1. Is it safe to go back to Kangaroo Island?
Like with any bushfire and bushfire season, it’s important that you keep up to date with the emergency warnings and alerts so you’re aware of any changing conditions. Currently, small fires on Kangaroo Island are still active, however there is no threat to people or properties. The CFS and farm fighting units are controlling spot fires and flare ups in the areas that are not accessible to tourists. 50% of the island has not been affected by the Kangaroo Island bushfire, this is known as the east end. It’s these areas where tourists are encouraged to visit and stay. If you’re travelling to Kangaroo Island you can download the AlertsSA app to keep updated should conditions change, as well as check the CFS website to monitor conditions while you’re on the island.
2. What is the air quality like on Kangaroo Island?
The air quality on Kangaroo Island is almost as pure as you can get. The smoke from the bushfires has dissipated and there is no smoke on Kangaroo Island. There are bright blue skies, pristine oceans and the air is clean. Find out more information about Kangaroo Island’s air quality.
3. What will I see when I get to Kangaroo Island?
The stunning Kangaroo Island you’d expect to see! The east end of Kangaroo Island has not been affected and remains pristine and pure. In these areas you wouldn’t know that the Kangaroo Island bushfires have impacted so much of the western areas of the island. You can still expect spectacular coastal views over rolling plains, abundant wildlife, pristine beaches, wineries and local produce that Kangaroo Island is known and loved for. We have a number of suggested itineraries that will help plan your trip to Kangaroo Island and Adelaide Hills.
4. What is closed on Kangaroo Island?
As a result of the bushfires, there are some attractions and accommodation offerings that have sadly been impacted and are closed until further notice. These include:
1. Flinders Chase National Park including
2. Admirals Arch
3. Remarkable Rocks
4. Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Information Centre and The Chase Café
5. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
6. Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
7. Kelly Hill Conservation Park
8. Cape Borda Lighthouse
9. Southern Ocean Lodge
10. Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Cabins
11. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat
12. Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park
13. Vivonne Bay Lodge
Some areas such as Parndana and Vivonne Bay are not accessible due to road closures. Please respect these road closures so emergency personnel and locals are not interrupted in their relief efforts. You can monitor these road closures on Kangaroo Island as they may change in the coming days and weeks.
5. When will I be able to go to the western end of Kangaroo Island again?
It’s unclear when tourists will be allowed into the western end of Kangaroo Island. As locals, CFS and Army personnel work to assess the damage and start to rebuild, it’s estimated that the region will remain closed for many months. We will update our information as soon as we know, but you can also reference the National Parks SA website.
6. How much wildlife is left on Kangaroo Island after the bushfire?
Kangaroo Island is a big island, so big in fact that it’s six times larger than Singapore. Whilst the sad reality is that a lot of wildlife have perished in the Kangaroo Island bushfires, there are wildlife and habitats across the whole island, including the eastern areas which are open. Kangaroo Island is a mecca for wildlife and you’ll most definitely be able to see a lot in the wild, at the KI Wildlife Park and on tour with a guide. We recommend that you book a tour with one of the tour operators who will be able to show you parts of the island that are not accessible to the public where you’ll get access to habitats for native wildlife which is so exciting to see. We don’t recommend driving between dusk and dawn as goannas, echidnas, kangaroos and wallabies are often crossing the road.
7. Will I be getting in the way of the recovery effort?
You are an important and welcome part of the recovery effort on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills. Locals are welcoming visitors with open arms as it’s vital to these communities in the recovery and rebuild phase. Some operators and accommodation providers are open for business but are in the no-travel zone so travel into these areas may be required if you have booked with these tourism businesses. Please respect the privacy and relief efforts that are in full swing in the western area of Kangaroo Island and do not travel into the no-travel zone unless necessary. View our maps below for this information in detail.
8. Does tourism on Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills really matter when people have lost their livelihoods?
Without a doubt. Kangaroo Island’s biggest industries are tourism and agriculture, both of which have been substantially impacted by the fires. Therefore, the tourism industry and the locals on Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills are campaigning together to encourage people to visit their regions. Every dollar spent in these communities is pumped back into their economy. This allows businesses to re-invest back into their operation so they can sustain the quieter months. The income earned from tourism during summer (their busiest period of the year), helps these businesses survive the quieter, cooler months. If tourists avoid these areas, and worse yet, cancel their forward bookings the outlook is grim both the individual operators and industry.
9. How many places are still open on Kangaroo Island?
A lot! There are more businesses that are open than closed on Kangaroo Island. The variety of things to see and do is vast. From wineries, distillers, honey farms, fishing charters, wildlife tours, to lavender farms, pristine beaches, lighthouses, Seal Bay and incredible accommodation, there’s still so much to see and do over a three or four day itinerary on Kangaroo Island. We have created an interactive map of the tourism businesses that are open on Kangaroo Island to help you plan and book a trip to Kangaroo Island.
10. I wanted to see Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Where would you suggest going now as an alternative?
A great alternative to Remarkable Rocks is Cape Willoughby Conservation Park. This park is home to South Australia’s first lighthouse and is rich in maritime history. You can even stay the night in the Cape Willoughby Light Keeper’s Cottage. The views and coastline from Cape Willoughby are spectacular and it’s in the east end of Kangaroo Island which has not been affected by bushfire.
A great alternative to Admirals Arch is Seal Bay. Seal Bay is a world-class nature-based tourism attraction which is home to a wild Australian sea lion population. Take a guided tour to the heart of the colony to learn about these endangered animals, or if you prefer, take a self-guided tour along the 900-metre boardwalk. Either way, you’ll get up close and personal to seals as the rest in and among the dunes and beach.
11. How much does it cost to get to Kangaroo Island?
You can get to Kangaroo Island with your car by Ferry on Sealink, or you can take the express passenger-only ferry with KI Connect. Alternatively, you can fly direct from Adelaide or Melbourne with QantasLink or direct from Adelaide with Rex. Ferry and air fares vary depending on travel period and provider, however during our Bushfire Recovery campaign each of these operators have joined forces to offer the best deals possible to help encourage people to visit Kangaroo Island. Check our offers page for these travel deals.