We had been wanting to do the Raymond Island Koala walk for some time. Raymond Island is located in the Gippsland Lakes system. To get to Raymond Island you must travel 243 km east of Melbourne Australia on the Princes Highway. When you get to Bairnsdale, you turn off and travel 18km on the Bairnsdale – Paynesville Road. It will take around 4 hours from Melbourne. Lucky for us we live in the Gippsland region and Raymond Island is an easy 45-minute drive away for us. There are no shops on Raymond Island but shops and services can be found at Paynesville. The island is unique to the Gippsland lakes as it is serviced by a car and pedestrian ferry. The ferry is caught at Paynesville for a short ride over to Raymond Island.
Catch the Raymond Island ferry
This makes the Island accessible by foot or bicycle (for free) or by car (for a small fee). The Raymond Island ferry operates on the regular basis from Paynesville. The ferry takes under 5 minutes from Paynesville to reach Raymond Island. A detailed timetable can be found here.
Once on the island, there is a clearly marked 1.3km Koala walk around the island. This is one of the best places to see Koalas in Australia There is an information board in the park located adjacent to where the ferry docks and it is easy to see when you arrive. You can buy a little information booklet for $2 which will give you fun and informative facts as you go on the walk. It works on an honour system and the money goes to help the koalas. You will see markers on rocks and signed posts even painted koalas on the ground lead you in the right direction. The walk can be done in as little as 30 minutes depending on how many Koalas you see and how long you stay to look at these amazing animals. While it is a good track it is gravel for some of the ways so be careful with wheelchairs and prams.
The Raymond island Koala walk is a great family activity
You start off in the residential streets of the Island, walking up the roads that are lined by mostly holiday houses and residential properties. The Koalas can be spotted anywhere on the Island where there is a gum tree. We were on the look out from the moment we got on land. It was a good game for the kids to try and spot the koalas since the koala and tree are a similar colour. After walking for about 10 minutes without spotting a koala we were starting to get worried.
We arrived at the back of the township and followed the path into some dense vegetation area with plenty of trees. Before long there were cries from the girls of ‘there is one of here’ and ‘one over there’ and ‘another in this tree’. We had hit the Koala mother load. There were Koalas everywhere and everyone around us knew when the girls had found another one.
Some of these amazing native Australian animals were high in some of the trees, some low but they were everywhere. We got to see a dozen koalas lounging around sleeping their days away in the trees. It is such a great experience to see them in their own habitat looking so comfortable. The Raymond Island koalas look so natural with their heads tucked into their bodies or their legs dangling down, kicking back in the folk of a tree, just amazing. We were all surprised as well just how comfy they did look as it was a little bit windy when we were there but they were not moving at all!
The Koalas were first introduced to this Gippsland island in the 1950’s. Overpopulation and lack of food now plague the koala population on the Island. There have been recent numbers of deaths with Koalas dying from starvation and bracken poisoning. This is being fixed by the volunteers who work there with some koalas being relocated and the opening of the Raymond Island Koala and wildlife centre.
- Koalas live for between 13-18 years of age
- Koalas are usually between 60-85cm in height
- Koalas in southern Australia are bigger than their northern counterparts.
- Eucalyptus leaves is the only thing that Koalas eat
- koalas eat 2.5 pounds of food a day
- Koalas sleep for 18 hours a day
- Koalas only live in Australia
- It’s estimated there are less than 80,000 koalas left in Australia
- cats and dogs kill 4000 Koalas a year
- Australia has cleared 80% of the koala’s natural habitat.
Family travel tip:
We recommend that you take some food for a bbq or a picnic. There is a park near where the ferry lands that had bbq facilities, table and chairs to sit and a kids playground. Remember to pack only what you can carry if you intened to do the Raymond Island koala walk after eating.
We recommend that you stay in Paynesville. There are plenty of Paynesville accommodation options. You can stay at Paynesville caravan park for a budget option or up to a luxury option at Captains Cove Paynesville. Accommodation can be found for every budget in the area.