Kelly Hill Conservation Park

  • Information Office
  • Picnic Areas
  • Kiosk
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
Kell Hill adventure caving - Photo by Katrina Wills
Kell Hill blue fairy wren - Photo by Katrina Wills
Kell Hill cave - Photo by Graeme McGregor
Kell Hill cave - Photo by Katrina Wills
Kell Hill walking trail - Photo by Katrina Wills
Kelly Hill - SA Map

Discover the magical underground world of Kelly Hill Caves and admire the ornate cave decorations! For the bold and inquisitive there are also adventure caving tours that take you crawling through the underground maze. Or you may like to go bushwalking to appreciate the diverse landscapes above ground and take advantage of the picnic facilities.

You can now experience the five day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail which concludes at the Kelly Hill Caves. This trail provides a setting for inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Look around you and within - the opportunities for discovery are endless.

Kelly Hill - SA Map

Discover the magical underground world of Kelly Hill Caves and admire the ornate cave decorations! For the bold and inquisitive there are also adventure caving tours that take you crawling through the underground maze. Or you may like to go bushwalking to appreciate the diverse landscapes above ground and take advantage of the picnic facilities.

You can now experience the five day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail which concludes at the Kelly Hill Caves. This trail provides a setting for inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Look around you and within - the opportunities for discovery are endless.

About

Showcasing dramatic coastal landscapes and unique old-growth woodlands, Kelly Hill Conservation Park and the adjacent Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area, stand as a vital link in a high biodiversity vegetation corridor traversing the south coast of Kangaroo Island.

Take a guided tour of the limestone cave system and walk amidst ornate cave formations as you discover how the caves and the spectacular decorations were formed. Experience the splendour of the Show Cave Tour and admire the array of stalactite, stalagmite, shawl, helictite and column formations.

Experience the splendour of the show cave tour at the perfect temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius and 70-80% humidity no matter what the weather is doing outside.

For the more adventurous, join an experienced guide on an adventure caving tour where, equipped with a helmet and headlamp, you can crawl your way through an underground maze of smaller caverns. This tour follows part of the original 1920s tourist section of Kelly Hill Caves and features a small silt chamber and intriguing fauna fossils and bones.

Above ground, choose from one of the short walking trails or spend a day hiking to Hanson Bay which passes by a landscape of freshwater lagoons, mallee woodlands and coastal dunes.

Opening hours

This park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset (except Christmas Day).

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Kelly Hill Caves Visitor Centre

Open: 10.15am-4.30pm daily, longer hours in school holidays (excludes Christmas Day).

Check out cave tour times.

Contact details

Kelly Hill Caves Visitors Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4464
Email: KellyHill@sa.gov.au

When to visit

Kelly Hill Caves is the place to visit no matter what the weather is like outside. With a constant temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius and 70-80% humidity, it can feel cool in summer and warm in winter.

Summer and autumn

  • Enjoy a picnic or a BBQ in the shade of the towering sugar gum forest.
  • Take a walk along the Burgess or Mays Hike while waiting for a tour, or spend the day along the Hanson Bay Hike. Tread lightly and keep your eyes and ears open for woodland birds, frogs, reptiles and marsupials.
  • Enjoy the coolness of the cave while it is hot outside.

Winter and spring

  • Take advantage of the BBQ shelters.
  • Take a walk along the Burgess or Mays Hike while waiting for a tour or spend the day along the Hanson Bay Hike. Tread lightly and keep your eyes and ears open for woodland birds, frogs, reptiles and marsupials.
  • Search for rare orchids or one of the hundred and forty different species of fungi.
  • Escape the elements outside as you enjoy the warmth of the cave.

Getting there

Kelly Hill Conservation Park is located 90km south west of Kingscote on Kangaroo Island. Access is via South Coast Road.

Please note: If you're using GPS or other navigation aids, enter ‘Kelly Hill Conservation Park Visitor Centre’ as your destination. Some visitors have reported problems with Google Maps displaying the park and Visitor Centre in the wrong location. We are seeking to rectify the problem.

You can get to Kangaroo Island from mainland South Australia on the SeaLink ferry. This vehicle and passenger ferry operates daily (except Christmas Day) between Cape Jervis (two hours south of Adelaide) and Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island. The journey takes 45 minutes for the 16km crossing.

Visit the SeaLink website for more information and bookings.

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

This park contains an information centre, picnic areas, a kiosk, BBQ facilities, toilets and guided tours

Traditional owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • There’s something different to see all year round in this park. Why not try your luck spotting an echidna, rare orchids or one of the hundred and forty different species of fungi.
  • Choose from one of the short walking trails or spend the day hiking to Hanson Bay which passes by a landscape of freshwater lagoons, mallee woodlands and coastal dunes.

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. 

South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Moderate hikes

  • Burgess Hike - incorporating Mays Walk (30 mins, 1.2km)

    This hike passes through the Sugar Gum forest at Kelly Hill Caves and introduces visitors to the surface features associated with the caves below, including the original cave entrance. If you are taking a guided tour of the show cave, this trail provides an interesting alternative route to or from the show cave entrance. In spring the wildflowers are a treat.

