Kangaroo Island Seals – where to see seals KI

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Many people want to know where to see seals on Kangaroo Island. On my recent trip to Kangaroo Island, I was psyched at the chance to see hundreds of seals because let’s face it, they are such incredibly fascinating creatures. Include a close up animal encounter and this trip gets even better. Kangaroo Island seals can be found at two prime locations, though you are bound to see them sporadically along the coast if you look hard enough. 

Planning a road trip to Kangaroo Island – Read: Kangaroo Island itinerary

Kangaroo Island seals

About Kangaroo Island Seals

Australian Sea Lion

The Australian Sea Lion is only found along the coastlines of Western Australia and South Australia.

These impressive ocean mammals live in large colonies on the southern side of Kangaroo Island, primarily at Seal Bay. The male and female species are easily identifiable by their coats, with the males possessing a dark brown coat while the females are more silver in appearance. Males are also dominant in size, weighing up to double that of a female.

Long Nosed Fur Seals 

Also known as New Zealand Fur Seals, you can find thousands at Admirals Arch within Flinder’s Chase National Park. The colonies on Kangaroo Island are estimated at 100,000.

With a dive depth range of up to 380 metres and reaching up to 250 kg, they prefer rocky coastlines and boulder style beaches.

Visiting Seal Bay Kangaroo Island

If you want to see seals on Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay is a no brainer. It is a wonderful location to witness the Australian Sea Lions in their natural habitat. It is also the top tourist destination on Kangaroo Island.

Seal Bay is part of a protected Conservation Park, so you can only visit during the hours of 9 am to 5 pm. Entry is $17 per adult which goes toward the preservation of the area, so it’s totally worth it.

Getting from the entry point to the beach is via an 800 metre board walk. As you head down, the overview of the beach is rugged with natural scrub and white sand dunes enveloping the coastline.

The boardwalk ends just before the beach. Visitors are not permitted to step onto the sand to protect the colony and because these wild creatures can be aggressive if approached too closely. Our trip was early January, which is also the start of breeding season which lasts up to June.

The gestation period for a sea lion is 12 months and they will only breed on the site they were born. Young seals, known as pups will mature after 4 to 6 months.

Seal Bay Guided Tour

Do I want to take a tour to see the seals safely up close on the beach? Hell yeah!!!

For $38 per person (including self guided board walk) you can book a 45 minute guided tour which will take you right down on the beach.

Seeing the seals up close was a great experience, and we also learned a lot that I would never have known if we didn’t go.  For example, these seals head out in the ocean for up to 3 days at a time and will dive between 900 to 1200 times in search of food. I understand now why they appear so lethargic when sunning themselves on the  beach.

Kangaroo Island seals
Kangaroo Island seals
Kangaroo Island seals

The small baby seal pups were happy playing and indulged in a game of chase every now and then. It was really cool to get a glimpse into the seals behaviours and just enjoy watching their cute antics.

We were lucky to get on a tour that we had not pre booked. If we had missed out, the next available tour was 3 hours later. So I highly suggest booking in advance if you really want to participate.

Kangaroo Island seals

How to get to Seal Bay

Located on the southern side of Kangaroo Island, visitors can access Seal Bay via a short drive.

From Penneshaw – Kangaroo Island Ferry : 88.4 km / 1.08 hrs drive

Kingscote Airport – 45.3 km / 35 minute drive OR Kingscote township  – 57.4 km / 41 minute drive

From Adelaide – 215 km / 3.46 hrs (including ferry time)

Kangaroo Island Tours including Seal Bay

Don’t have a car, no worries! Check out these Seal Bay tours with departure points from Adelaide and various locations on Kangaroo Island.


Where else you might see a Sea Lion

Kangaroo Island seals

Just in case you miss Seal Bay or the gates are closed,  you may be able to sight the Sea Lions at Bales Beach. It is only 7 minutes drive away.

We did go to Bales Beach as we had heard that we might spot one but unfortunately didn’t see any. The beach is gorgeous and uncrowded so worth a stop anyway.

Visiting Admirals Arch

The second location is a special one and completely different to visiting Seal Bay. It is located within Flinders Chase National Park.

To enter Flinders Chase you will need to pay an entry fee. From the front gate you will head toward Admirals Arch, which is a significant attraction on Kangaroo Island.

A beautiful location of jagged towering coastline and incredible rock formations including the unusual arch. The boardwalk makes it way down in a zigzag fashion. Today is amazing, the wind is up which I gather is not unusual, and the cliff walls are getting a pounding by the waves. It really emphasizes how remote and rugged this part of the world is.

We are astounded by the amount of fur seals here, there are literally thousands of them. They sun themselves on the rocks while waves continuously crash around them. They are not exactly easy to initially see when you are not looking for them, but once you spot one, you soon realize they are everywhere. This is exactly the type of territory they prefer.

Kangaroo Island seals

Once we make our way down to Admirals Arch via a staircase, the scene becomes ever so dramatic. It is a beautiful spot indeed. And there are many more fur seals lazing and frolicking in the water. It is truly magical and now I have seen it for myself , I can say what a wonderful highlight it was.

How to get to Admirals Arch

Located on the South Western side of the island, Flinders Chase National Park got a terrible beating in the January 2020 wild fires. Our visit, one year later displayed a place of rejuvenation and fresh starts.

From Penneshaw – Kangaroo Island Ferry : 147 km / 1.52 hrs drive

Kingscote Airport –  103 km / 1.17 minute drive OR Kingscote township  – 115 km / 1.25 minute drive

From Adelaide – 274 km / 4.29 hrs (including ferry time)

Tours to Flinders Chase National Park- including Admirals Arch

Visit Flinders Chase NP from Kingscote, Penneshaw or American River pick up.

Full day 4WD tour

How to get to Kangaroo Island 

The Sealink Ferry coming into Jervis Bay on a calm sea day.
  • departs from Cape Jervis.
  • enables you to take your car across to Kangaroo Island.
  • A car up to 5 metres will cost $98 each way.
  • The crossing is around 22 km and takes 45 minutes
  • Arrives in Penneshaw
  • For booking on Sealink

Flights from Adelaide or via Adelaide

  • flight time 35 minutes
  • Arrive in Kingscote
  • Carriers include Qantas & Regional Express

Staying on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island has a range of accommodations from budget camping to luxury remote stays. And of course everything in between.

The high season over summer (December, January, February), school holiday periods and Easter can get busy and accommodation options may be heavily impacted. If you are planning to visit during these times it is best to book early.

For a range of hotels – Hotels.com

For a range of privately rented holiday homes – Stayz / VRBO

What to read next:

Kangaroo Island Itinerary – scenic road trip

Adelaide to Flinders Ranges National Park

Melbourne to Adelaide drive- what to expect