Australia is the land of exotic animals and koalas are just one of the furry creatures which domestic and international tourists flock to see year after year. The Kennett River Koala Walk in Victoria gives the ultimate koala experience as there is a large population of wild koalas living in the area which are relatively easy to spot.
Kennett River is situated along the Great Ocean Road Victoria, so many tourists find it a convenient place to stop and stretch their legs while taking a road trip on this iconic route.
The Kennett River Koala Walk is formally known as Grey River Road. It turns off of The Great Ocean Road and is one of the best places in Australia to spot koalas in their natural surroundings. So whether you are visiting from Melbourne or abroad don’t miss the chance to see koalas in the wild while embarking on the Great Ocean Road.
What is the Kennett River Koala Walk?
It’s a common myth that koalas can be seen everywhere across Australia. Koalas are solitary creatures that spend most of their time in the heights of eucalyptus trees. So, what makes the Kennett River Koala Walk in Victoria so special is that it is one of those rare places where koalas live in large numbers and can often be spotted in their natural habitat.
Since it is located along the Great Ocean Road, the Kennett River Koala Walk is a popular stop for those holidaying in the area. Visitors can walk along Grey River Road and scour the trees for sleeping koalas. Often a group of tourists staring upward is the sign one is nearby.
However, there also other animals which can be seen alongside the Kennett River koalas like wallabies, king parrots and kookaburras.
Interacting with Wildlife
The wildlife in Victoria can sometimes seem tame and comfortable around humans. However, we don’t recommend trying to feed or touch any wildlife.
Unfortunately, many tourists try to engage and feed the animals along the Great Ocean Road (especially the birds at Kennett River). This can often be unsuitable for their dietary requirements. Wild animals can also become dependent on humans feeding them and this can lead to changes in their survival instincts and feeding habits.
The best way to enjoy the Kennet River Koala Walk and the many animals you’ll encounter along the way is to admire from a safe distance. Watching the animals in their natural habitat without disturbing them with loud noises is the best way to keep the Kennet River koalas calm and the atmosphere relaxing for both the wildlife and visitors.
How to Get To the Kennett River Koala Walk
Located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, the Kennet River Koala Walk is located 170km southwest of Melbourne. The drive time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from the capital of Victoria but most travellers take their time stopping at many Great Road attractions along the way.
The walk begins on Grey River Road. To get there, navigate to Kafe Koala and park your car. In between the cafe and RV park, you’ll find an unassuming dirt road. That is the beginning of the Kennett River Koala Walk.
You can also drive on Grey River Road just it highly discouraged. It is unlikely you’ll spot any koalas if you are zipping by in a car.
If you don’t have a vehicle but still want to experience a Kennett River koala, Great Ocean Road tours are numerous. Most leave from Melbourne, Victoria, with a scheduled stop at Kennett River. Great Ocean Road tours in Victoria are great for those who don’t want the pressure of self-driving and enjoy having their itinerary planned for them.
What to Expect at the Kennett River Koala Walk
Once you’ve arrived at the Kennett River Koala Walk, the real fun starts! Take a stroll scouting out wildlife and grab a bite to eat at the cafe. The Koala Kafe is open from 7 am – 7pm, every day.
There are toilets in the car park, and the other nearest facilities are at Apollo Bay or Lorne. The actual ‘Koala Walk’ in Victoria along the Grey River Road is open all day, all year round.
It’s common to see most tourists congregate around the cafe area as there are plenty of exotic birds hanging around such as the King Parrot. Birdseed can be bought in the cafe, and since some koalas can be spotted in the trees close to the cafe, most people stay there within a few hundreds metres of the cafe.
If you want to see wild koalas in a more peaceful setting, continue walking along the dirt road which takes you up and away from the noise. Last time we were there we walked a bit further and saw a koala on the ground (very usual!) choosing another tree.
If you plan to walk, be aware that it is essentially a dirt road with a lot of bumps along the way, so dress accordingly with a good pair of shoes.
