Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kangaroo Island's Koala Walk

Such a sweet, sleeping koala

One of the best places to see koala bears on Australia's Kangaroo Island is at Hanson Bay Sanctuary's Koala Walk. Feral cats have had a detrimental effect on the population of small mammals on the island, so this area of 250 acres is fully fenced to protect the animals.

We took our time strolling along the avenue of gum and eucalyptus trees peering up through the leaves and branches in search of the cuddly animals. Hubby was the best at spotting them with my girl also proving herself to have keen eyes. The boys were too busy trying to poke each other with long sticks.

50% of the people in this group are looking for koalas.

Seek and ye shall find.

All in all, we saw 9 koalas, 4 wallabies, 5 kangaroos and a few colorful birds. The sign out front stated that 23 koalas had been found that day. All were free to roam wherever they liked, not confined to pens. These animals didn't seem to consider us dangerous. They certainly weren't motivated to move whenever we approached. Most of them were asleep. In fact, we decided that the easy life of a koala spent up in the trees napping all day combined two of my oldest son's favorite pastimes.

I finally identified this Crimson Rosella when I saw a stuffed animal version at a gift shop.

Tiny Tammar Wallabies are the size of large rabbits.

We spent about an hour here, taking our time to slowly wander around and look for animals. A big tour bus pulled up while we were at the sanctuary. They were in and out in 15 minutes once they had "See a Koala" checked off their To-Do list. Take as long or short as you like.

Eucalyptus acorns

Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to go on the Nocturnal Tour which starts at sunset and lasts 90 minutes. I bet it would have been quite fascinating.

What happens when I vaguely suggest, "Why don't you pet it?"

The Sacred Dwelling Space exhibit by Evette Sunset, an environmental sculptor, caught our eye from afar. The five teepee-like structures were formed from woven branches with a line of stones curving out from the base.

Sacred Dwelling Space
Although I'm not quite sure who dwelled here. Probably not koalas.

There's also a cafe on site with a yummy looking dessert case as well as baguette sandwiches, schnitzel, fish'n'chips, cheeseburgers, vegetarian food and espresso. Staples like water, milk and bread are also available — handy since the nearest grocery store is an hour away.

As we drove off on the main South Coast Road, lots more wallabies hopped across the road in front of our car. Drive slowly!

Kangaroo Crossing

Where on Kangaroo Island
South Coast Road, Karatta, South Australia
7 km before Flinders Chase National Park

Open 7 days a week, opening at 8 a.m.
Reservations required for the Nocturnal Tour.
During the day, you are welcome to stroll Koala Walk yourself, taking as long or short as you like.
Cafe open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost in AUD
Self-guided Koala Walk
Ages 12 years and up      $6
Children under 12 years  $3

Guided Nocturnal Walk
Ages 19 years and up      $24
Ages 12-18 years            $19
Children under 12 years  $14

See Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary website for more information on tours.

Related Posts:
It's the Great Penguin, Charlie Brown (Hanson Bay)
Major Fail: Sitting Together on the Airplane
Kangaroo Island Highlights
Why My Kids Love the Sydney Opera House
The Allure of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.



  1. We will be in Australia - Sydney - this fall and my whole to do list is: See a koala bear! Nice photos.

    1. We didn't have a chance to visit the Taronga Zoo in Sydney because I completely misunderstood their closing time (I was off by 4 hours), but I'm sure they have them there. If you want to visit Kangaroo Island, the nearest major airport is Adelaide.

  2. Looks as though you had a great time seeing all the animals. I like the way the animals are not in enclosures and are free to roam.

    1. The larger kangaroos could come and go from the sanctuary as they please since they easily hopped over the fence while we were there. I never saw the koalas move anywhere, even the awake ones. I wonder how big and area they roam in the wild.

  3. Love the photos! I need to show them to Emma - she has started asking me if we can please go to Australia so that she can see koala bears. I think the wallabies are awfully cute too!!

    1. Imagine all the cute photos you could take of Emma with koalas! Your readers (and Emma) would love them.

  4. Does sound like an easy life! They do look cute and cuddly.
    I'm surprised that they were so oblivious to your presence. Wonder if that's how they are as a species or if they've just become used to humans.

    1. I think that they're just like that as a species. That's why the feral cats on the island are gobbling them up and they have to be protected.

  5. What a neat experience! I love the pictures and that koala is so cute! We have a small kangaroo walk in a nearby zoo (I know it's not the same thing at all) and I always get a laugh at the kangaroos. They will not move from our small walking path until the zookeepers 'shew' them away and then they act pitifully, like they are hurt until they are off the path. When they are a distance away they'll hop away but it's obvious that they dislike being forced to move after they're comfortable.

    1. You're in Ohio, right? Do they have to keep the kangaroos in a heated enclosure during the winter or do they still get to roam around?

  6. This is so cool! I love these pictures and I need to show them to my kids. Of course, they'll probably want to start asking for an Oz trip. What a great experience for your kids. I've always wanted to see kangaroos crossing the road. But, the only ones we saw were lounging at Taronga Zoo.

  7. Wow! Wow! what an amazing place to visit. We haven't made it to Australia yet, but it's very high on the list and when my kids see these pics, they will be begging to leave tomorrow! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Kangaroo Island was a wonderful place to see wildlrife. I highly recommend it.

  8. What fun to see koalas in the wild. I remember the first time I saw a kangaroo jump across the road in front of us and what a thrill that was - sort of like a moose or a bear to someone from Australia if they visited Canada.

    1. I remember seeing moose near Banf. We were so excited! I still haven't seen a wild bear. I'd probably freak out if I did.

  9. The koala is just TOO cute. Fun post and commentary on family and wildlife. :)

  10. Love this! It sounds like you and your family had a really nice outing together even if only 1/2 were helpful in finding animals :) Of course love the shot of your daughter with her hand "under" the koala. Would love to experience this too.

  11. Would love to do the Koala Walk - and my kids would, too. In fact, I'd really like to see South Australia. It doesn't seem to get as much attention as the other states, which makes me even more curious.

  12. SO FUN!! I would love to see Koala's in their natural habitat and not in a zoo!

    Thanks for always linking up to our Friday Daydreamin' - I appreciate it!

  13. it looks like a great place to get close to the animals - especially with children. Thanks for taking us along.
    And thank you for stopping by my blog a week or so ago, I am catching up!


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