Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos – Oh My!

.Kangaroo Island Australia lies off the mainland of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide. It is a sanctuary to freely roaming native Australian animals and over 260 types of birds. We spent a magical 24 hours on this lovely little island. The birds and peaceful surroundings were incredible; not to mention the sea lions, koalas, kangaroos – oh my!

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Stepping foot on Kangaroo Island you feel like you are a million miles away from the city and civilization. We arrived after a 20 minute prop plane ride from Adelaide, Australia. The remoteness of the island was like a breath of fresh air compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Just like the name, there are a lot of kangaroos on kangaroo island. Unfortunately, like our deer, they are prone to jumping out in the road. There are lots of warnings for driving, especially at dusk or at night. Many of the vehicles in Australia are even equipped with “roo bars” (a metal bar or framework of metal bars on the front of a vehicle to protect it during collisions with kangaroos). We spotted our first roo as the driver slammed on his brakes shortly after leaving the airport.

We arrived at Kangaroo Island Lodge in time for a delicious dinner and sound night’s sleep in the quiet surroundings. It there is something so calm, peaceful, and serene you feel in nature versus the sounds of the city. We sometimes don’t even realize how sounds and commotion of trash trucks and noise can agitate until experiencing the opposite – waking to the sounds of singing birds out the window.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Hearing the lovely sounds, I awoke full of energy, walked out my patio door and across the road to the water. Breathing in the beauty of the sunrise and birds in every direction, I turned around to see a rainbow at my back – welcome to Kangaroo Island!

 

Because we only had one full day to explore we had scheduled a tour with Exceptional Kangaroo Island Tours. From the moment our tour guide Mary picked us up in her immaculately clean 4 wheel drive vehicle, we knew we had made a great decision!

Mary was born and raised on Kangaroo Island, left for a few years, and then returned. She knows the history and so much more. Not only did we enjoy her company immensely, but she did a great job of getting us to the best areas to find wildlife on the island. We would have never been able to see everything the way we did without Mary.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

While driving out to Seal Bay Conservation Park, our tour guide, Mary, slowed and told us this was an area where we might spot a koala. Sure enough, we found one peacefully dozing in the eucalyptus trees. Still get goosebumps remembering how exciting it was to see!

 

Seal Bay Conservation Park, a protected area located on the south coast of Kangaroo Island, is the home of the third largest Australian sea lion colony in Australia.

Mary walked us right down to the beach, taking care to keep the appropriate distance so as not to disturb the or block the paths of the male sea lions. Being so close to the wildlife was a little reminiscent of my trip to the Galapagos Islands a few years ago.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Love how they just snuggle on the beach – totally relaxed! Sometimes being upright is just too much!

The drizzling rain cleared just as we arrived displaying the golden colors of the seals and the beach against the blue skies and water. It was so mesmerizing, I didn’t know which way to look first.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Australian seal lions breed from January to June, so our visit in April was the perfect time to see the cute little pups.

 

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Is there something on my nose?

 

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

I could have stayed there all day watching and photographing these adorable creatures with their heart shaped noses, but we only had one day and there was lots more to see!

Mary drove us to a beautifully remote location. It felt a little like the wild west; a place forgotten in time. We had the freedom to walk around and explore while she prepared our delicious lunch.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sneaking through the bush will bring out your inner Steve Irwin – kangaroos and beautiful birds everywhere!

 

The Roos on Kangaroo are both smaller and darker than the common Eastern Grey kangaroo on the mainland of Australia. They are also super cute and almost seem to stop and pose.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Does this tail make my butt look big?

 

At the end of our wildlife “safari” we enjoyed the delicious seafood barbecue lunch Mary had prepared – King George Whiting, veggies, a fresh garden salad, grilled Haloumi (local sheep cheese), and fresh fruit. Fresh local ingredients in the fresh air – perfect!

After lunch we continued our journey and spotted a couple wallabies peeking out of the bush. Tammar Wallaby look like kangaroos only much smaller, more grey and very shy. However, Mary says they are very social and hang in groups under the bush.  Sure enough when I saw the first one she slowed down thinking we would see more, and we did!

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Kangaroo island is only 8 miles off the coast of South Australia (30 minutes by plane or 90 minutes by Ferry), but it feels a million miles away. More than a third of the island is protected conservation areas and national parks. While farmland and small towns make up the rest.

The island is about 93 miles long and 56 miles wide with a population of around 4,500. It’s sometimes referred to as Australia’s zoo without fences. It really does feel like nature’s paradise as you breathe in the miles of open space and breathtaking scenery.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

We headed west to Flinders Chase national Park for our last stops of the day. Admirals Arch is home to several colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals. You walk along boardwalks viewing these seals lounging on the rocks below or playing in the pools of water formed by the huge crashing waves of the ocean. We were happy to visit with some New Zealand friends once again.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse has stood guard over Kangaroo Islands southwest coast since 1909.

 

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Lipstick on!

 

Our last stop of the day was the Remarkable Rocks. Words cannot describe these granite formations that naturally came up out of the ground – spectacular natural works of art.

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

It was a little sad to be heading to the airport as the sun began to set over Kangaroo Island. Really wish we could have spent at least one more day. There is such a beautiful laid back vibe there. It would be fun to talk with the people who live in this remote island full of nature’s beauty. Check out these “mailboxes” – how creative is that?

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos/Cathy Fitz Travel Photographer

Sea Lions, Koalas, Kangaroos – Best advice for Kangaroo Island

  1. Stay at least two days – 24 hours is just not enough! We got lucky to experience so much during our short stay, but I’d recommend a longer stay to really soak it all it in.
  2. Get a guide. You can rent a car to drive on your own, but having a guide familiar with the island makes a huge difference.
  3. Take your camera!
  4. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy!

If you love wildlife, fewer people and nature – escape to Kangaroo Island. Sea lions, koalas, kangaroos –  Oh My!

 

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    Michigan

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