Where to stay in Kangaroo Island for first time: 5 Safe areas

Finding where to stay on Kangaroo Island as a first-times can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Kangaroo Island for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Kangaroo Island for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Kangaroo Island and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Kangaroo Island is a popular tourist destination and Australia’s third-largest island, located off the coast of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide. The island is famous for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Kangaroo Island is home to a variety of native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, wallabies, and a plethora of bird species. Seal Bay Conservation Park is famous for its colony of Australian sea lions.

The island boasts diverse flora, including unique species of eucalyptus trees and native shrubs. The landscape ranges from pristine beaches to rugged cliffs and dense bushland.

Kangaroo Island has several protected areas, including Flinders Chase National Park, which encompasses iconic landmarks like Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.

The island is known for its fresh local produce, including seafood, honey, wine, and artisanal cheeses. You can enjoy farm-to-table dining experiences and cellar door tastings at local wineries.

Kangaroo Island offers various outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife tours, kayaking, and sandboarding. You can explore the natural wonders through guided tours or self-guided adventures.

Is Kangaroo Island safe to visit?

Yes, Kangaroo Island is generally safe to visit. However, you should be aware of the potential for bushfires, especially during the summer months. Bushfires can pose risks to safety and may impact travel plans. It’s advisable to check for any fire warnings or alerts before planning your trip.

Additionally, like many outdoor destinations, you should be cautious of wildlife encounters, particularly with kangaroos, wallabies, and other animals that roam freely on the island. Respect their space and avoid approaching too closely.

Where to stay on Kangaroo Island for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Kangaroo Island for first-timers and tourists are Kingscote, Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, American River, and Penneshaw. These areas provide a variety of accommodations and amenities for visitors to stay and explore the island.

Kingscote is the largest town on Kangaroo Island, offering a range of accommodation options, restaurants, shops, and services. It’s a convenient base for exploring the island, with attractions like the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre and nearby beaches.

Penneshaw, located on the eastern end of the island, is where the ferry from the mainland arrives. Attractions like the Maritime and Folk Museum and Penneshaw Penguin Centre are nearby.

Emu Bay is known for its stunning beach, which stretches for several kilometers and offers beautiful sunsets. Stokes Bay is a secluded area with a picturesque beach hidden behind a maze of rocks. 

During my trip to Kangaroo Island, I stayed in Kingscote at the Villas on the Bay Kingscote. It was set in a great location near the beach, the supermarket, restaurants, and cafes. There was a washer, dryer, and a kitchenette, making it a comfortable stay.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Kangaroo Island for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Kangaroo Island first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Kangaroo Island first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Kangaroo Island, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Kangaroo Island have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Best/Safe areas to stay in Kangaroo Island for first-timers and tourists:

1. Kingscote

Kingscote serves as a central hub on Kangaroo Island, making it a convenient base for exploring the island’s attractions. From Kingscote, you can easily access popular destinations such as Flinders Chase National Park, Seal Bay Conservation Park, and Remarkable Rocks.

As the largest town on Kangaroo Island, Kingscote offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and self-contained apartments. You’ll also find various restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and other amenities to make your stay comfortable.

Best places to stay in Kangaroo Island in Kingscote:

Mid-range ($$): Villas on the Bay Kingscote, 4-star beachfront accommodation, conveniently located on Esplanade in Kingscote. It features a two, three-bedroom villa which is great for families or groups of friends to stay.  Within walking distance to the town center, restaurants and supermarkets.

Mid-range ($$): Kangaroo Island Seaview Motel, 4-star popular hotel on the main street of Kingscote, Chapman Terrace, offering views of Nepean Bay. It is within walking distance from shops, restaurants, and Kangaroo Island Penguin Center. Rooms are comfortable and clean.

Budget ($): KI Dragonfly Guesthouse, 2-star good value for money guest house, centrally located in Kingscote, within a short distance from a variety of restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries, including Cactus Cafe and Kangaroo Island Fresh Sea Foods. Easy access to the waterfront and natural pool, fishing jetties, and Kangaroo Island parkrun.


2. Emu Bay

Emu Bay boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on Kangaroo Island, with long stretches of white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The bay is sheltered, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and sunbathing.

