I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published March 5th 2016
Kangaroo island was named by Matthew Flinders for the large number of kangaroos he found here, but they're by no means the only animal you can see. In fact, the range of wildlife encounters on offer is one of the reasons the island is so popular with tourists.
I've ranked the experiences I've tried below and then listed some of the others available. If you have any recommendations to add, make sure you leave a comment.
My top wildlife experiences:
1. Seal Bay Conservation Park This conservation park is set among dramatic dunes on the southern side of the island and offers strolls along the boardwalks ($15.00*) and guided tours on the beach ($32.00). Its colony of sea lions is the third largest in Australia and the attraction as a whole is world-class.
4. Nocturnal Penguin Tours A nocturnal penguin tour isn't something I'd ever done before, and there are actually two places to choose from here: Kingscote, at the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre, and Penneshaw. They take place just after dark, when the penguins are returning home to their burrows.
The tour I did was at Penneshaw, which has a smaller colony, and the numbers are on the decline too, but you can hope to see at least one penguin every night. The tour costs $13.00, and a video is shown before you head outside. At the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre in Kingscote the tour costs $18.00 and you visit the aquarium beforehand (this centre also has pelican feeding at 5.00pm every day).
Neither location runs tours in February, because the penguins stay out at sea during this time.
I can't put these in the same category as the others, as they're only tenuously offer a wildlife experience, but they're still worth a look, so I thought I'd mention them.
1. Marron at the Marron Cafe Next to the Marron Cafe is a huge shed containing tanks of marron in different stages of growth for visitors to look at. The staff are happy to explain all about the creatures, which are very similar to yabbies, and I found it all quite interesting.
2. Clifford's Honey Farm
Did you know Kangaroo Island is home to the word's only strain of pure Ligurian Bees? I first came across this fact when I learnt that you couldn't take honey to the island. I learnt the rest of the story when I visited Clifford's Honey Farm. It's mainly a shop (which sells everything from art to honey to honey-flavoured ice-cream), but in a room out the back there's a video and information about the bees.
Other wildlife attractions:
1. Raptor Domain
I had heard of the bird shows at the Raptor Domain before I visited Kangaroo Island, but unfortunately never got to see any. But for anyone interested, there are three different shows that run, each 45-60 minutes long, and tickets are $12.00-$18.00. The attraction is located on Seal Bay Road, very close to Little Sahara.
2. Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Formerly known as the Parndana Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park had over 150 different types of Australian animals, including koalas, snakes, penguins, kangaroos and more. The park is pretty much in the centre of the island, on Playford Highway. Admission is $22.00.
3. Paul's Place Wildlife Sanctuary
At Paul's Place, in the Stokes Bay area on the north of the island, you can get up close to Australian wildlife, feeding kangaroos, emus and baby animals, and holding a koala or possum (to name a few experiences). It's not open everyday though, except for during the school holidays. Admission is $15.00.
4. Will's Rare Breeds Farm Here you can take a ($20.00) tour of the farm's rare breeds of domesticated farm animals for $20.00. The farm, like Paul's Place, is near Stokes Bay.
5. Platypus Waterholes Walk
This walk starts from the Visitors Centre in the Flinders Chase National Park. It is 4.5 kilometres long and takes around two hours (but you'll also need time to try and spot the elusive creatures from the platforms over the waterholes). I don't think sightings are very reliable, but at dawn and dusk you might have some luck.
There are probably other wildlife experiences on Kangaroo Island I haven't noticed, and if you know of any, please tell everyone below. I've also got to end this article with a mention of all the random wildlife sightings you can get just on your daily travels on this amazing island. I saw seals at Browns Beach (twice) and Pennington Bay, my first wild echidna at the Remarkable Rocks, dolphins from the ferry, kangaroos, and more.
My friend and I loved kangaroo island we took the gravel rounds we saw echidnas eagles little blue wrens and Wills rare bred farm at Stokes Bay was fabulous. Drop by the general store at Vivonne Bay for a snack. The oysters at the Oyster Farm Shop at American River, and the Lavender Cafe at Emu Bay. Unfortunately in May a lot of places were closed but less tourists.