Tag Archives: koala

Wildlife on your doorstep…

3 Apr

South Australia combines the best Australia has to offer – constant sunshine, 4,800km of coastline, beautiful metropolitan beaches, unspoiled wilderness just off the shores of the State, countless wine regions producing the best wine in Australia and so on… What more? It is also considered to have the most accessible wildlife in Australia. It’s one of the few places you can swim with wild sea-lions and dolphins, walk down eucalyptus-lined lanes spotting koalas, and view groups of kangaroos grazing the land. Majestic whales, playful sea-lions, dainty Leafy Sea Dragons and parading penguins play on our coasts and in our seas.

The natural choice for the thrill- and wildlife-seekers would probably be Kangaroo Island (‘KI’ to the locals), Australia’s answer to the Galapagos. The island is just off the shores of South Australia (a short flight form Adelaide or a ferry ride from Cape Gervis) and it is arguably the best place in Australia to see an abundance of native wildlife up close and in their natural habitat. Take me up on that, been there, seen it, was absolutely stunned. We spent two amazing days on Kangaroo Island and couldn’t believe our eyes: the place is like a zoo without fences, with rare bird life, tammar wallabies, short-beaked echidnas and plenty of kangaroos and koalas.  Check out our posts about Exploring Little Australia, Part 1 and Exploring Little Australia, Part 2 to get the idea.

Appreciating not everyone can get to Kangaroo Island Adelaide itself offers some great alternatives:

Cleland Wildlife Park

The park is located just 20 minutes from Adelaide city in a beautiful natural bush land setting, this 35-hectare park is home to over 130 species of Australian wildlife. The animals are used to visitors so you can feed and pat them. You can even hold a koala and have this special experience captured with a souvenir photo.

Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is home to more than 1,800 animals and almost 300 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish exhibited in over 8 hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings.

Everywhere we have been in Adelaide, people have asked us if we’ve managed to see the panda’s yet – and we sure have observed this spectacle. Wang Wang and Funi (the only giant panda’s in the southern hemisphere), that currently reside at Adelaide Zoo, are huge! Funi, the female, was feeling a bit lazy and spent most of the time sleeping, whilst Wang Wang was enthusiastically tucking in to a huge amount of bamboo.

We also got to see a Tasmanian Devil, who didn’t look much like ‘Taz’, some very loud monkeys and some very cute bilbies. Bilbies are native to Australia, but unfortunately have become extinct due to the introduction of competitors like rabbits into the ecosystem. The zoo is undertaking great conservation work to try and reintroduce them into the wild, which is being supported by Haigh’s Chocolate who produce chocolate Easter bilbies instead of Easter bunnies!

So there you go; wildlife literally on your doorstep. What do you think? Can you get any closer than this?

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Exploring ‘Little Australia’; Part 2

1 Mar

We were up early for day two of our trip to Kangaroo Island (check out day 1 here). A short drive and we were at Hanson Bay Sanctuary which includes a Koala Walk. A gentle walk through a eucalyptus-lined path gave us the chance to spot a few of the 30,000 koalas on the island. Though lazy to the extreme (they sleep up to 20 hours/day as their main source of food – eucalyptus – is not very nutritious), they are very cute…

Koalas (which is an aboriginal name and means ‘no drink’; they don’t need to drink as they get all their fluids from eucalyptus leaves) were introduced to the island in 1919 (when 19 koalas were brought). By 1970s their population grew to astonishing 50,000! Since then, various attempts to control their number were introduced in Australia (shooting, de-sexing, giving them chlamydia (!) which makes them infertile). Today, Koalas are protected (shooting them can get you up to 2 years in prison). Did you know koalas are not bears? They are marsupials (similarly to kangaroos) and they carry their babies (which on birth have the size of a fingernail) in their pouch!

From Hanson Bay we headed to Remarkable Rocks, an unbelievable, if uncreatively named, rock formation balanced precariously over the Southern Ocean. The Rocks have been ‘in making’ for 500 million years. It all started with a huge volcanic activity which caused the melting of rock. A granite dome was created which over the next centuries surfaced. For the last 200 million years the dome has been subjected to erosive forces (wind, water) which has caused cracks and created unusual shapes of the rocks. Remarkable or what?!

No less impressive and alliterate was out next destination, Admiral’s Arch – a giant hole where the sea has gnawed hungrily at the landmass. Again a creation of thousands of years of wind and sea erosion, Admiral’s Arch is a huge arch, constantly being battered by huge waves. Amazingly, you can see petrified tree roots hanging from the arch where the underlying soil has been eroded too. On the rocks with a bit more protection from the elements lie hundreds of New Zealand fur-seals (amazingly, over 7,000 fur seals live and breed around Cape du Couedic). Maybe not as cute as the previous day’s sea lions, they’re still pretty cool. We watched one surfing around in the waves- he was even more skilful than Owen in the water (did you know the males are called ‘bulls’ and the females ‘cows’?).

South Australia

Next up we headed to the beach at Stokes Bay. Inaccessible by vehicle, we crawled from one bay to our destination through a series of caves and ended up on yet another perfect, white-sand beach. Ice cream in hand, it doesn’t get much better than this!

South Australia

Eventually we were dragged away from the beach to make our way to the Island Beehive in Kingscote. The island is in fact the sole remaining home to the pure Ligurian Honeybee. After endless tasters – they were all so good! – we bought supplies to take home and made our way to the ferry for the journey home.

Kangaroo Island had provided us with the opportunity to get up close to so many wild animals, and to be able to see them in their natural habitat was incredible. All of that coupled with the beautiful beaches and chilled out, rural atmosphere, had made our visit truly unforgettable.

In words of Isaac Bober from Symmetry, Australia: ‘There really aren’t enough adjectives to accurately describe the beauty of Kangaroo Island. In fact, words can almost spoil the moment.”

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