The only place in the world where people can walk through a wild Australian sea lion colony is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its guided tours.
To mark the milestone, all former Seal Bay staff were invited to attend a ceremony on Wednesday, September 25 and buried a time capsule at the site.
Seal Bay’s first guided tour took place on 27 September 1987.
Now, 10 guided tours leave from the visitor centre every day, with extra sessions during school holidays and on long weekends.
Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the Seal Bay tours gave visitors a truly unforgettable experience, one that’s unique to Kangaroo Island.
“There are about 1,000 Australian sea lions – one of the rarest species in the world – at Seal Bay,” he said.
“This site employs 18 KI locals, including our longest-serving guide, who has been sharing these beautiful animals with guests for 21 years.”
Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said Seal Bay was one of the “must-see sites for all visitors to Kangaroo Island who want to get up close to rare wildlife”.
“More than 115,000 people visit Seal Bay every year, going down onto the beach with one of our dedicated guides, or doing the self-guided boardwalk tour, he said.
“I encourage South Australians who haven’t been here to add it to their travel bucket list and enjoy the whole island and its wildlife and natural beauty.”
Last month, EcoTourism Australia awarded Kangaroo Island’s Seal Bay Conservation Park advanced ecotourism certification for its boardwalk and twilight tours, its visitor centre, and its star offering, the Seal Bay Experience, which takes guests on to the beach with the sea lions.
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Chief Executive Sandy Pitcher said it was “very pleasing to see the park’s commitment to nature-based tourism being recognised”.
“Visiting Seal Bay is an amazing, unique experience and we are extremely proud of everything the site has to offer,” she said.