Phillip Island’s wild wallabies
Forget about going to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park and hand feeding domesticated wallabies. While I love to do this, I prefer heading out into the wilderness to spot the famous wild wallabies of Phillip Island. After you have hand fed the wallabies at Phillip Island Wildlife Park, you will immediately see the difference when you spot wild wallabies during your stroll (or drive) around the Island.
Swamp Wallabies of Phillip Island
A friend of mine, who is a ranger at the Koala Conservation Centre, informed me Phillip Island’s wild wallabies are known as Swamp or Black wallabies. These wild marsupials have a darker fur compared to the tamed and domesticated ones found in the wildlife parks of the Island.
The wild wallabies are indigenous to the Island. The early settlers, who came to Island, were well aware of their presence and their numbers grew between the 1930s and 40s. However, their numbers were significantly reduced thereafter. One possible reason could be hunting. Wild wallabies were hunted between the 1960s and 1980s.
Today, there is a sizeable population of wild wallabies on the Island, especially around Cape Woolamai. These marsupials feed on grass, introduced pasture as well as weeds. This said, not much known about their actual diet.
Combing the Bushland
I would suggest driving from The Nobbies to Summerland Beach. Take the coastal route and you are sure to find many wild wallabies along this route, especially around dusk. They are shy creatures and will usually scoot away. However, if they are a little far, you can halt and click a few photographs. Be sure to carry your binoculars with you when going wild wallaby watching.
I recommend going into the bushland, as well. It is best to speak to a local to get directions to a few back roads close to the bushland and fields. This is how I started out and today, I am proud to say I know several such scenic routes where I can spy these shy creatures. It can be amazing to see wild wallabies against the spectacular backdrop of the sea or sea cliffs. This is a sight I will never forget.
Somehow I always wake on Phillip Island long before the sun rises. I don’t know why. Maybe it has got to do with the fresh air, the music created by the waves gently hitting the shore or the opportunity to catch sight of Phillip Island’s wild wallabies feeding in the fields in groups.
The bushland close to Smith’s Beach and the bushland around Ventnor are also a great places to see wild wallabies. Try keeping an eye out for the white tip on the tails of the wallabies.
Conserving the Natural Heritage
It is amazing these cute, chocolate-brown furred marsupials have been on this Island long before you and I came here. So, basically Phillip Island belongs to them. It hurts and pains me when I see a dead wallaby on the road. I would advise all drivers to drive carefully at dusk as well as dawn when the wallabies come out to feed. Many wild wallabies are killed on Phillip Island by vehicles. Let’s keep Phillip Island’s wild wallabies safe, so that we always have a reason to return to the Island and catch a mesmerising glimpse of wallabies feeding or hopping over fields and bushland.