Kangaroo Island Inala Birding Walk
Journey to remote Kangaroo Island. Walk to beautiful, remote places with Inala's birding guides, and discover Kangaroo Island's endemic birds. Improve your knowledge of birds, fieldcraft and photography.
This collaboration offers birdwatching with Inala's expert bird guides in a diverse range of habitats, from the ocean to rocky shores, remote beaches and coastal heath. Join expert birding guides and experienced naturalist guides and discover this wonderfully remote landscape.
Nine thousand years ago, Kangaroo Island separated from mainland Australia forming a unique landscape of wild and raw beauty. Spend four days taking a range of short walks to diverse eco-systems where you can set up and paint. This wild outpost is located 20 kilometres off the South Australian coast. Gondwandan megafauna, abundant wildlife, towering sea cliffs and broad sunsets with a glass of red in hand form part of your discovery of the Kangaroo Island's tracks.
Intimate groups of no more than 12 walkers will stay in architect-designed Cape du Couedic Cottages, explore the numerous short walks of Flinders-Chase National Park and enjoy sumptuous meals prepared by our naturalist guides.
Kangaroo Island has no endemic birds, but it does have seventeen endemic sub-species who have diverged from their mainland counterparts during the ten thousand years that the island has been isolated. These subspecies look very similar but have slight differences in certain physical features. For example, the Glossy Black-cockatoo on Kangaroo Island is smaller but has a heavier bill, Crimson Rosellas and Purple-gaped Honeyeaters here are larger and darker, the New Holland Honeyeater has a smaller bill and wings, and the Southern Emu-wren on Kangaroo Island is also larger than its Australian counterpart. This island is also home to a variety of special mammals, including the Kangaroo Island subspecies of Western Grey Kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna and the endemic and endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart. It is also one of the only places that you can easily see Australian Sealions and Tammar Wallabies (the latter is extinct on the South Australian mainland). Both Australian and Long-nosed (New Zealand) Fur Seal and several other possum species can also be found here.
Kangaroo Island's Endemic Subspecies:
Glossy Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans melanopterus
Australian Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae halmaturina
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus ashbyi
Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus halmaturinus
Spotted Scrubwren Sericornis maculatus ashbyi
Shy Heathwren Calamanthus cauta halmaturina
Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata whitei
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla zietzi
White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis thomasi
Purple-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus cratitius cratitius
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera halmaturina
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata clelandi
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae campbelli
Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris magnirostris
White-bellied Whipbird Psophodes leucogaster lashmari
Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor halmaturina
Kangaroo Island Bird Walk (4 Days)
Day 1: Adelaide to Flinders Chase National Park and Cape du Couedic
Approximately 3 hours walking | Distance: 7.9km
Make sure you come fuelled up, dressed and ready to walk on the morning of day one. Guests will be picked up in Adelaide, ready to travel to Kangaroo Island on the Sealink ferry and onto the Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre.
Shortly after arriving on the Island, you will start a three-hour hike with your lightweight day pack along the Black Swamp Hiking Trail connecting to the Platypus Waterholes Walking Trail. Learn the history of Gondwana and its mega-fauna from our knowledgeable guides as you pass through a mixture of scrubland and low-lying country that follows the Rocky River. Passing through forest and woodland offers excellent chances to observe birds and spring orchids. Take a break mid-venture and enjoy a secluded lunch on the trail, prepared by your guides.
The destination for the day is your accommodation for the next three nights, the Cape du Couedic Cottages. Thoughtfully restored, these historic quarters feature twin-share rooms and newly renovated bathrooms for a very comfortable stay. Upon arrival at Cape du Couedic, explore the historic lighthouse, Admirals Arch and the nearby Fur Seal colony. Our communal pavilion — Wickies Lounge — is where we’ll share good wine and a barbeque featuring locally sourced produce. Watch the sun sink over the sea while you enjoy fireside chats with a glass of wine.
Birds that we may spot here include the Southern Emu-wren, Spotted Scrubwren, Shy Heathwren, Purple-gaped, Tawny-crowned, White-eared and Crescent Honeyeaters. Offshore birds include the chance of White-bellied Sea-eagle, Caspian Tern and various albatross species, as well as rarer species like Brown Skua or even the ultra-rare Antarctic Tern. In spring-summer, thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters are present offshore as well.
