Explore the contrasting habitats and picturesque geological landscapes of Kangaroo Island and the Gawler Ranges National Park in search of the region’s iconic wildlife.
This tours travels from from the Outback to the sea and offers unique opportunities to observe South Australia’s finest wildlife, including koala, red, western grey and euro kangaroo, Australian sealion, glossy black cockatoo, echidna and if you are lucky, platypus.
Beginning in the Gawler Ranges National Park, this area is known for its spectacular rock formations and breath-taking landscapes including Wudinna Rock, Lake Gairdner and Baird’s Bay - where there are opportunities to share the shallow waters with sealions and dolphins.
The adventure continues on Kangaroo Island - a haven for Australian native species, where guided activities allow you to explore Flinders Chase, Seal Bay and Ravine des Casoars Conservation Areas. During explorations of the island, you may encounter an abundance of kangaroos, koalas and with a little luck you may even see glossy black cockatoo and echidna.
Read travel consultant Chris Smith's blog on his visit to Kangaroo Island.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Adelaide and overnight
On arrival in Adelaide, take a short taxi ride to your hotel in the delightful city centre to rest after the long journey. Many restaurants and bars are all within walking distance of the hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel in Adelaide, 1-night
Day3: Fly to Port Lincoln, transfer to Gawler Ranges National Park
Transfer back to the airport for a flight from Adelaide to Port Lincoln where you will be met by your guide and driven to Mikkira Station, home to a colony of wild koalas and an excellent spot for birdwatching. Late morning, you take a scenic drive to Wudinna – passing Wudinna Rock on the Eyre Peninsula on the way – before arriving at Kangaluna Camp in the Outback.
Today, visit an ochre pit for the opportunity to photograph the remarkable changing landscapes in the Gawler Ranges before travelling onward to the spectacular Lake Gairdner – a sparkling white salt pan which almost resembles Antarctica. Take a walk along the surface of the lake to enjoy the striking views, and explore the contrasting vivid red dunes which retain many animal tracks, birds and even flowers in spring.
This afternoon, drive past fascinating cigar-shaped volcanic rock formations and look out for an abundance of wildlife such as emus, western grey and euro kangaroos. After settling back into the camp, you can marvel at the stars through a computerised telescope after dinner.
Day5: Gawler Ranges National Park
Following a leisurely morning, in which you can explore the bush near the camp in search of birds and other wildlife, you travel to Lake Sturt in the Corrobinnie Depression to observe the array of colours and patterns in the bed of the old lake and the interesting rocks that surround it. On a nature walk around the lake to Mt Sturt, you will find a huge diversity of trees and plants.
Depending on the timing of the day’s activities, you may have time back at the camp to look for some of the 110 bird species which have previously been recorded, as well as the interesting mammals which frequent the area. At the end of the day, enjoy drinks as the sun sets over Sturt’s Lake.
Day6: Swimming with sealions at Baird Bay
The final day in the beautiful Gawler Ranges will take you to Baird Bay, where you board a boat for an unforgettable wildlife experience. The boat travels a short five kilometres to a lagoon at Jones Island (near Cape Radstock), where pods of bottlenose dolphins swim alongside the boat. The shallow waters here may give you the opportunity to join these majestic creatures in the water for a truly spectacular experience.
Crossing the bay, you visit a resident colony of Australian sealions, allowing you to experience playing face to face with these curious yet friendly mammals in shallow lagoons. This remarkable opportunity is a great chance to take close-up photos of these agile animals. After lunch you depart Baird Bay for Venus Bay, Elliston, and enjoy breath-taking coastal scenery on the journey to Port Lincoln.
You then take a short scheduled flight back to Adelaide. Depending on the flight timings, you may have time to explore the vibrant city in the afternoon or the following morning, before travelling to Kangaroo Island.
Accommodation: Hotel in Adelaide, 1-night
Day7: Fly to Kangaroo Island
Transfer to the airport for a flight to Kingscote airport. Your visit to Kangaroo Island begins with a visit to Seal Bay Conservation Park to learn about the Australian sealions, and their survival on the edge of the Southern Ocean. Walk through bulls, cows and pups resting on the beaches. Travelling further south, take a stroll through the bush to a spectacular viewpoint boasting stunning views of distant bays and the serene rural landscape from the sand dunes of Little Sahara.
From the South Coast, you travel to the middle of the island via Parndana Wildlife Park – an animal refuge where sick, injured, orphaned or unwanted animals are rescued and rehabilitated. Here you can gain an insight into the ongoing rehabilitation work, and you may be fortunate enough to see a koala or feed a kangaroo.
