Wildlife Safari on Kangaroo Island

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Bachelor kangaroo on KI

Such fun! Another friend suggested a I check out Kangaroo Island (KI) if I was going to be in Adelaide. I debated whether or not to spend a day away from the bike race for a wildlife safari. I am glad I did. It was terrific to spend the day relaxing and viewing the strange and wonderful animals of Australia.

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If you look really closely you may be able to see dolphins playing in the waves.

Signing up for a day trip to KI makes for a long day! I had a 6:15 pick up at my hotel, then a 2.5 hour bus ride to Cape Jervis. Then we boarded the SeaLink ferry for a short ride to Penneshaw. A guide from Kangaroo Island Odysseys picked me up with a family from Italy. Paolo was guiding me until we caught up with my group. All of the vehicles are top rate. We met up with my guide Nikki and I transferred to a smaller group–just one other American couple in a jeep-like vehicle.

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We had a full morning of viewing kangaroos, dolphins, pelicans, and wedgetail eagles before we stopped at Odysseys special camp for a gourmet lunch. We relaxed for a short while before we went on a bush walk on their private reserve and viewed koalas and found an echidna.

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The echidna is like a punked-out hedgehog. Charming!

Our guide, Nikki, was excellent at taking care of every detail and sharing her enthusiasm for KI. We saw so many species on found in Australia and it was delightful. We also learned the history of the island. As we stood watching the sea lions up close on the beach I realized I could drive 3 hours to the Monterey coast and watch California sea lions. Why wait till a big trip? Why not both?

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Nikki Redman is an amazing authority on the flora and fauna of KI. Pointing to a pile of wallaby bones, “Do you know what that is?” No one does. “Wassaby.” ūüôā

The tours begin at $415 US and increase depending on size of group. There is also an option to spend the night and includes accommodation. My day was really long because I had the bus ride and ferry (round trip) included in my fee. The couple in my group flew on a small plane from Adelaide so they spent less time in transit (and more money). There may be more affordable ways to see KI, but I am not sure if you drove over (ferry accommodates autos) how much wildlife you would see without a guide.

You can see more photos and learn more about the experiences available on the Kangaroo Island Odysseys Facebook page.

The Koala Experience

Koalas in gum tree on Phillip IslandThe Phillip Island ticket we bought for the Penguin Parade gave us access to the Koala Conservation Centre¬†within 6 months of purchase. We ate a yummy breakfast at Bean’d Eatery in San Remo and then drove across the bridge and to the middle of the island where a grove of gum trees is home to koalas both inside and outside of a sanctuary.

The sanctuary has older, larger koalas sleeping the day away in eucalyptus trees along a raised boardwalk. This allows you to see them a few yards away, and yet give them the respectful distance that a wild animal deserves. The centre is different than a traditional zoo because the design feels more like it is about containing the human visitors than containing the koalas.

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Koalas are tree-hugging marsupials: their young is born, climbs into their pouch and nurses for months, then the “joey” climbs out and rides on Mum’s back or front.

All day there was interpretive signage that communicated the threat to many of Australia’s iconic animals. The main extinction threat appears to be loss of habitat. And then, perhaps to limit overpopulation, some¬†koalas have chlamydia, and some Tasmanian Devils develop¬†cancer of the jaw, and so on.

I saw koalas in several more locations and each time the koala was chilling in a tree. Sadly when there is a bush fire of gum trees, it often consumes koalas who do not move fast enough away from an oncoming fire.

The koala looks so soft and cuddly and yet these nocturnal creatures are not. The males especially can make a racket at night.

I am so gladI saw so many different koalas.