Day 2: Snake Lagoon to Cape du Couedic
Approximately 7-8 hours walking | Distance: up to 14km
Breakfast and coffee prepared by your hosts launches day two to a great start! Then it’s time to lace up your boots. You’ll be shuttled one hour to the start of our walk from Snake Lagoon where you will follow the Snake Lagoon Trail along the Rocky River, through eucalypt forest, followed by a 5km walk along Maupertuis Bay beach, a southwest-facing stretch of stunning coastline. Learn about Loch Sloy, wrecked in 1899 when it crashed en route to Adelaide, along with other historic stories. You may even see seals on the beach and frolicking in the waves here. Soak up the views of crashing waves and breathe in the crispy salt air before a brief climb that will take you along the edge of some spectacular limestone cliffs. With the lighthouse coming in and out of view, home base is within your sights.
With a bit of luck today we’ll pick up the coastal-dependent Rock Parrot, as well as Hooded Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Crimson Rosella, Beautiful Firetail and Cape Barren Goose. Also in the heathlands along the way, we may be fortunate enough to see the rare and skulking White-bellied Whipbird or maybe even a Heath Monitor.
Day 3: Remarkable Rocks to Sanderson Bay
Approximately 7-8 hours walking | Distance: 7km
Our stunning day of walking and birding today includes spectacular scenery, coastal heath, and mallee forest habitats.
You can begin your day with an optional early morning independent hike to Weirs Cove where fresh supplies were offloaded by boat for the lighthouse keepers and their families. Walking out you might catch glimpses of Remarkable Rocks, and on your return, you will see the Cape du Couedic lighthouse on the horizon.
Our guided hike begins at the iconic granite formations of Remarkable Rocks. Shaped by the forces of wild weather over millions of years, it’s the perfect spot to capture your iconic Kangaroo Island photo in front of the orange lichen-covered rocks. We walk the cliff-hugging trail ahead, delivering unobstructed views along the southern coast of Kangaroo Island. The day's walking concludes at Sanderson Bay where the Southern Ocean dumps huge waves across the shore. Birds today include Scarlet Robin, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Striated Thornbill, Red and Little Wattlebirds, Brown-headed Honeyeater and Grey Currawong.
After a day of epic coastline vistas, we’ll retire to the cottages for another evening shared with like-minded naturalists, local wine, beer, cheese and seafood.
Day 4: Cape du Couedic Cottages to Hanson Bay and Adelaide
Approximately 4 hours birding and walking | Distance: up to 4km
This small, secluded bay sits along the south coast of Kangaroo Island just west of the famous Kelly Hill Conservation Park. It is accessible via West River Road, off South Coast Road. West River Road is an unsealed road, but like many places the harder it is to get to the more beautiful it is. The views are expansive and stunning. This last morning is a final chance to witness the incredible combination of landscape, colour and light that is Kangaroo Island. We also have the chance to see echidnas, koalas, kangaroos and even Tammar Wallabies here.
The return morning walk is flexible and depends upon the birding opportunities and speed of the group. It travels through coastal heathland and low-lying forest, possibly as far as an inland large lagoon system that holds water permanently with abundant opportunities for viewing waterbird species. Here we may see large numbers of Australian Shelduck, as well as Musk Duck, Australasian Shoveler and Chestnut Teal. Wading birds include Banded Stilt and Pied Stilt, and in spring-summer migratory shorebirds such as Sharp-tailed Sandpiper or Red-necked Stint.
Guests are treated to a celebratory drink before and nibbles as we debrief at Kangaroo Island Spirits before being collected for the return bus and ferry journey back to Adelaide. A scheduled stop at a local distillery provides the opportunity for guests to freshen up, share a celebratory drink and purchase local produce prior to their departure.
