Kangaroo Island is all about wildlife for me. Even time I have visited I have seen so much wildlife all over the island, for koalas in the trees near where I stayed, and echidna visiting while I ate lunch, or a goanna digging a hole by a beach path. Not everyone is so lucky though, or perhaps you have less time to explore. The perfect solution is to visit Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, to get up close to all of the local native animals and to see many others too.
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Where is Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is centrally located outside of the town of Parndarna. It is about a thirty minute drive from Kingscote, and an hour from Penneshaw.
As with all Kangaroo Island attractions, the best way to get to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is by car. This will give you the flexibility to come and go as you please and to stay for as long as you want.
There are some Kangaroo Island tours that include a visit to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Have a look at this full day tour that will take you to the wildlife park and many other places on Kangaroo Island
About Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park was originally opened in 1992. It was initially called Parndana Wildlife Park. The name changed when new owners bought the park in 2013, and it has since taken on a new lease of life. Now this is one of the best things to do on Kangaroo Island with kids – and an enjoyable activity without kids too.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is home to more than 150 species of native Australian animals with over 600 animals altogether. The park is on a large block of 10 acres so the larger animals have plenty of space to roam.
While there are too many animals for me to list them all, here are some photos and information about a few of the animals at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Experiences
There are a few animals in the park that can be hand fed as visitors wander around. The special food is available in the reception area. Predominantly it is the kangaroos, wallabies throughout the park that can be fed.
During the day there are a number of keeper talks to help you to learn about the various animals. Three times a day you can learn about some of the koalas in the park, and have the opportunity to go into their enclosure and give them a brief pat.
There’s a great keeper talk about the dingos, which I found really interesting. The dingo is the largest predator native to Australia, and one of the species that is most under threat. It’s not due to loss of habitat or people killing them though, it’s due to cross breeding with domestic dogs that have become feral. Unfortunately in some of Australia the dingo is considered a feral dog rather than a native species so it is not protected. Part of these laws mean that wildlife parks are not allowed to breed dingos to keep the strain pure. As someone who has grown up around dingos, I had no idea they were being effectively bred to extinction.
Other keeper talks include feeding of the Little Blue Penguins and the Pelicans.
Along side of the keeper talks which are included in the admission prices, there are some paid experiences too. One of the most popular is to hold a koala. In non-covid times it was also possible to cuddle a wombat, and that would be a great experience to hopefully resume. The brave visitor can hold one of the snakes or have a full reptile experience with one of the keepers. You can also interact with the marmosets, the tiniest little monkeys I have seen. The baby happily came over to me and held my finger through the cage as we stood admiring the family.
If a short experience is not enough then you can arrange to have a full, personalised tour of the entire wildlife park. All the things to do have to be seen, take a look here! Go behind the scenes and get to interact with even more of the animals. If this is good enough for international stars such as Daniel Radcliffe and Chris Hemsworth, I think we all should give it a go.
They private tours can be booked in advance on the website, the other animal experiences can be booked on arrival at the wildlife park.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park & the 2020 Fires
As you make your way to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park you can’t help but notice how close the bushfires came to the park. As the surrounding area was evacuated, the owner of Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Sam Mitchell, four other volunteers and a few managers of the army instead prepared to fight. They could not get the animals out to safety quickly enough, so they decided to fight the fire instead. Thanks to their efforts the park was spared. The flames went right around them before continuing to reek havoc on Kangaroo Island, where eventually about half of the entire island was burnt.
In those fires, millions of animals were killed, and thousands more were injured. It is estimated that before the fines there were 50000 koalas on Kangaroo Island, now there are only around 8500. In the immediate aftermath, about 600 koalas alone were brought to the wildlife park for emergency care and rehabilitation. Not all of them could be saved, but since then, more than 200 have been released back into the wild. Many more will live in the wildlife park for the rest of their lives. These koalas had injuries that are too severe to allow them to live in the wild or they are joeys who were too young to learn the skills they needed before being orphaned. Visitors will meet some of the koalas during the keeper talks and learn their stories.
It’s not just the koalas though. Many of the other animals in the park have come here after being injured or orphaned too. If possible they are rehabilitated, then released back into the wild. The fires were particularly bad, but every day animals are injured on the roads or by attacks from feral cats or domesticated pets.
The koalas on Kangaroo Island are particularly important to the survival of the species as they are the only population that is free from chlamydia. If you would like to support the work that the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is doing, you can rest assured that some of the money from your entrance fee is going towards just that. If you can’t visit, there are some other options too, such as their program offering animal adoptions. You can also donate directly to the park of to the fund for the rescue centre
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Entry Fees & Times
Entry tickets and private tours can be booked directly on the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park website here.
Adult tickets are $28, Children are $16, Concession $22. There are some different family packages available too. Private tours are $300 for adults, $200 for children.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is open from 9am to 5pm every day of the year except Christmas Day.
Want to stay near the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park? Here are some accommodation options in Parndarna.
- Parndana Hotel Cabins – Cabin style accommodation, or you can book powered and unpowered sites for your caravan or camper
- Ficifolia Lodge – one and two bedroom apartments
- Boobook Manor – self contained four bedroom house for larger groups
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.