    Access: this trail begin at the Kelly Hill Visitor Centre.

Hard hikes

  • Hanson Bay Hike (1 day, 18km)

    "This spectacular trail meanders from Kelly Hill Visitor Centre to Hanson Bay. It passes through banksia heath, pink gum woodlands, mallee and coastal heath, alongside freshwater lagoons, and over dunes to viewpoints that provide wonderful vistas inland and along the coast. Hike goes through Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area.

    Allow a full day for the return trip or try to arrange a pick-up. This is day five of the Kangaroo Island Wildnerness Trail.

    Access: this hike begins at Kelly Hill Visitor Centre.

Treks

  • Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail (5 days, 61km)

    Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.

    The unimaginable beauty of this part of the world has to be seen to be believed. Come and discover the magic for yourself.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.

The unimaginable beauty of this part of the world has to be seen to be believed. Come and discover the magic for yourself.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

Adventure caving

For the more adventurous, join an experienced guide on an Adventure Caving Tour where, equipped with a helmet and headlight, you can climb and crawl your way through an underground maze of undeveloped caverns. This tour follows part of the original 1920s tourist section of Kelly Hill Caves and features a low silt chamber with intriguing fauna fossils and bones. The tour includes a crawl past a palaeontological site, where your guide will share Kangaroo Island’s rich fossil history, which includes megafauna and several glacial maximums. 

If you are lucky, palaeontologists may even be on-site while you are on tour.

Show Cave Tour

Show Cave Tours run for about 40 minutes.

May to August

Tuesday to Thursday: 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm 

Friday to Monday and public holidays: 10.30 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm, 4.00 pm 

September to April

Daily: 10.30 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm, 4.00 pm 

Winter and Spring school holidays

Daily: 10.30 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm, 4.00pm 

Summer and Autumn school holidays

Daily: 10.00 am, 10.30 am, 11.00 am, 11.30 am, 12.00 pm, 12.30 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm, 4.00 pm

Adventure Caving Tour

Adventure Caving tours run for about 2 hours.

Bookings are essential and group sizes are limited.

May to August

Friday to Monday and public holidays: 2.15 pm

September to April

Daily: 2.15pm

School holidays

Daily: 2.15

Adventure Caving participants must be 8 years or older and children 15 years or younger must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

We do not supply overalls or knee pads, please come prepared to get dirty. Enclosed footwear is essential, either runners, walking boots or work boots. No skate shoes, high heels or open toed shoes.

Bookings

Kelly Hill Caves Visitors Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4464
Email: KellyHill@sa.gov.au

School visits

This Park offers a spectacular cave system; fossil sites and plenty of above ground activities. We can tailor our learning programs to suit your needs.

The park is perfect for a winter excursion, most activities are below ground and the temperature in the caves remains steady all year round. Our adventure caving program is a fantastic team building activity that fosters the development of a positive and supportive group and can be tailored for most age groups. 

Above ground, there are plenty of free outdoor activities for any season:

  • Bushwalking; view the original cave entrance from above along the walking trails and see the cave floor approximately 7 metres below your feet.
  • Flora themed walks that include orchids and fungi
  • Bird watching (bird list and bird identification book in the visitor centre, BYO binoculars)
  • Wildlife watching (ask our staff about wildlife identification sheets and a ‘scats and tracks’ book in the visitor centre).

Teachers

It is important that your students know the appropriate behaviour when they are visiting caves:

  • touching cave formations is not permitted 
  • eating and drinking in the caves is not permitted 
  • cameras and handheld devices with flashlights can be used 
  • hand rails near steps and ramps should be used 
  • suitable footwear should be worn in caves (no sandals or thongs).

Please note that our guides will facilitate learning programs, but the behaviour management of students is the teacher’s responsibility.

Teachers must also inform guides of any prior injuries or medical conditions that students may have (e.g. asthma, epilepsy, allergies), and bring appropriate medication. This is particularly important for adventure caving.

Students and parents

You will have a great time on your visit to the Kelly Hill Caves. There’s so much to see, do and learn here, we know you’ll love it.

Here are some packing suggestions:

  • clothing suitable for the time of year, and strong non-slip shoes 
  • water bottle 
  • summer: hat and sunscreen 
  • winter: extra warm layers 
  • adventure caving: strong non-slip shoes with grip, long sleeve shirts and trousers or overalls 
  • any medications you need.

Note: the temperature in the caves remains constant at 16 degrees Celsius all year round.

Show Cave Tour

Join your guide for a walk through spectacular chambers filled with stalagmites, stalactites, helictites and flowstones. Witness small amounts of water as you walk around the very dry cave environment and learn about the geology of the area. Discover the way our caves were formed, how stalactites grow, how to tell the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite plus much more. Let your imaginations go wild and see the cave come to life. 

Learn about the European history of the caves, early discoveries, tours and cave conservation.

Speak to us when you book about how you’d like us to tailor the tour whether we focus more on geology, fossils, cave formations or the European history of the area.

The show cave area is a developed area of the cave with stairs, concrete pathways and electric lighting.

Allow approximately 40 minutes.

