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Seal Bay Conservation Park

Home > Adelaide > Animals and Wildlife | Day Trips | Fun Things To Do | Places of Interest
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published January 14th 2019
These ones don't roar
It took four days to reach Seal Bay on South Australia's Kangaroo Island's south coast. Admittedly we travelled by cruise ship from Melbourne via Port Lincoln and Adelaide.

Our cruise liner anchored off-shore at Penneshaw where a ship's tender transported us ashore to a waiting coach for the one hour drive to Seal Bay, home to the third largest sea lion colony in Australia.

Cruise Liner
The Golden Princess at anchor of Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island.

We were only a small group, about 16, all looking forward to our up close and personal encounter with nature.

Access to the beach itself is only available with a paid guided tour via a descending boardwalk. There is a self-guided 900 metre boardwalk above the beach which is suitable for wheelchair-bound adventurers. A lesser charge is made for this option.

Upon my first sighting of 100 plus seals on the beach was that they were all dead, washed ashore like flotsam.

Sleeping sea lions
A small group having a quiet snooze.

Then there was movement on the beach. A flipper raised, a roll in the sand, the lifting of heads, a short walk and then back for another snooze. That was the sea lions, not us.

Sea lion
Occassionally an individual would arise and take a short stroll.

Our guide was a young American girl whose detailed knowledge of the sea lion's habits was very educational.

Tour guide
Mel was our very knowledgeable tour guide.

"After three days of fishing far out to sea, they would return for three days of rest on the beach."T hat was one of many of the fascinating facts imparted to us willing listeners.

Tour group
Tour groups are restricted in numbers.

Sea Lions
We were told sea lions don't eat birds. Obviously these birds also have that knowledge.

There were rules to observe when on the beach. Stay within your tour group and don't approach the sea lions closer than ten metres. We were told that they can use their flippers as feet and can have a good turn of speed if aroused.

Two sea lions
Two sea lions having a conversation

The Australian sea lion feeds along the continental shelf, most in depths of 20100m. They feed from the sea floor, catching creatures such as octopus, cuttlefish, small rays, sharks and rock lobster.

Sea Lion
Up and away.

Why are they called sea lions I asked, with the reply being that it was thought because of a mane like appearance on them.

Sea Lion
Showing a mane like appearance.

An adult male can weigh up to 350 kgs, while an adult female can weigh up to 100 kgs. Another interesting fact is that female will always return to the beach where they were born to breed.

Sea lion
This fellow was asleep almost under the boardwalk down to the beach.

While not much action was taking place among the colony but they were fascinating to watch.
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Where: Seal Bay, South Australia
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