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Hike from Hanson Bay to Kelly Hill Caves

Karatta, South Australia



11.2 miles

Elevation Gain

328.1 ft

Route Type



Added by Marti Chance

A good snapshot of South Australia in one hike: pass through beautiful beaches, hot dry expanses, wooded areas, and tropical areas before ending at Kelly Hill Caves. Kangaroos, echidnas, and goannas dot the path.

You can start this hike either at Kelly Hills Caves, or at Hanson Bay (accessible off the S Coast Road, watch for a sign for Hanson Bay Road). The parking 'lot' is just before the Hanson Bay Sanctuary (hotel); there are bathrooms, but don't plan on water. 

Starting at Hanson Bay parking lot, head down to the beach and head to the far end to find the trailhead. From the trailhead, you'll have magnificent views of Hanson Bay and the neighboring bay. Follow the trail back into the bush, as it winds through shrubbery and hugs the river. After a bit, the trail will open up into a large field; follow it to the other end. (If you're lucky, you'll spot some kangaroos grazing). The trail turns back into the woods and loops around the lake. There is a small sandy beach area on the lake that is ideal for lunch/snacking, or as a turn around point for those uninterested in exploring the caves. The last half of the trail weaves through the woods and eventually transitions to a more tropical terrain before ending at Kelly Hills Caves. 

At Kelly Hill Caves there is a visitor center with snacks for sale; you can also take a guided tour of the caves (no self-guided exploration allowed). There is also drinking water, shaded picnic tables, bathrooms, and grills/barbecues. 

If you pre-arrange transport, you could do this as a one way and hitch a ride back; otherwise return along the same path you came. Allow 4-6 hours for the full hike, depending on your speed. 

Most of this trail is also the last day of the five day Kangaroo Island backpacking trail. 

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