When is a great time to spot wildlife? Wild animals can be found in ecosystems like deserts, forests, rain forests, plains or grasslands. Often wildlife is hidden and difficult to spot. Here you will find the right time and areas where the chance for a wildlife sighting is much higher.
The best time for Christmas island is depending on the moon calendar. In last phase of the moon shrinking in winter the red crab migration is taking place. You can spot millions of crabs moving around the island.
The Grey-headed flying foxes (also called fruit bats) stay in the Yarra Bend Park close to Melbourne year around as a permanent colony. The Colony numbers fluctuate with the seasons, and there are usually more flying-foxes in summer (December until April) and fewer in winter. During summer the colony grows immense up to at least 30.000 often more than 50.000 bats. Continue reading to figure out the best time of the day and what else to do in Yarra Bend.
Flying Foxes During the Day
During daytime, they roost upside down in the trees nearby the water. Like humans, the older bats have more experiences the reason they are hanging low in the trees getting more shade while the young ones are high up in the sun. They move their wings to cool down during the midday heat. These bats are vulnerable to overheating; therefore, they choose this area because of the higher humidity and the colder air. Another reason, they need to drink water on hot days, so they stay close to a water source such as the Yarra River.
Close to the Bellbird Picnic Area, you can find a viewing platform. The bat colony walking trail and interpretive boards provides details about the flying‐foxes. You can observe them from different stops along the Bat Colony Trail. Although some of them are very close to the path, you should either take a binocular or a good zoom camera with you. The young flying-foxes often roost high up in the trees; the elder flying foxes are more experienced using the shadow of the trees at lower places.
Flying Foxes at Dusk
Flying-foxes are nocturnal and at sunset, they fly-out to feed on nectar, fruit, and pollen from a wide range of plant species. Typically they start flying out together if it becomes dark, which is spectacular. Preferably a day with a blue sky during daytime and colorful sunset gives you the perfect experience. You may have to wait sometime after sunset before they start to leave the trees and taking pictures is more difficult due to low light.
Flying Foxes - Fruit Bats Calendar
- March and April; During the mating season, the colony can become very noisy as the males defend their territories. At the same time, the park can smell more intense due to the secretions from the male scent glands at the shoulders. He rubs this "perfume" on branches to mark the territory. After rainfall, the smell can become even stronger. The young ones are grown up and the colony reaches the highest number of up to 70k
- After becoming pregnant, the female fly north towards Queensland and, only the older flying-foxes stay in Yarra Bend Park. They migrate before the wintertime to warmer parts of Australia for feeding. The population then drops down to 5k-10k around April.
- Late September to November; Pregnant females give birth and the number of individuals in the Park increases again. The mother carries the young babies for 4-5 weeks until they become too heavy. Then the young ones hang in the outlying trees of the colony waiting for her mother returning at dawn. At around 8-10 weeks, they start to fly and can feed independently by about 12 weeks.
Winter is a great season to visit this place but if you aren't bothered by a few hours of afternoon rains then August-September is also a great time to go as there will be less tourists at this time of the year.
Jigokudani (means Hell Valley in Japanese) Monkey Park is open all year round, but its particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. So it's important to know when does it start snowing in the Snow Monkey Park?
The first snowfall cannot be predicted exactly but usually, it occurs by mid to late November. Although the first snowfall can be quite heavy, it will melt quickly due to the mild daytime temperatures.
Starting mid-December until February you can expect that the park is covered in snow and the monkeys live up to their name. The snow also hides a lot of the man-made pipes and other structures. Best conditions for plenty of snow on the ground are January and February, but you need to may check the live webcam for the actual conditions.
The Park is open daily from 8:30 to 17:00 (April to October) and in Winter 9:00 to 16:00 (November to March). Entrance fee is 800 yen ( 6 €) for adults and 400 yen for children in 2017. You can purchase an annual pass or if you are in a large group (more than 20) a group ticket.
You can expect crowds all year around, and it can become very busy. Most people gather at the upper man-made pool where you can find the monkeys (Japanese Macaque) playing in hot water. To make the upper pool more attractive to the monkeys, the park wardens sometimes throw food into it. There are fewer people at the lower pool but also fewer monkeys. You pass it anyway; therefore, you should spend some time there as well.
Tips for Photographers
You can photograph the most natural looking pictures from the staircase at the upper pool, but it is challenging to take pictures without any other visitor on it. At the lower pool, the angle is different, but there is no higher position for an excellent shot.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay close to the park we recommend the SENJUKAKU Hotel. The elegant property is well rated and perfectly located, surrounded by Japanese gardens with green pine forests, cherry trees, and Japanese maples. It is only a 15-minute drive away from the Park entrance, located in Kanbayashi Onsen, gateway to the Snow Monkey Park. It offers Japanese style rooms with a choice of bed or futon. Transfer and pick-up shuttles from Yudanaka Station is offered.