After a gourmet picnic lunch you progress to the north coast beaches of Snellings and Stokes Bay, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll, or take a pleasant swim in the pristine waters. Later in the day, your guide will take you on a nature walk through the drooping she-oaks of Lathami National Park, where you may see kangaroos, wallabies, the rare glossy black cockatoo or even the elusive echidna.
Today you drive to Rocky River, the headquarters of the Flinders Chase National Park, where you can expect to see a diversity of native wildlife. Here you visit two iconic rock formations found on the island: Admirals Arch – an impressive ancient limestone rock located close to the ocean which is known for haul-outs of New Zealand fur seal, and Remarkable Rocks – a collection of natural granite sculptures which have been carved by the elements. Enjoy a short bush walk in the National Park to look for echidna and the crimson rosella – which is endemic to Kangaroo Island - followed by a barbecue lunch in the bush cooked by your guide and served with local wines.
This afternoon, visit Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, where 9,500 acres of protected land are home to an abundance of koalas often spotted in the Tasmanian bluegum trees. Your guide will also take you into ‘Grassdale’ which is part of Kelly Hill Conservation Park, to look for the large numbers of kangaroos that graze the flat grasslands.You will also visit Vivonne Bay with its crystal clear turquoise waters to enjoy the scenery at Point Ellen where, if you are lucky, you might see penguins.
Day9: American River, Penneshaw & Kingscote
The morning’s excursions focus on the birdlife, where you will look for pelicans, as well as the sought-after glossy black cockatoo, in the quaint town of American River. Walk along the edge of the ocean and learn about the cultural history before heading to the east of the island, to the little town of Penneshaw. Here you can enjoy a picnic lunch at the scenic Antechamber Bay to look out for penguins and other wildlife.
The afternoon’s excursions are flexible, and may include climbing the oldest lighthouse at Cape Willoughby on the far eastern tip of the island, a visit to a distillery, or a tour of a honey farm. The day comes to an end at Kingscote, where you can sit on rocks overlooking the ocean and watch pelicans soaring overhead.
Day10: North West Coast and depart
Today, you travel to the north-west of the island to trek through the natural bushland of the Ravine de Casoars. At the end of the walk, you reach a set of caves where shipwrecked sailors once etched their names in the rocks. Another delicious picnic lunch will be freshly prepared by your guide and provided on the beach, allowing you to enjoy the spectacular views of the cliffs and the ocean beyond.
This afternoon, your guide will take you back into the Flinders Chase National Park to search for the unique and secretive platypus.
The day concludes at Kingscote Airport for your return flight to Adelaide, and onward overnight flight to the UK.
Day11: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 daysfrom £7,995 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £7,245 pp
When to go: Jan-Dec
Surrounded by the Southern Ocean, Kangaroo Island is a haven for Australia’s endemic wildlife – more than 60 percent of the island comprises national parks and reserves. Here is nature at its best; amongst sheltered beaches, rugged cliffs and bushland, kangaroo, koala, birds and sealions abound.
Where: Southwestern Australia
Ideal for viewing: tammar wallaby, Australian sealion, short-beaked echidna, glossy black cockatoo, Kangaroo Island kangaroo
Excellent for: Penguin watching, Birdwatching
Well known for its stunning rock formations, Gawler Ranges is a refuge for wildlife and home to over 162 mammal and bird species, including the brightly coloured Australian ringneck parrot, the pink cockatoo and the southern hairy-nosed wombat. The park also supports over 400 species of plant.
Where: South Australia
Ideal for viewing: yellow-footed rock wallaby, Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, wedge-tailed eagle, red kangaroo, blue-breasted fairywren
With over 2,000 kilometres of coastline, pristine Eyre Peninsula offers the opportunity for close encounters with a rich variety of wildlife, on land and in the sea. Explore Gawler Ranges and Lincoln National Parks to see rare endemics in their own environment, and swim with sea lions and dolphins.
Where: South Australia
Ideal for viewing: southern right whale, Australian sealion, koala, yellow-footed rock wallaby, red kangaroo
The gateway to one of Australia’s finest wine regions, Adelaide boasts colonial buildings, lively markets, art galleries and an array of festivals. Just a short drive away you can find beautiful beaches and the Adelaide Hills, home to some of Australia’s best known national parks.
Where: South Australia
Excellent for: City stopover
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Kangaluna is a boutique, permanently tented camp, offering exceptionally comfortable accommodation for up to 14 guests. Set in mallee woodland just outside of Gawler Ranges National Park, the camp offers a perfect spot to relax and watch the many animals and birds that inhabit the area.
Molly’s Run is a small Mediterranean style villa situated on Kangaroo Island’s north coast within 24 hectares of farmland overlooking Smith Bay. Offering just three bedrooms all with panoramic views of the bay, Molly’s Run is a charming property from which to explore the natural attractions of the island.