A group of five koalas and two wombats arrived in the UK on 11 October 2018 from Cleland Wildlife Park near Adelaide, South Australia. They were then taken on to Longleat Safari Park, which will act as a European hub for the newly-created International Koala Centre of Excellence (ICKE), which is based at Cleland.
Visitors to Longleat Safari Park will be able to view these animals and learn about the conservation effort to protect the species, when their new home opens in March 2019.
However, those wanting to enjoy koalas in their natural habitat should include Adelaide and South Australia in their next trip Down Under. Seeing your first koala snoozing in the sun is a special moment; a real holiday highlight. Here are a few of our favourite koala hot spots:
Climbing with Koalas: Morialta Conservation Park
20 minute drive from Adelaide city centre
Morialta Conservation Park, just 10km north-east of Adelaide city centre, is home to some seriously cute koalas who live against a backdrop of beautiful waterfalls, gorges and cliffs. The park is popular with local bush walkers, bird watchers and rock climbers. Expect to see kangaroos as well as koalas in this wildlife lover’s paradise so close to the capital.
Kangaroos and Koalas: Kangaroo Island
30 minute scenic flight from Adelaide
Kangaroo Island, just a 30 minute flight from Adelaide, is a teeming with native flora and fauna gifting guests with a big hit of Aussie wildlife. There are thousands of koalas on the island so you’re guaranteed good sightings. Wallabies, echidnas, possums, bottle-nosed dolphins, sea-lions, long-nosed fur-seals, over 260 species of birds and of course kangaroos also call KI home; and touring with a local guide ensures you enjoy extraordinary encounters with these amazing creatures in the wild.
Camping with Koalas: Mikkira Station, Eyre Peninsula
50 minute flight from Adelaide
Mikkira Station, a short drive from Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula, is a tranquil camping area set amongst Manna Gums where koalas and other wildlife live peacefully. The site features a restored homestead from circa 1842 and some lovely bush walking. If you don’t fancy koala camping, either drive in yourself or join a tour from Port Lincoln.
Wine with Koalas: McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula
45 minute drive from Adelaide
Those looking to tour some of the best wineries in the world, whilst enjoying Australia’s native wildlife in the wild should go no further than McLaren Vale, just a 45 minute drive from Adelaide. A video of a koala taking a morning stroll along the main street of McLaren Flat (one of the region’s main towns) with a joey on her back was viewed on social media over three million times! Whilst it is rare to see a koala walking to the local bakery, it isn’t unusual to see them snoozing in trees on vineyard properties and in local wooded areas across the peninsula.
Walking with Koalas: Belair National Park, Adelaide Hills
25 minute drive from Adelaide
Set in beautiful natural bushland, Belair National Park (just a 25 minute drive from Adelaide) is South Australia’s oldest national park. There are some wonderful walking tracks taking in woodland, lakes, Old Government House and State Flora – one of the oldest plant nurseries in Australia. Belair is teeming with native plants and animals including a healthy population of koalas.
To plan your Australian holiday in 2019 starting in the vineyard city of Adelaide and exploring the food, wine, wildlife, beaches and outback of South Australia visit www.southaustralia.com
To read more about the koalas arrival to the UK from South Australia please click here.
For more information on South Australian tourism please contact Emma Humphreys from the South Australian Tourism Commission’s London office. For a map of South Australia detailing approximate driving times and distances click here.