Make sure to keep looking up, as the koalas hide in the trees and can camouflage themselves very well. Koalas love to sleep, so they’re often stationary and hard to pick out amongst the branches.
Tips For the Kennett River Koala Walk
To make sure that your trip to the Kennett River Koala Walk goes as smoothly as possible, there are a few steps you should follow.
- Arrive early – You are more likely to see koalas in the early morning or late afternoon. The intense heat of midday means that the koalas sleep and it’s harder to spot them than when they aren’t moving around. You’ll also miss the bulk of the tour buses passing through Victoria, which can make the small central cafe area seem crowded.
- Look up – Koalas can often be found sleeping on the fork of branches and are most commonly found in eucalyptus trees.
- Check the weather in Victoria – If you are planning on walking, make sure you have adequate protection from the sun. Alternatively, be prepared for a slippy road if it’s raining.
- Drive Slowly into the car park – Keep noise to a minimum and drive slowly into the Kafe Koala car park. There are lots of birds in this area. Avoid playing loud music which may cause stress to the animals.
- Take binoculars – smartphones and cameras often blur if you zoom in too much, so a good pair of binoculars will help you spot koalas, especially as they prefer to rest on high up branches
- Don’t touch the animals – or try to feed them. Respecting their environment will allow both animals and tourists to co-exist peacefully, and wild koalas can react aggressively if they feel threatened.
- Bring a good camera – Most phone cameras will struggle to pick up on the koalas in the tree, so if you want to take the perfect marsupial shots, it’s worth bringing a proper camera (one which has a good zoom lens).
Remember there is no guarantee you’ll spot koalas on Great Ocean Road trips to Kennett River but the chance are high!
Where Else Can I Spot Koalas in Victoria?
Although the koala walk, Kennett River in Victoria is one of the best places to spot wild koalas, you can also head to Cape Otway where koalas live in abundance and can be spotted along the Lighthouse Road. Its a great spot where you’ll also be to see kangaroos and enjoy all that the Great Otway National Park has to offer.
From the Kennett River Koala Walk, Great Ocean Road will take you down to the Great Otway National Park which is 51.1 kilometres and takes approximately 1 hour to reach. For those in search of Great Ocean Road Koalas, both areas guarantee the most chance of sighting these animals in Victoria.
To make the most out your trip to see koalas, Kennett River is most definitely worth stopping at. Whilst you could easily spend half a day there admiring the koalas, Great Ocean Road also has plenty to do and see, so a stop at the River Koala Walk Kennett in the morning for an hour or so should be enough to get your fill of the cute creatures before continuing your journey through Victoria.
Other Nearby Wildlife Experiences
Victoria is home to an abundance of beautiful scenery and wild animals, so make sure to check out some other cool wildlife experience nearby.
Platypus at Lake Elizabeth
Located 1 hour and 15 minutes from Kennett River, Lake Elizabeth is home to a large concentration of platypus. After a short walk to the lake, you can organize a tour from the local operator to take you out onto the water.
There’s also the option to walk around the lake to spot platypus. The best time to look out for them is at dawn or dusk.
If you haven’t seen glow worms before, you’re in for a treat. Only visible at night, these bio-luminescent flies can be seen lighting up the air with hundreds of twinkling lights. The closest place to Kennett River for glow worms is the Grey River picnic area, where you can head down with your glow torch and enjoy the view.
Alternatively, you can head to Maits Rest Rainforest in The Great Otway National Park and enjoy a guided tour through the leafy canopies by day and a refreshing walk to see the glow worms at night. The drive time from Kennett River to Maits Rest is 41 minutes (39.7km).
Kangaroos at Angelsea Golf Course
A 1 hour drive from Kennett River, Anglesea Golf Course is one of the best places to see Australia’s beloved kangaroos. Whether you choose to enter the golf course itself or just drive around the surrounding areas, you are certain to come across some ‘roo’s and even a couple of wallabies.
The Great Ocean Road provides many exciting wildlife encounters and one of the best places to see koalas in Australia. If you are visiting the area don’t miss a chance to see the experience the Kennett River Koala Walk and all it has to offer.