The island is a two-minute ferry ride from Paynesville in the Gippsland Lakes District of Victoria - a reliable place to see kangaroos. Paynesville and Raymond Island are the perfect wildlife tragic's double act. You can read where to find the kangaroos at Paynesville by clicking - here. For my March blog post on Raymond Island, with practical information as well as a description of our visit and lots of koala pictures click - here.
Walk, bike or drive?
By far the best way to see Raymond Island is by bicycle. There are no shops, cafes or other services on the island so rent bikes in Paynesville and take them across on the ferry with you. It is less than a kilometre from the ferry wharf to the reserve where the koalas like to congregate. Once you arrive on the island head to the park opposite the ferry dock and for a $2 donation pick up a pamphlet on the history of the koalas. The pamphlet has a map showing where to find the koalas - or just follow the signs to the 'koala walk'.
|There is a koala in this tree - well hidden.|
The heaviest concentration of koalas is in the reserve adjacent to Twelfth Avenue but look up as you walk because they also sit in the trees outside people's houses. We even found a few down near the wharf. Many of the eucalyptus trees on the island grow relatively low to the ground so the koalas are not that far above eye-level making them much easier to see than in most other places in Australia.
|See the joey in the top right?|
Once you have seen the koalas, don't ignore the rest of the island. We saw a mob of kangaroos and a couple of echidnas along Centre Rd toward the north-west of the main settlement. The island is about 6 km long so if you don't have a bike and don't want to do a long walk you might need your car for this bit.
|One of the two echidnas we saw by the side of the road in the centre of the island.|
The car ferry and 'Ugly Betty'
|The Raymond Island car ferry|
The car ferry from Paynesville is free for foot passengers and bicycles and $11 return for cars. Just one word of caution however, while we were there the ferry broke down. I don't know how often this happens but judging by the resigned look on the faces of the locals, it didn't seem to be all that unusual an event. When we arrived at the ferry dock to return to the mainland there was a long, frustrating line of cars waiting for the emergency ferry. The operators were turning it around as fast as they could but it could only hold three or four cars at a time. D and I were very glad we didn't have to join the queue.
After some confusion, we were directed with our bikes to a small passenger ferry known affectionately as 'Ugly Betty' where there was no queue at all. It turned out to be a relatively quick, fun trip back and gave us a great chance to talk to some of the locals.