Cape Borda Lighthouse
Wildlife park alternatives that are open:
- Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
- Raptor Domain
- Seal Bay
- Private or group wildlife tours with the tour operators outlined below
- Little Sahara
Other areas of interest that are open:
- Emu Bay and Bay of Shoals: beaches, wild dolphins, lavender farm, food truck
- Antechamber Bay: beaches, False Cape Wines, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, Sunset Food and Wine
- Penneshaw: beaches, Millie Mae’s Pantry, accommodation, views, wineries, township
- Cygnet River: Kangaroo Island Spirits, Kangaroo Island Brewery, The Islander Estate Winery
- Kingscote: township, Cactus Café, Amadio Wines
- Dudley Peninsula: Brown Beach, Island Beach, American River, The Oyster Farm Shop, Pennington Bay, Beach Barrister.
1. SeaLink Tours – temporarily not running until further notice. Please refer to the Sealink website for up to date information.
2. Tranquil Travel – temporarily closed until further notice.
Tour operator alternatives that are open:
1. Exceptional Kangaroo Island
2. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours
3. Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures
4. Kangaroo Island Ocean Safaris
- Southern Ocean Lodge
- Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Cabins
- Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat
- Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park
Open but with revised business operations due to road closures:
- Lifetime Private Retreats
- Kangaroo Beach Lodges
- Middle River
Accommodation alternatives to Southern Ocean Lodge that are open:
- One KI – Island Beach
- Hamilton & Dune – Emu Bay
- Lifetime Private Retreats – Snellings Beach
- Kangaroo Beach Lodges – Kangaroo Beach
- Ecopia – middle of KI
- Stowaway – Stokes Bay
- Oceanview Eco Villas – American River
- Copperstone – Emu Bay
- Sea Dragon – Antechamber Bay
- Middle River – Middle River
- D’Estrees Bay Beach House – d’Estrees Bay
- Glasshouse – Island Beach
Accommodation alternatives to Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park that are open:
- Kangaroo Island Seafront Holiday Park
- Kingscote Tourist Park
- Kangaroo Island Cabins – Kingscote
- Discovery Lagoon campground – Emu Bay
- Kangaroo Island Holiday Village – Kingscote
Other Kangaroo Island accommodation alternatives that are open:
- All accommodation in American River including Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge
- All accommodation in Emu Bay and Island Beach
- All accommodation in Kingscote including Aurora Ozone Hotel
- All accommodation in Penneshaw including Kangaroo Island Seafront and Penneshaw Motel
How do I get to Kangaroo Island?
Thankfully all services are continuing with their normal services to help get tourists to and from the island. Please see the following operators that operate flights and ferry services to Kangaroo Island.
- SeaLink Ferry – operate multiple ferry services a day between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. It’s a 45-minute journey and can transport people, cars, caravans, campervans, cargo and freight.
- KI Connect – operate a fast passenger-only ferry between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. They also offer car, van and campervan hire in Penneshaw.
- QantasLink – operate direct flights from Adelaide five times a week during summer and three times a week direct from Melbourne.
- Rex – operate multiple daily services direct from Adelaide to Kingscote.
This list of tourism operators and places will be updated when more information becomes available.
We would like to thank everyone who has kept their bookings or is planning to book. The island needs the tourism industry’s support to help them rebuild their economy and livelihoods.