Kangaroo Island (KI):

Australia's Dolphin Spotting Hidden Gem

In this blog post I am going to tell you about two amazing experiences I had with dolphins on Kangaroo Island (KI). Thank god for my first experience, it turned one of the worst days of my career into the best day of my career, more on that later.

First, let's discover KI

Kangaroo Island was discovered by Matthew Flinders in 1807. He named it because of huge numbers of kangaroos they encountered. KI is about a two hour drive and a half hour ferry trip from Adelaide. You’ll need much more than a day to explore KI, it’s Australia’s third largest island. You will discover secluded beaches, jagged sea cliffs, abundant wildlife as well as a local food and wine experience that will keep the gourmet travellers amongst us satisfied.

Background Image: Looking at Kangaroo Island across Backstairs Passage

My first KI dolphin experience

The worst possible start to my new career

It is my first professional photoshoot, I am very very nervous and want to do a great job. My brief was to follow a group of tourists around South Australia for a week and capture their experience.

Stop one is a dolphin encounter on KI . We strap into a speed boat and head out to sea. I am envisaging some postcard perfect shots, what a great start to my new career.

After anchoring in a small secluded cove, I notice my camera has a few splashes of water on it.  I flick the on switch. Dead. I turn it off and back on. Dead. Swap batteries. Dead. My new career. Dead.

If ever there was a WTF moment this was it, while I was here I might as well make the most of it. I stripped down to my shorts, grabbed a pair of goggles and jumped in. Wow, dolphins everywhere, maybe 30 or even more. In a matter of seconds I had forgotten about my camera and just made the most of this experience.

I eventually get out and decide to look at my camera. I flick it on, it works. My new career is not dead after all. Quite the opposite, for the first time in twenty years I had found something that I love todo.

The best possible end

How to experience dolphins in South Australia

Where are the dolphins?

The Department for the Environment has some excellent advice on dolphin spotting in South Australia. Kangaroo Island doesn’t make the cut. I told you it was a hidden gem. I’d suggest looking on the northern beaches of KI, they are normally calmer, both my swims were on the northern beaches. My second dolphin experience was at Stokes Bay.

Some advice on interacting with wild dolphins

It’s very important to note that it is illegal to approach a dolphin within 30 metres, so you have to let them come to you. They are generally very playful and not worried about humans.

The KI Ferry, the most expensive in the world

After my first experience I was pretty keen to get the kids over to KI. The only thing stopping me. The KI Ferry

I told my daughters about my first KI dolphin experience. They were pretty excited, so we looked into going over.

Our excitement soon turned into disappointment. We didn’t realise how expensive getting to KI was, as RV Daily describe it on their website, it’s ferry ferry expensive. Apparently it’s  the most expensive ferry in the world.

We ended up booking a family trip to Bali for less money than the ferry trip to KI.

Play Video

My second dolphin experience

#bookthem out

My second dolphin experience

It wasn’t until recently that we had the chance to head to KI. The bushfires of 2019 devastated the tourism industry on the island. The government subsidised the ferry in an attempt to get tourists back on the island and #bookthemout, we knew this was our chance to get over to KI.

To describe our experience I have made a video. I hope you enjoy watching it.