Cape du Couedic Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages
AWC have exclusive access to the newly renovated heritage-listed Cape du Couedic Cottages during the walks. Located within the Flinders Chase National Park and dating back to 1907, each cottage is made from locally-sourced hand-carved limestone. All the houses are identical in design with three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a lounge (kept to original condition) with modern converted bathrooms. These beautifully renovated buildings provide a unique heritage accommodation experience for our guests, who can fully immerse themselves in the history and narrative of the area. The twin-share rooms are a welcome retreat atop the headland and are appointed with Kangaroo Island artisans' works.
At this location,there are Wickies Lounge - a communal space for unwinding and dining around the shared table. This open pavilion is the heart of tonight's Village Square locale, where your guides and host busy themselves preparing a barbeque banquet. Later, retire to your cosy Cape du Couedic lighthouse keeper's cottage.
Take a short stroll from the cottages, down the headland to reveal Admirals Arch, a significant geological formation. View the pounding waves of the Southern Ocean. As you walk down, watch out for Long-nosed Fur Seals basking in the sun on the rocks. The boardwalk descends as stairs to a bay before emerging under Admirals Arch, where viewing platforms allow you to watch the seals more closely. Offshore birds include the chance of White-bellied Sea-eagle, Caspian Tern and various albatross species, as well as rarer species like Brown Skua or even the ultra-rare Antarctic Tern. In spring-summer, thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters are present offshore as well.
Price per person for departures (inc. GST)
April 24 - 27, 2024 | Price AU$3,650 per person
Each trip requires a minimum of 8 guests (Twin Share). The maximum is 11.
Single supplement: All accommodation is twin share. Single travellers may be required to share a twin room with another walker of the same gender if departure fills to capacity. To guarantee a single room for the duration of the walk a supplementary price will apply. This must be requested at the time of booking.
Return transfers from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island
3 nights accommodation in the Cape du Couedic Cottages with linen and towels
3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 dinners
Daily morning and afternoon tea
Non-alcoholic drinks and a selection of house wines and beer (oh... and a secret stash of Kangaroo Island Gin!)
Quality day pack (Osprey Kestrel 32 litre), Waterproof jacket, Lunch Container and cutlery and Basic toiletries (sunscreen, after sun care, insect repellent)
Daily guided walks, with 2 qualified guides for the duration of the walk
Trip host at each nights accommodation
All entrance and national park fees
One specialist Inala Nature guide
Essential Gear List
When you arrive at our central hotel please be dressed to begin your walk. Please have one small suitcase or similar which our staff will arrange to have transferred to your evening accommodation. Whilst walking on track you will only carry your daily requirement in a lightweight daypack.
Lace-up hiking shoes or boots that have sturdy, treaded soles (full-grain leather or Gore-Tex with Vibram soles recommended).
We can not over-emphasise the importance of appropriate footwear. Running shoes, sand shoes, elasticised boots and similar are not acceptable. Boots/shoes must be worn in to minimise the risk of blisters. If you haven’t worn your boots for awhile please dust them off, take them for a walk and make sure the soles are still firmly attached to the boot. There is nothing worse than your boot failing on day one. . You will be unable to commence the walk without the appropriate footwear, so please feel free to contact us for more details. We are more than happy to discuss footwear with you.
Polar fleece jacket (preferred) or woollen jumper/pullover
2 x long-sleeved shirt (good sun protection)
2 x t-shirts
Shorts and/or light walking trousers
3 x hiking socks
Swimmers (summer only and small body chamois or towel)
Lightweight indoor footwear (thongs/sports sandals for lodges and cottages)
2 x 1-litre water bottle or 2-litre bladder
Change of clothes for evening (casual)
Any personal medication, including anti-inflammatories and EpiPens
* DENIM AND COTTON CLOTHING ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR WALKING
Quality day pack (Osprey Kestrel 32 litre)
Lunch Container and cutlery
Basic toiletries (sunscreen, after sun care, insect repellent)
* Tip: Layering of clothing has long been the basis for dressing in the outdoors and the gear list above follows this principle. When the temperature drops, we add another layer of insulation; if it rains, we add a rain shell on top and when it’s warm and dry, we strip off a layer.
* Your guides will do a thorough gear check prior to departure. If you are unsure about anything on the gear list, please call us or talk to your local outdoor adventure store.