Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

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If you’ve heard of Kangaroo Island, you’ve probably heard it is a wildlife haven, not just in the wild, but at Kangaroo Wildlife Park too.

Kangaroo Island is all about wildlife for me. Every time I have visited I have seen so much wildlife all over the island, for koalas in the trees near where I stayed, an echidna visiting while I ate lunch, or a goanna digging a hole by a beach path. Not everyone is so lucky though.

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.

Click here to check out prices and availability of hire cars on Kangaroo Island

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

Entrance sign at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
The entrance to the park blends nicely into the surroundings

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

The cassowary is found in northern Australia. It can grow up to six feet tall and they have a reputation as being aggressive to people.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this little colony of fairy penguins at the park. These are the smallest penguins in the world and are becoming increasingly rare along the South Australian coastline
Albino kangaroos and more common in captivity than in the wild, as they do not blend into the landscape as well as their brown friends. While it’s a genetic mutation, this girl has a normal brown joey hiding in that pouch.
There is plenty of space for the larger animals to roam. This huge enclosure houses a whole pile of red kangaroos and a group of emus too.
Quokkas are best known for their smiley selfies on Rottnest Island in Western Australia. I tried to get a selfie with these guys, but it’s not quite the same with a fence between us. They are darn cute though!
The Tawny Frogmouths always make me laugh. They look like a couple of grumpy old men sitting out on their porch. Often confused with owls, they are nocturnal and masters of camouflage.
I spent a long time waiting for this kookaburra to laugh, but he was having none of it. Of course once I had left, I could hear him continuously from the other parts of the park.
I may not have heard the Kookaburra, but I definitely heard this Bush Curlew. His call is ear splitting when standing up close to him.
The dingos have some old cars, amongst other things, in their enclosure to give them the opportunity to climb and jump like they would in the wild. I visited at the start of summer, and you can see them shedding their thick winter coats for the warm months ahead.
There is even a small aquarium in the park too, containing a few colourful fish as well as reptiles and turtles.
Sunning himself on a very overcast, cold day, this poor lizard might be there for a while
This baby marmoset is tiny. You can meet her and her parents twice a day on one of the wildlife experiences
“Nope! I’m not waking up!” Koalas sleep for about 22 hours each day. This is because their diet, which consists entirely of eucalyptus leaves, is very low in nutrients and they only have enough energy to spend those two waking hours eating again.
There is a fabulous walk-through aviary with all sorts of colourful birds. They wizzed past our heads and walked around our feet. We were even able to pat one of the white fantail doves!
On guard! The meerkats are always one of my favourite animals to see. They have such personality and can be really cheeky.
I have no idea why the Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies were sitting like this. I even tried to google and didn’t find an answer. Maybe it’s comfortable, even though it really doesn’t look it.
Echidnas are one of my favourite animals. I was hoping to see one in the wild on Kangaroo Island. I hadn’t at the time I visited the wildlife park, but one wandered right into our campsite on my last night there.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Experiences

One of the many koalas that call Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park home

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 and 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 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.

The private tours can be booked in advance on the website, and the other animal experiences can be booked on arrival at the wildlife park.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park & the 2020 Fires

Yet another koala – I know how much we all love them.

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 members 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 wreak 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 50,000 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 were too severe to allow them to live in the wild or they were 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

While there are some snacks for sale in the entrance area, I would suggest packing lunch if you are going to be here at that time. There are some picnic tables available. Kids will love having the tables turned and having their photo taken being cuddled in the arms of this koala

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 and $200 for children.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Parndarna Accommodation

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

Looking for more Kangaroo Island content? Try these
Visiting Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island
Best Kangaroo Island Wineries
How to Get to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide

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About the author

Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred, living here for her whole life. 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.