Stephanie Goes to Australia, Kangaroo Island
Last weekend might have been the best weekend of my entire life. I had my first real experience of being a backpacker and saw 100’s of wild animals in the process. I went to a large island off the coast of Adelaide, in South Australia called Kangaroo Island. It is famous for its incredible biodiversity. Since it was separated from the mainland of Australia 10,000 years ago, its wildlife avoided many of the pests, diseases, and human interaction that animals on the mainland had to deal with. There were no humans on the island at all. Because of this, the animals are not afraid of humans, for the most part the kangaroos hop right by as if you weren’t there at all.
Anyway my trip started out at the airport where amazingly I was not asked for any form of identification. Australians are really laid back I am figuring out. We got to our hostel pretty late and encountered a few creepy people. However, we had booked a private room so at least we wouldn’t have to sleep with them. The hostel was an interesting experience, thats all I’ll say.
Finally we got to Kangaroo Island and began our trip. On the first day we got to go to Seal Bay. Here, we walked onto the beach where there were over 50 sea lions just laying around sleeping on the beach. We were within 10 feet of some of them. It was absolutely amazing. The sea lions would get up and bother one of the others laying around, which would turn into a yelling/barking fight, and would eventually end in both sea lions just falling down to the ground and going to sleep. The sea lions are so tired on the beach because they go out for 3 days in a row with no sleep to go fishing. When they come out of the water you literally watch them just fall over the second they hit dry land. They will rest for five minutes then with all of their might try and move another few feet and just plop right back down again.
Later in the day we went on a Koala walk. One Koala was sitting in a tree about 5 feet off of the ground. He was all curled up with his butt just stuffed somehow into the crack of these two branches. I couldn’t believe how close we were and he would just open his eyes to look at us, sort of a look like “Oh, it’s you guys again,” and then just go back to sleep.
At night we went on a nocturnal walk. I have never seen so many Kangaroos at one time (well considering I am living in a city, I really only saw them at the nature reserve.) It was pitch black and our group of about 15 had just two small flashlights between us but everywhere the small light was pointed there was another group of them just eating some grass or hoping around. We even witnessed a little romantic action. Two male kangaroos almost got into a boxing match over one of the females. Then one of them proceeded to try and grab the female and, you know, bring her underneath him. She escaped and ran away though.
The next day we went to Admirals Arch. It is this beautiful archway, sort of like a cave off the coast of the island which forms a nice shady place for more sea lions to relax. We got to watch the sea lions jumping in and out of the water and playing with each other. Sea lions are some of the most playful animals. We watched one rolling around in a natural pool of water just swimming in circles and bobbing up and down for at least 10 minutes with no clear purpose. It was also hilarious and amazing how they climbed up these large rock structures. They only have these big floppy flippers and somehow they were able to climb up a nearly vertically inclined rock.
Besides the animals, this Island probably had the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The water was incredibly blue, and all of the coasts seem to be mostly cliffs which just fall off into the water. We visited a site called Remarkable Rocks (original names like this one seemed to be common throughout the Island, remember Seal bay…) They are naturally formed rocks sitting on top of a large piece of granite. They didn’t really have any real significance besides being some beautiful structures simply created by the forces of erosion.
This Island was so beautiful and literally swarming with wild indigenous animals to Australia. Numerous times we had to stop the van for some passing Kangaroos or Wallabies or stop to look at a Goanna or Cockatoo on the side of the road. Absolutely worth the visit. I have to give thanks to our lovely tour guide Kate who provided me with most of this information.