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Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary - Kangaroo Island

Home > Adelaide > Fun for Children | Family | Animals and Wildlife | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia. https://www.facebook.com/paula.mcmanus1
Published January 25th 2017
Walk with the Koalas
Kangaroo Island is a mecca for wildlife and nature lovers. There's absolutely no shortage of things to see, to do and to photograph while on the Island.

koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)


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.

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)


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.

koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)


Hanson Bay Sanctuary is an unspoilt wilderness and is recognised as one of the most bio-diverse and pristine ecosystems that remain in Australia. In 1998 it was added to the Heritage Places National Estate Register.

Kangaroo Island is nationally important. It is one of the largest areas in Australia that is free of feral rabbits and foxes. Domestic cats and dogs are still a threat to the protection of some wildlife species, as is bushfire and habitat fragmentation. Kangaroo Island is on the Australian Government's list of five priority islands to become feral cat free. A 3-stage feral cat eradication project is currently underway and total eradication is hoped to occur by 2030.

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)


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.

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Jess at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)


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?

koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Koala, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (©paula mcmanus)

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Why? Spend some time in an unspoiled pristine location and see koalas in their natural habitat.
When: Open every day
Where: Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island
Cost: $9 per adult, $5 for under 12's
Your Comment
Lovely photos as always Paula. My husband and I have a holiday booked on KI in early February and are very much looking forward to it.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6230) 874 days ago
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