The Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was an excellent choice as a stop off point on our way to Flinders Chase National Park. We stopped for a coffee break and to see wild koalas in their natural habitat.
It was such a pleasant stop. The staff were friendly and happily helped us with our koala search. We were given directions to the eucalyptus trees and told to walk slowly and keep a very keen eye up in the trees. Koalas are very adept at camouflage so it can take a short minute or two to really spot them. But, once you do, you seem to be able to see them quite easily; even if you are the world's worst wildlife spotter.
We lucked out. We saw a mother koala with her joey and they were only a metre or two above us and (a bigger bonus), they were awake and quite lively, munching away on their gum leaves. It was a wonderful treat and such a great moment to witness.
Behind the lattes and tourist selfies is a much bigger and more important story happening there at the Sanctuary.
The Hanson Bay Sanctuary is well known for its conservation efforts. More than 190 native plant species have been found on the property and more than 400 have been found in the area.
There is a small entry fee for visitors to access the Sanctuary and Koala Walk. I found it to be an inexpensive but value-packed experience. Please stop in, buy some food or drink and help support their valuable conservation work. The funds that run the Sanctuary come from the hiring of beachfront accommodation, guided nocturnal tours and the admission fees from those who do the self-guided koala tours.
Drop in to the Visitor Centre. There's a great range of local Kangaroo Island produce on sale, including their own Hanson Bay honey. There's good coffee and fresh and tasty food as well as an interesting assortment of tourist souveniers.
The Sanctuary is very clean and tidy, including the toilets, which is always a good thing. The outside dining areas are pleasant, quiet and shady. The Sanctuary is a terrific stop off point to just sit and relax at over a coffee or light meal and do some wildlife spotting.
The Sanctuary, first established in 1997, was originally a 10,000-acre grazing property called Tandanya. Today, the Sanctuary covers nearly 4,000 hectares and is made up of mallee woodlands and remnant grassland paddocks. The Sanctuary is bordered by Flinders Chase National Park on three sides and by the Southern Ocean on the other.
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and their Koala Walk are situated about 10kms from Flinders Chase National Park on the western end of Kangaroo Island. Sanctuary visitors are able to roam freely within the grounds.
Kangaroo Island is a short flight or ferry trip from the mainland in South Australia. Why not take advantage of the beachfront accommodation options at Hanson Bay and stay a few days to have a totally enjoyable nature getaway?