The bay is named after the large number of emus that used to inhabit the area. Today, visitors to Emu Bay may still spot these iconic Australian birds along with other wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, and various bird species.

Compared to larger towns like Kingscote, Emu Bay offers a more serene and laid-back environment. It’s a perfect retreat for those seeking relaxation and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Best places to stay in Kangaroo Island in Emu Bay:

Mid-range ($$): Birubi Holiday Homes Kangaroo Island, 4-star good value for money accommodation in Emu Bay, very close to the beach and jetty. Great base for fishing, swimming and sightseeing. It has 3-bedroom apartments with a fully equipped kitchen.

Mid-range ($$): Emu Bay Holiday Homes, 4-star beach accommodation, located in a quiet area on Bay View Road, a short walk from the bay. Close the beach and Emu lavender farm. You can spot wildlife such as koalas, echidnas, and kangaroos nearby.

Budget ($): Salty Dog, 4-star vacation home located only a few mins walk from Emu Beach, featuring a 3-bedroom apartment with a washing machine, and a fully equipped kitchen. The accommodation offers ocean views. All wildlife can be spotted from the front windows. 


3. Stokes Bay

Stokes Bay is a hidden gem on Kangaroo Island, offering a secluded and pristine beach experience. It is located in the middle of the island’s north coast and is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring this remarkable island paradise.

Best places to stay in Kangaroo Island in Stokes Bay:

Mid-range ($$): Waves & Wildlife Cottages Kangaroo Island, 3-star accommodation located on North-Coast Road, easy access to Stokes Bay Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on Kangaroo Island. You can spot kangaroos, wallabies, koalas or echidna. You can go fishing off the beach or swimming in the rock pool. 

Luxury ($$$): Sky House Kangaroo Island, 4-star luxury homes, located on the northern coast of Kangaroo Island, offering accommodation with a fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with BBQ facilities .

Luxury ($$$): StowAway Kangaroo Island, this accommodation located in Stokes Bay, featuring air-conditioning villas, free private parking. Great place for chill and relaxing.


4. American River

American River is a small town located on Kangaroo Island’s northeastern coast. Despite its name, the town has no connection to America; it was named after an American sealing vessel that visited the area in the early 19th century. 

American River is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and birdwatching due to its picturesque setting along the bay. The area is also known for its oyster farming industry, with fresh oysters being a local specialty.

Best places to stay in Kangaroo Island in American River:

Mid-range ($$): Sunrise on Falie Seaview Eco Accommodation, 4-star beautiful accommodation located in the American River, a great base to explore the island. The apartment is spacious and the kitchen has a wide range of utensils and pots. There are many birds to listen to and watch.

Mid-range ($$): of Stone & Wood guesthouse, 4-star holiday home, has the views of the beautiful Pelican Lagoon. You can explore the walking trail toward the American River between Muston Road and the lagoon.

Mid-range ($$): The Anchorage Cottage Kangaroo Island, 4-star beachfront property in American River. Great base for families with children.


5. Penneshaw

Penneshaw is a charming coastal town located on the eastern side of Kangaroo Island, and it serves as the gateway to the island for visitors arriving by ferry from the mainland.

As the arrival point for ferries from Cape Jervis on the mainland, Penneshaw offers convenient access to Kangaroo Island. If you’re traveling without a car, you can easily explore the island using local transportation options or by joining guided tours departing from Penneshaw.

While staying in Penneshaw, you visit the Penneshaw Maritime and Folk Museum to learn about the town’s maritime history, or take a stroll along the Penneshaw Penguin Centre boardwalk to observe little penguins in their natural habitat.

From Penneshaw, you can easily explore attractions on Kangaroo Island’s eastern side, including Cape Willoughby Conservation Park, Chapman River Regional Park, and Dudley Peninsula wineries. 

Best places to stay in Kangaroo Island in Penneshaw:


In conclusion, Kingscote, Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, American River, and Penneshaw are the best places to stay on Kangaroo island. These locations provide a variety of accommodations for visitors to book their stay and explore the island.

You can continue reading about other popular tourists destinations in Australia in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Kangaroo Island. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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