What is the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail?

The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is a world class, 61 kilometre, 5-day walking experience giving visitors access to some of the most rugged, remote and spectacular coastlines in South Australia. The trail is located in the south west of Kangaroo Island and encompasses new and upgraded trails through Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park and the Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area. Along with encounters with some of the island's most unique wildlife, the trail provides access to the iconic attractions of Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, Weirs Cove, Hanson Bay and Kelly Hill Caves.

What is the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience?

The summer 2019–20 bushfires destroyed the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and associated infrastructure including the five campgrounds, bridges, lookouts and trail markers.

Some sections of original trail have now been modified to provide access to walkers. Camping/accommodation on-trail is not available. Access to each section of the five-day trail is provided by licensed tour operators.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows walkers to see the KIWT environment as it’s never been seen before. Walkers will witness the landscapes ‘unmasked’ and experience the beauty of regenerating plants, easier wildlife spotting and vistas that pre-fire vegetation never allowed.

Over the coming months, the original five day, four night Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail will be re-imagined  and redesigned to ensure that this world-class experience comes back better than ever.

What are my walk options?

Access to the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience is provided via licensed tour operators only. Options provided by these tour operators include:

  • transfer services to and from the trail (you will need to arrange your own accommodation)
  • off-trail accommodation and transfer services
  • fully guided tours (with or without accommodation).

Some operators may also offer a range of packages for a complete Kangaroo Island experience.

Why do I need to book my walk?

Access the the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience is only provided by licensed operators, so you need to book with your selected provider in advance to secure your place.

To preserve the wilderness experience for everyone, especially during this recovery phase, and to ensure sustainable management of the trail, walker numbers will be limited.

How much does it cost to walk the trail, what is included and why is there a fee?

Our licensed tour operators offer a range of packages, from basic drop off/pick up services to fully guided tours. Prices will depend on the package you select.

Maintaining a long-distance walking trail in a remote area is expensive. Your fee contributes to maintaining and servicing the trail to ensure it remains an exceptional world-class tourism experience.

Do I need to pay a separate park entry fee?

If you wish to visit the attractions of Flinders Chase National Park before or after your walk, you will need to pay a separate visitor fee. Please book online. Alternatively, your tour operator may offer a package that includes access to Flinders Chase National Park.

What level of walking experience do I need?

The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is categorised as a Grade 4 walking trail under the Australian Walking Track Grading System, meaning that some sections are long, rough and very steep and directional signage is at times limited. Bushwalking experience is recommended. For more information on Grade 4 walking trail guidelines see the Users Guide to the Australian Walking Track Grading System.

How fit do I need to be to walk the trail?

A good level of fitness is required to walk the trail. You can expect to walk between 3.5 and 7 hours a day, depending on your fitness level, weather conditions and time taken for breaks and wildlife viewing. If you need to build up your level of fitness prior to the walk, we recommend starting with a 30 minute daily walk and building up to 7 hours. Be sure to trial walking with the pack you intend to take so that you feel fully prepared.

Is the trail suitable for children?

The trail is not recommended for children under the age of 10 due to the distances travelled, exposed coastal environment and often adverse weather conditions.

When is the best time to walk?

The best time to go is March to November however every season on Kangaroo Island offers something different, so you’re sure to have an amazing experience whenever you visit. Kangaroo Island’s weather is variable year round and changes in temperature and conditions can occur suddenly and without much warning given the island’s exposed location. You’re likely to experience a bit of everything on your walk – sunshine, wind and rain. Walkers should be aware that on catastrophic fire days the park will be closed and walkers will be required to leave the trail. For more information on seasonal highlights and challenges view the Seasonal Highlight’s fact sheet.

What do I need to take with me?

By travelling with a tour operator, you can travel light! Check with your tour operator about what you should pack.

What type of accommodation is provided on the trail?

The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience does not include on-trail camping or accommodation.

Depending on the tour operator you book with, your package may include accommodation.

If you need to organise your own accommodation, keep in mind that the trail is located at the western end of the island, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours from the ferry and airport arrival/departure points. If you are doing multiple sections of the trail, we recommend booking accommodation close to the trail. That way you can kick things off with plenty of daylight hours ahead of you and finish the walk with time to explore the wonders of Flinders Chase National Park before indulging in the luxury of a hot shower and soft bed.

Visit Tour Kangaroo Island for accommodation options close to the trail. Advance bookings are essential.

Are GPX, ESRI, KML, KMZ files available for the trail?

Yes. The following files of the trail are available for download:

  • Google Earth file (KML/KMZ).
  • GPX file for GPS units.
  • ESRI Shape file for GIS users.

Visit Data.SA Recreation Trails page to download GPX, ESRI, KML, KMZ files.

Is drinking water available along the trail?

No. Ensure you have enough water for each day. We suggest a minimum of 3 litres per person per day. 

Is there mobile phone reception on the trail?

Mobile phone reception may be possible on the Telstra network at some of the higher points along the trail, but it is not guaranteed. You should anticipate being out of contact with the outside world for the duration of the walk unless you are carrying a satellite phone or a personal locator device such as an EPIRB.

Are there guided walks?

A number of tour operators offer guided walks along the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience.

Can I walk just one section of the trail?

Yes. You may walk one or more sections of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience. The tour operators that provide access to the trail have a range of packages.

Can I take a group walking on the trail? (schools, community groups and incorporated clubs)

Yes. Access to the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Fire Recovery Experience is provided by licensed tour operators, so please contact them to find out if they can accommodate your group

How do I get to Kangaroo Island and where can I stay?

Planning your trip Kangaroo Island is essential. It can transform your experience from a great walk to a trip of a lifetime. You can discover more about the Kangaroo Island experiences on offer, including where to stay, eat and play by visiting Tour Kangaroo Island or by calling 1800 811 080.

Is there anything to see? I thought the trail was destroyed by bushfires?

While the summer 2019–20 bushfires were devastating, the bush bounces back quickly. Green shoots are springing from tree trunks and tiny seedlings are emerging from the soil. Yaccas are putting on an amazing show, with flower spikes reaching heights of 6 metres! It is easy to spot wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, birds and echidnas. Without the dense vegetation, visitors can witness a rarely seen landscape – discover the undulating landforms and experience 360 degree views. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I want to help with the bushfire recovery – how can I do this?

Just by walking on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, you are helping with its recovery. The foot traffic of walkers will help keep the vegetation regrowth down along the trail. So while on the trail – don’t worry about stepping on plants!

By recording your plant and animal observations via citizen science apps, you are helping to grow knowledge about how the environment is recovering from the fires. Sightings of echidnas, goannas, and birds, such as the western whipbird and southern emu-wren, means our fire recovery conservation programs are helping animal populations rebuild. Growing knowledge about how our programs are working leads to better conservation outcomes.

A portion of the fee you paid to walk the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail will be directed to supporting these conservation programs.