Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills
Adelaide’s star attraction has to be Cleland Wildlife Park, a natural bush land setting 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide. The park offers an abundance of Australian wildlife, including plenty of Kangaroos and Koalas. Many of the animals roam freely throughout the 35ha park, creating spontaneous opportunities to touch and interact with the wildlife. This is one of the few places in Australia where Koalas can be cuddled and where you can walk amongst an authentic natural environment, under hundreds of Australian Gum trees and feel rejuvenated from the hint of Eucalyptus in the air.
Temptation Sailing, Glenelg Beach
If sailing and viewing wildlife from a distance is the greater draw, the Temptation Sailing experience is the best way to sail and catch the sites. The 18m catamaran operates just 10km from the Adelaide CBD at Holdfast Shores Marina, Glenelg. The cruise season operates from September through to June and includes spectacular sunrise and sunset cruises. For Dolphin encounters, the cruise operates 3.5 hour Dolphin swim or 1.5 hour Dolphin watch cruises and is open for charter cruises for up to 50 people.
For more close encounters, visit Kangaroo Island, South Australia’s zoo without fences.
This isn’t one of those islands inexplicably named after an animal when none of the species exists there – Kangaroo Island is an island where the stocky Sooty Kangaroo (brown in colour, compared to the mainland’s grey) reside.
These lovable marsupials forage through the dense brush of the island for their grub. The Kangaroos and Wallabies co-exist with their neighbours; the curious-looking Echidna, an ant-eating mammal which also lays eggs, like the Platypus. While scarce, both can be encountered on the Island and are a very rewarding sight to see.
One of the island’s biggest attractions is the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, a sanctuary for 1,000 animal species spread across 20ha, an abode which even Pelicans call home. If feeding Kangaroos, Wallabies and Pelicans and meeting Wombats is on your bucket list, this is an experience that takes anyone as close to nature as possible.
Close by is Seal Bay, a 45-minute drive from Kingscote, where hundreds of Seals cavort and feed. An 800m boardwalk takes visitors right through the colony, where budding photographers are rewarded with an aqua-blue coastline and whole families of seals frolicking on the long, white sandy beach.
At Raptor Domain, an environmental education rehabilitation centre, the limelight is well and truly stolen by majestic feathered friends and birds of prey like residents Jedda, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, Casper the barn Owl and, Banjo and Clancy, the laughing Kookaburras. No animals are treated as displays here – they are, instead, presented in an educational and interactive way. Given Australia’s landscape, renowned for its highly poisonous critters, the centre also has deadly Snakes and Spiders – viewing is optional!
Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula
Adrenaline junkies can take a 45 minute flight from Adelaide to meet South Australia’s Great White Sharks off the Eyre Peninsula. Sure, sitting in a metal cage and being in the natural habitat of one of the most feared predators may not be for the faint-hearted, but it is guaranteed to be an experience never to be forgotten.
These ocean creatures (which can grow up to 7m and weigh 3,000kg) are the subject matter of the classic Jaws franchise and are one of the most beautiful creatures the ocean has to offer. You can jump into a wet-suit and safety cage and get up-close and personal with them off Neptune Island, a short charter boat away from Port Lincoln. This experience is nothing short of exhilarating.
These fabulous fish are not the only denizens of the warm waters. For a dose of playful delight, nothing beats watching the curiosity and fun-loving tendencies of Sea Lions. Dubbed ‘Puppies of the Sea’, you can also swim with these friendly creatures at Port Lincoln, off Seal Cove. These highly amusing mammals of the sea are gymnasts in the water. Somersaults, pirouettes and backflips are all par for the course with these underwater entertainers. Port Lincoln’s vicinity offers myriad attractions, all in the name of eco-tourism.
South Australia boasts a seemingly unending, expansive coast line, and begs for water-based activity. There’s a huge variety of experiences on offer in Adelaide and wider South Australia, where you get the very best of Australia all in one place.
Go to www.southaustralia.com for more info.
This article is brought to you by the South Australian Tourism Commission.