Adventure Caving

If you’ve never tried adventure caving before, it can seem a bit daunting at first. You will not be forced into places where you don’t feel safe, and there will be lots of opportunity to practice how to move safely through the caves. You will leave feeling a great sense of achievement!

The adventure caving program at Kelly Hill Caves is a great opportunity for students to experience the underground in a safe, fun, educational environment. Adventure caving is a totally different experience to walking through a fully lit show cave and all care is taken to ensure that participants are aware of the environment that they are in.

Kelly Hill Caves Conservation Park runs an adventure caving program that is both fun and educational. We use an extension of the show cave that follows the old 1920s tour path. This area of the cave requires some climbing and crawling however no rope work is involved. The cave is dry with no running or standing water in it.

The objectives of adventure tours are to allow you the opportunity to experience an undeveloped cave, where there is no defined path, no infrastructure, no fixed lighting and to gain an appreciation of the cave environment. Some time is spent describing the physical features of the cave, how the cave was formed and how they can be conserved. Participants are given the chance to extend themselves both physically and mentally, with all smaller tunnels and squeezes optional with no pressure to participate in these.

The tour includes a crawl past a palaeontogy site where your guide will inform you of Kangaroo Island’s rich fossil history that includes megafauna and several glacial maximums. If you are lucky, palaeontologists may even be on-site while you are on tour.

Over one hundred different species of fossils have been found so far at Kelly Hill Caves including wallabies, rodents, snakes, the Kangaroo Island emu, sthenurus kangaroos, echidna and goanna. The most common identified species so far is the bridled nail-tailed wallaby no longer found on Kangaroo Island and currently listed as endangered on mainland Australia. Students will have the opportunity to view, touch and try to identify fossils. For information on identifying fossils see our downloadable fact sheet below.

Supervision is provided by experienced staff members who are fully trained and have conducted many of these tours. Comprehensive safety information is given prior to entering and whilst in the cave. This information will explain that you are entering a dark environment and that you will need to watch where you are placing your feet as the floors may be uneven. Cavers will be required to stay within the group and observe the safety instructions given by the guide at all times. Helmets with lights are provided but you must ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear; either runners, walking boots or work boots. NO skate shoes, high heels or open toed shoes. As an extra safety provision, group sizes are limited for each adventure caving trip and children must be eight years of age or over. It is a requirement that a staff member from the school also participate.

All Kelly Hill Caves staff have current first aid certificates, working with children clearances and carry spare batteries and supplementary light sources. 

Extensive safety procedures are in place, such as an “exit time” procedure where a group that is overtime will trigger a series of checks, which may result in the notiifying emergency personnel if necessary.

Allow approximately 2 hours.

Bookings

To book your school visit

Kelly Hill Caves Visitors Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4464
Email: KellyHill@sa.gov.au

Further information

Fauna

Wildlife you may encounter within the park include crimson rosellas, superb fairy wrens, scarlet robins, tammar wallabies and kangaroo island kangaroos. Yellow tailed black cockatoos also congregate in the warmer months. Laughing kookaburras, introduced to kangaroo island, can often be heard in the sugar gum woodland and skinks can be seen scurrying amongst the leaf litter. Echidnas are also in the park but please remember to keep your distance. They are timid but do not mind people watching from a distance as they search for ants or termites.

Tiger snakes and pygmy copperhead snakes live in the park and might be seen at any time of the year. They are highly venomous, so be wary. Keep well back and they should move away from you.

Volunteering

If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Tea Tree Campsite, Grassdale: wood fires or solid fuel fires are permitted in designated sites except from 1 December 2016 to 30 April 2017 inclusive.
  • Gas fires are permitted through the year, other than on days of total fire ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Fees

Entry and tour fees

Entry to this park is free, however, fees apply for the show cave and adventure caving tours.

Show cave tour fees (approximately 40 min)

These tours run regularly throughout the day. Bookings are not taken, tickets are available for purchase from the Visitor Centre 10 mins prior to tour departure.

Adult: $18
Concession: $15
Child: $10
Family (2 adults and 2 children OR 1 adult and 3 children): $45
School group (per student) - $9
Adult group (per adult, min 10 people) - $15.00
Child group (per child, min 10 people) - $9.00

Adventure caving tour fees (approximately 2 hours)

These tours run once a day at 2:15 pm, bookings are essential.

Adult: $70
Concession: $55
Child (minimum age 8): $40
Private party (min charge) - $280.00
School group (per student) - $36.00
Adult group (per adult, min 10 people) - $60.00
Child group (per child, min 10 people) - $36.00

Please note: Adventure Caving participants must be 8 years or older and children 15 years or younger must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Bookings - Kelly Hill Caves Visitors Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4464
Email: KellyHill@sa.gov.au

Kangaroo Island Tour Pass

Experience some of Kangaroo Islands most iconic sights at a discounted price by purchasing a Kangaroo Island Tour Pass.

Park pass

Purchase a Kangaroo Island Tour Pass which offers you 12 months access to Flinders Chase National Park and Seal Bay boardwalk/lookout, as well as admission to the following Kangaroo Island tours:

The Kangaroo Island Tour Pass can only be purchased at selected Parks Pass Outlets.

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park.