Bucket list item #2078 – Kangaroo Island, Australia
When my group of friends decided to embark on a journey across the Australian outback, we decided we would end our drive in Adelaide and finish our adventure with two days on Kangaroo Island. I wish we would have given ourselves more time because every moment on the island was a dream.
We basically completed 5 amazing activities, but we would have jammed more in if we had time. It takes a long time to drive across the island, so drive time alone can really eat into your day. It’s not that the island is so big, it’s just smaller roads and low speed limits. If you have the time, I highly recommend at least four days on the island so you can hit all the cool stuff. We didn’t have time to swim with dolphins, see the Kelly Hill Caves, visit Little Sahara, wine taste, see some of the lighthouses, experience some of the amazing cuisine, etc. In fact, a week might be more sufficient if you want the cultural activities alongside the great outdoors.
However, what we managed to fit in two days was amazing! Hell, even the boat ride to the island was something spectacular with the vast ocean and early morning rays. We chose to hit the first boat to the island for the day, which was a smart decision as those drive times I mentioned were longer than expected.
Once we were on the island, we had to hit up some groceries and booze. We stayed in this AMAZING Airbnb that was a bit off the beaten path, so we needed to stock up for the weekend before settling in. And let me tell you, this Airbnb was so cool. We got to see wild wallabies through our window multiple times a day. They would let us get so close. It was truly a sight to see. You can view our Airbnb here.
The first thing we did day one was set out to the Raptor Domain. I tell you what, going to Kangaroo Island in the winter/off season certainly paid off. We got the raptor show all to ourselves! Evidently those midday showings are the least busy, so keep that in mind. We were there in June and the island is fairly dead that time of year. Anyway, the show was soooo cool! We got to see and interact with a number of raptors, including owls, hawks, cockatiels, vultures and even wedge-tail eagles. The one we met was a beauty, but quite intimidating. Their wingspan is roughly 9ft. That’s a big bird! Anyway, the show was very cool and we learned so much. It was the highlight of the trip for a few in the group.
After lunch, we set out to the Seal Bay Conservation Park. We arrived just after the last tour of the day had left. We were so bummed! Then we learned that the first tour of the day is often empty and it was better if we came back the following day. However, the light was so beautiful on the beach in the early evening and Dave was dying to take some photos. After a little begging and promising we’d be back tomorrow, we were allowed to walk the boardwalk and take some photos. I’m sure glad we did because the light was amazing! We came back bright and early the next morning and guess what? Again, not another soul in our tour group! We got another personalized tour and got to walk on the beach alongside the seals, at a safe distance, of course. We saw some juveniles play fighting, lots of seals in general, and even a family of seals with a newborn pup. It was quite the fruitful adventure.
Then, we headed to the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to see some koalas in the wild. Again, we got a tour to ourselves. We were shocked! We chose to do a guided tour rather than self-guided and I’m so happy we did. If we had gone by ourselves, I’m convinced we wouldn’t have seen a single koala. They were waaayyy high in the trees and just tiny little blips from the ground. Without our guide pointing them out along the way we would have been lost. We didn’t get to be very close (if that’s what you’re looking for, go to any local zoo in Australia. Most will let you get relatively close), but it was really neat to see them in their natural habitat. We also got to see some kangaroos, finally. We had been looking for them everywhere because, well, we were on Kangaroo Island! The fields at the entrance to the sanctuary were full of them. We were so glad to finally see them! Well, Dave and I were. Everyone else in our group lived in Australia, so seeing a kangaroo is sort of like a Coloradan seeing a squirrel or a racoon.
Our last two activities were geological sites and were both relatively close. Admirals Arch is an arch-shaped formation of stalactites that you can do a pretty easy little hike to. Along the way, you can view the ocean at its prime. The waves violently crash against the rock formations from every direction. It’s something to behold and very scary if you let your mind drift too far. And all along the way there are various spots to see lots of seals. We were super lucky to be there around a birthing season. We got to see all sorts of baby New Zealand fur seals! The arches themselves are just magnificent. We all must have taken hundreds of photos.
We ended our trip with the Remarkable Rocks. The name just kills me. However, they are, indeed, quite remarkable. Touché. Both the arch and the rocks are a part of Flinders Chase National Park, which boasts a ton of general shit to see and do. The rocks are naturally formed rocks that are somehow perfectly standing on a granite outcrop. It’s astoundingly beautiful and looks like a Henry Moore sculpture meets a Flintstones home. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
The trip was really lovely and we jammed so much into such a small amount of time. Again, my only regret is not spending a few extra days there. I would love to revisit someday!
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