The amazing wildlife of Kangaroo Island, Australia

The amazing wildlife of Kangaroo Island, Australia

You will see wildlife on Kangaroo Island, both in the National Parks and reserves and just in the farmland surrounding the roads.

Most wildlife are most active at dawn and dusk.

- Koalas were introduced onto the island in the 1980s and a (possibly misguided) way of preserving a species that was considered threatened on the mainland. The population thrived on the island, to the extent that they have been causing ecological damage on the island. They used to be common in Flinders Chase National Park, but since the 2007 bushfires, they are being caught and removed to the mainland, to allow the area to regenerate. There are still plenty elsewhere on the island, but they are often difficult to spot. You can still see them if you are lucky around Vivonne Bay and elsewhere. There is a free 20 minute walk close to the campsite. Try your luck.

- Echidna are very common on the island. You can usually see a couple in the wild near the visitors centre at Flinders Chase, if you manage to avoid them on the roads on the way there.

- Wallaby and Kangaroo. There are no Red or Grey Kangaroo on the island, but there is a separate Kangaroo Island species, as well as Tamar Wallaby. Many of these are roadkill, so stay alert, as some of the Kangaroo are of a fair size. You should have no problems viewing these next to the roads if you keep a look out.

- Platypus. Another introduced species to KI. There is a platypus walk going to a viewing area about an hour's walk from the Flinders Chase Visitors centre. Dawn or dusk are the best times and patience and a certain sense of fate is always necessary for platypus watching.

- Penguins. There are guided evening tours at Kingscote and Penneshaw and the paths near to the penguin parades are closed at dusk without being escorted. Still, you could get the idea with a binoculars from behind the fence line.
KI Penguin Centre, Kingscote Wharf, phone 0885533112. The local aquarium in Kingscote. Has giant cuttlefish, seahorses and little penguins. There are daily guided tours to see the local penguins. (tours start 7.30PM and 8.30PM in winter and 8.30PM and 9.30PM in summer) The tour includes the centre as well as some interesting explanations about the southern night sky.
Penneshaw Penguin Centre - Lloyd Collins Reserve, Pennyshaw, phone (08)85531103. Guided tour to see the penguins in Penneshaw. Tours start at 7.30PM and 8.30PM in winter, an hour later in summer.

- New Zealand Fur Seals. Hang out under Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park. Steps and cliff walks get you quite close to their habitat and their antics should keep you amused for a while.

- Australian Seal Lions are at Seal Bay Conservation Park. Daily 9AM-5PM except Christmas. Located in the south of the island, this park gives you the opportunity to see wild Australian seals while resting on the beach before returning for feeding on the sea. You can take an unguided walk along the boardwalk and to the lookout at any time. The beach is only accessible with guided tours. Entry fee is $12.50/$8.00 for access to the boardwalk and lookout only, or $27.50/$16.50 including the beach tour as well. Discounts for students, seniors and groups.

- Birdwatching. Murrays Lagoon. Bald Hill walk and Timber Creek walk offer 1/2 an hour to an hour walks to see the birdlife of the lagoon.

- Pelican Feeding occurs everyday at 5 PM just behind the KI Marine Centre. It's a good place to hang out just before the Marine Centre opens. There is no charge but donations are appreciated.

If luck isn't going your way and you don't want to leave the island without seeing the wildlife, try Parndana Wildlife Park. You'll be able to walk amongst the animals and have the kangaroos crowd around you while you feed them.

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