Yes, there is an island off of the coast of South Australia named Kangaroo Island and obviously, we had to go there. The name makes it sounds like one of those dreadful animal tourist traps (well that’s what I thought of at first), but it is actually quite the opposite. When British explorers discovered the island back in the 1800s, they took note of the many kangaroos and creatively named it “Kangaroo Island”. Much of the island is now national park and to put it mildly, there were SO MANY WILD ANIMALS! It was excitement overload for me, but thankfully I was able to pull it together long enough to capture some good photos to share.
We took our car over on a ferry from the mainland and after stopping at a few picturesque viewpoints, headed to Seal Bay Conservation Park. Seal Bay is a protected beach where you can walk among hundreds of sea lions and their pups sleeping on the beach. We were told that they spend three days out to sea feeding, and once they get back to the beach they are absolutely exhausted.
What I liked about Seal Bay Conservation Park was that they put the welfare of the sea lions before tourism. You could only walk on the beach with a provided guide, and that guide ensured our safety and the safety and comfort of the sea lions as well. She ensured that no one crowded the animals and that we could learn about them from a safe distance. I won’t get on my soapbox about reckless animal tourism here (yet), but I will say that I wish more places were like Seal Bay.
Kangaroo Island has some pretty cool geological formations, the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch — both formed by nature and changing over time. This is one of those places where the photos just don’t do them justice.
For accommodation, Christopher found the most unique and awesome place. The “Postman’s Cottage” is a small stone hut built in the late 1800’s inside of what is now Flinders Chase National Park. From what we read, it was originally built as an extra bedroom to the homestead nearby, and it later became the postman’s cottage for when he visited the island to deliver the mail.
Inside it felt like only a few things had changed since the late 1800’s. It was about the size of a bedroom and had a woodstove for heat and cooking, a bunk bed, a dining table, and a small kitchen area. It was so simple and so relaxing. We watched the animals in our yard, played Scrabble after dinner, saw the most amazing sky of stars, and used a flashlight to get to the outdoors bathroom at night. It was like going back in time, and it was wonderful.
The best part about staying in the national park was that we got to use the trails at dawn and dusk, when the animals were most active and everyone else had left the park. It was on these walks that we saw too many kangaroo, wallabies, koalas, and parrots to count. Here are a few of our favorite photos of our friendly, but shy neighbors:
We would just walk around a corner on the trail and stumble upon 20 kangaroos grazing in the opening ahead or see a bump in a tree and realize it was a koala. They’d look up (or down) to check us out, and then go right back to grazing like they couldn’t be bothered with us. It was pretty special.
When planning our itinerary around Australia, Kangaroo Island was a bit out of the way and almost didn’t make the cut. After a few travel podcasts we enjoy mentioned that it was a highlight, we finally decided to just do it and I’m so glad we did. It was an absolute treat to watch these animals in their natural habitat and explore such a beautiful island.
Love from Australia (well actually New Zealand now),
Cathleen & Christopher