Raymond Island on the Gippsland Lakes is one of those not well known Gippsland attractions. What makes it special is the Raymond Island Koalas. Yes, I said Koalas, there are around 250 Koalas in the wild on the island. This makes Raymond island one of the best destinations in Gippsland
The residents of Raymond island seem to live in sync with the Koala habitat of the Island. Raymond Island is approximately 6.4 km long and 1.8 km wide and is located a few hundred meters from Paynesville in the Gippsland Lakes.
Catch the Raymond Island ferry
Raymond Island is accessible by ferry from The Paynesville Ferry Terminal. The Paynesville Ferry takes around 5 minutes to transport you to the island. You can take your car, truck, motorbike, bike or just yourself across the water to Raymond Island. The ferry to Raymond island runs every 20 minutes or so each way, from Paynesville to Raymond Island and Raymond Island to Paynesville.
Raymond Island Ferry times
|Raymond Island Ferry Timetable||Times||Vehicle||Costs|
|Sunday to Thursday||Runs every 20 minutes from 7 am till 11 pm||Pedestrian||Free|
|Friday and Saturday||Runs every 20 minutes from 7 am to 11.40 pm||Bicycle||Free|
|Car with a trailer or a caravan||$13|
|Truck/bus over 20 feet||$20|
|Vehicle over 20 feet||$28|
|After hours service||$265|
Raymond Island ferry times and fees are correct as of November 2019
Once on the island, there is a clearly marked 1.3km Koala walk through their natural environments around the island. Yes, a Koala walk is one of the outstanding things to do in Gippsland. 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. For those wanting an easier solution, you can bring your bike to the island or hire bikes from “Ride the Koalas. Ride the Koalas is located at the rear of the Ferry Reserve park and near the start of the trail on 6th Avenue. The Surrey Bikes hold 2 or 4 people.
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 trail is a great family activity
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 lookout 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 on the Raymond Island Koala walk without spotting one we were starting to get worried. Never fear though with around 300 Koalas on the island you are sure to spot them
We arrived at the back of the township and followed the path into some dense vegetation area with plenty of gum trees. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to start to recognise the koalas but once you do you will see them everywhere. Don’t be surprised if you spot a kangaroo or Echidna
Some of these amazing native Australian animals were high in some of the trees, some low but they were everywhere. We were able to watch a dozen koalas lounging around sleeping their days away in the native trees. It is such a great experience to see them in their own habitat looking so comfortable. The walking distance is just over 1km in length each way.
Things to do in Gippsland, Go to Raymond Island
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!
Of the 600 types of eucalyptus trees, koalas are fussy eaters much like kids and limit their diet to 2 or 3 different types
The Koalas were first introduced to this Gippsland island in the 1950s. Overpopulation and lack of food now plague the Raymond Island Koalas. With the population now around 300, that’s 250 more Koalas than the island can actually handle. There have been recent numbers of deaths with Koalas dying from starvation, bracken poisoning and dog attack.
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. The Koala wildlife centre has recently moved off the island to the mainland so it can look after more koalas. During the last 12 month period, the centre treated 52 koalas in need. Recently with the change of location came a change of name to Waterholes Wildlife sanctuary.
- Koalas live for between 13-18 years of age
- koalas have tough skin on their feet along with long sharp claws to provide grip, when climbing.
- 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.
You might like our related post on 21 great things to see and do in Gippsland. Gippsland has so much to offer visitors to our region
Family travel tip: What to do in Gippsland on the weekend, 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, a table and chairs to sit and a kids playground. Remember to pack only what you can carry if you intend to do the Raymond Island koala walk after eating. There is also a boardwalk to stroll along the water’s edge that provides great views of Paynesville. Take your time and enjoy one of the best Gippsland tourist attractions
How to get to Raymond island
Raymond Island is located in the Gippsland Lakes system. To get to Raymond Island you must travel 243 km east of Melbourne 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. You can catch a train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station that will take you to Bairnsdale. From Bairnsdale, you will need to catch a local bus service to Paynesville. There are around 5 buses a day servicing the route between 10 am and 6 pm. For more information look on Public Transport Victoria website
Where to stay when visiting the Raymond Island Koalas
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. An apartment is another great option for people wanting the comforts of home.
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Gippsland for a holiday or a weekend. This area is an absolute hidden gem and you will want more every time you visit and Gippsland will always deliver. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Australia click through to our Australia Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.