Winter is an amazing time on KI. Storms land crashing waves in the Southern coasts creating spectacular views and opportunitIes for photography. Cape du Coeudic is known as ‘God’s washing machine’ as the Southern Ocean surges and sprays around its rocky cliffs and islands.
Winter is a great time for walking too. Most trails (32 of them) are in conservation parks and the trails allow you to share space with wildlife. There are easy as well as challenging walks. A beautiful walk is to explore the three beaches at Hanson Bay. But take a picnic with you - there are no cafes in this wild area!
KI Wilderness Trail, starting at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and ending at Kelly Hill Visitor Centre, is a 5-day, 66km trail. It connects existing paths with 40km of new trail through interesting forest and bush habitats, before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean. It’s best in cooler months between April and September
Winter is the time to see whales too. As you explore Seal or Vivonne Bay, you might sight them from the cliffs, or even in the quieter northern beaches and bays. One July I dropped into the Rabbit Warren Bakery in Kingscote for pastie, (vegetable pie - home made and so delicious) and carried it round the corner to sit on the headland overlooking Nepean Bay. As I looked and munched, a larger black shape appeared, disappeared then reappeared in the middle of the Bay - my first KI whale! Southern Right Whales as well as Humpbacks occur around KI - not sure which one it was.
Winter is Echidna mating season, with animals more active during the day. The mail is attracted to the scent of the female and ambles after her as she goes about her day. Male Echidna trains can form with one female followed by up to 10 males. There is a great video on echidna mating pout out by National Geographic .
Kangaroo joeys are emerging from their mothers’ pouches and starting to explore. The best place to see Kangaroos is Pelican Lagoon and the surrounding hills. You drive through this area on your way to Island Chalet. You can turn off the main Road at YMCA Corner and climb to the top of the hill. You will get a great view of Pelican Lagoon from there.
Tammar wallabies, with joeys peeping out from pouches are more common at the West end of the Island. A great place is the green fields close to the Visitor Centrer in Flinders Chase. They appear like magic around duskto feed in open areas.
Koala young are perched on their mother’s back as she feeds in Eucalyptus trees. The best place to see these is close to the Wildlife Sanctuary at Hanson Bay.