Where Are The Kangaroos?
It was the afternoon of our last full day on Kangaroo Island and, incredibly, we still hadn’t seen any kangaroos.
That’s not strictly true. When we arrived a couple of days earlier it was dark. We had a bit of a drive to our accommodation and I did see one dicing with death at the side of the road. As I was the driver I was the only one in the car who saw it. It no doubt got run over a few minutes later. There were of course several examples of the (almost obligatory) road kill – which probably numbered about 6 or more dead roos.
Anyway, the point is that we hadn’t seen a live kangaroo. Now for me, just seeing a roo with his/her head popping up in the grass does not qualify as a real sighting. Call me old fashioned but I think you need to see them in full flight to fully appreciate them – and truly say that you have seen them. Hopping, bouncing along, using the full strength of those odd back legs. After all this is why they are so famous right?
None of Dani’s other relatives who had visited us had seen a kangaroo in full jumping mode. But his grandmother and auntie – who also had yet to see any – were about to break that unlucky streak.
As is often the case with these things it kind of happened by chance. We had to go and buy something from one of the few real towns on the island and were actually heading back to our accommodation when Dani decided to moan (as kids cooped up in a car tend to do). At that point his mum spotted a sign for a vineyard with wine tasting so we turned off and followed the signs. While Dani’s mum and auntie were sampling some wines we had a chat with the lady who was serving. She told us of a place not far from where she lived where there were “plenty of kangaroos, and wallabies too”. That seemed like a ready made plan. But first….
The wine cellar lady also told us about a koala she had spotted that morning in a nearby tree. Another great tip that proved correct. The koala – hardly the most active of creatures – was still there, very high up in a tree (full zoom needed).
Hitting the Kangaroo Jackpot. With a Wallaby Bonanza.
Following the wine tasting and koala gazing we followed the lady’s directions heading up towards the Emu Bay area. We were not disappointed. After seeing a few in fields we ventured onto a dirt road and found it. This was kangaroo dreamland. We had hit the kangaroo jackpot – with a wallaby bonanza for good measure.
Soon the animals were appearing from all directions jumping across the dirt road (that had now become more of a track). Some sat motionless watching us from a (relatively) safe distance, only to dart off when we got too close. Many had youngsters and would bounce across our path as a family; mother, father and Joey Roo too.
The Kangaroo island kangaroo is brown and smaller than the grey kangaroos we had been used to seeing. They also seem to be far more cautious and don’t allow you to get too close. The smaller wallabies are even more nervous and generally scatter just when you think you are close enough to get good photo. unfortunately these photos do not do this place justice. There really were lots more just out of range or jumping across the track as I drove along.
We even spotted another koala – our second in less than an hour.
So a chance encounter at a vineyard wine tasting shop led to a great bit of wildlife spotting. As always with these things; if you know where to look….