As an alternative, you may choose the JINPYOKAKU Hotel. It is also close by and located just 2 km from the Snow Monkey Park. Although it offers only a view Japanese style rooms, the atmosphere is exclusive and complemented with a luxurious Japanese-style hot springs experience. Here you can enjoy an exquisite Japanese cuisine with fresh local ingredients. The hotel is one of the best-rated locations in Yamanouchi.
Bear Watching Season
Starting in April, black and grizzly bears begin emerging from hibernation and head to Glendale Cove to feed on the succulent new spring growth. Glendale Cove is home to one of the largest concentrations of grizzly (brown) bears in British Columbia. Tours for Grizzlies start mid-May until end of September. Best time to see grizzly bears is June. At this time the berries are not yet ripe, and the bears are seeking for other food close to the water. They will collect eels, crabs, and isopods at the beach by rolling rocks.
Although August and September are mostly the months to see Grizzlies hunt for Salmon, it is not predictable. The salmon run, the time when the salmon will swim up the rivers and inlets to spawn, usually start after heavy rain falls. You need the luck to choose the right time for your trip. Planning a trip at this time requires pre-booking due to limited availability.
During our visit in early September 2017, not much Salmon had been seen compared to last year's early run in July. Peak season and tours should be booked in advance from mid-August to mid-September. It's a spectacle when the bears hunt the salmon, but this year they are feeding on a high protein grass. Grizzlies are hungry in the morning and come out of the higher vegetation to the shoreline. Therefore, the trip starts before 7:00 am because the travel time from Telegraph Cove to Knight Inlet is about 2 hours. In September the start time for the trip needs to be synchronized with the tides.
The summer climate at Telegraph Cove and the Johnstone Strait is characterized by still, cool mornings with not much wind and usually some fog. As the day progresses the fog lifts, sometimes slowly and shows the spectacular views to the area. In the late afternoon, winds can fresh up but drop for early evening to yield marvelous sunsets. In summer storms with rain are not very common, but it can occur when the wind changes to the South East. Usually, the wind blows from the North West. From July to August the precipitation is low compared to October until January, but you will always get some days with rainfall each month throughout the year.
Kangaroo Island is a year-round destination, although the seasons are quite different. Summer is beautiful warm therefore, Kangaroo Island is pretty busy and high priced. It's vice versa in the winter. It frequently rains, but the island is not overrun. Expect more precipitation from April to October. Continue reading to figure out which season you may prefer.
Weather and Crowds by Season
- Spring ( September-November)
Goanna basking in the sun
Day temps in September are on average around 15°C. Rain decreases in October. Temps increase and reach 20°C in November. Camping is still chilly in the night with one digit temps. The wildflower season starts.
- Summer (December-February) Peak Season
It's the most popular season with the best weather conditions. The downside almost everything is fully booked and high priced. The temps are on average around 25°C at daytime and 12°C in the night. These are the warmest and driest months of the year.
- Autumn (March-May)
The crowds thin out except for Easter. The island gets its tranquility back, and wildlife can be observed. The little penguins start nesting. Rain increases already around April, instead, less wind, which causes a calm sea. Day temps in March and April are above 20°C and below in May. Nights are already cool around 10°C.
- Winter (June-August) Low Season
Temps are pleasant for winter around 14°C at daytime and 7°C in the night. It frequently rains, but on the other side, clear and sunny days occur. It's the coldest and wettest time of the year. Echidnas may hibernate at this time of the year, depending on the temps. Besides, those who are visiting KI to see wildlife, winter is the best choice. There are abundant food, and the newborn kangaroos, koalas, and wallabies typically use this season to emerge from their mother's pouches. Whales can be spotted from the shore from May to September. Winter helps keep the sometimes-exorbitant prices of staying on the island much more manageable. Traveling in the off-peak season also leads to lower overall visitor numbers, which adds to the feeling of peace and solitude that can be had at any number of places on KI.
Quick Facts When to Spot Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat
- More active at dusk or they are nocturnal like the possums
- If it's hot koalas and kangaroos, prefer to rest in the shade
- Koalas are more active during the breeding season from October to March
- Goannas may be spotted basking in the sun
- Echidnas can be spotted throughout the year if it's not too cold during winter
How to Get to Kangaroo Island
You can get here either by plane with Qantas from Adelaide (in 2018 flights were offered from Melbourne during summer) or by ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw in the north-east. The ferry ride takes roughly 45 minutes. If traveling by plane, we recommend renting a car to explore the island independently.
Top Tip and Accommodations on Kangaroo Island
Usually, Kangaroo Island is an expensive destination to visit, especially when adding the prices for transport to the island and back to the mainland plus your accommodation for your stay. Kangaroo Island is too huge and has too many attractions, hikes, and wildlife. Staying at least two, even three nights is highly recommended. We spent here almost a week. Important is the location; you can either camp in the National Park or stay close to the entrance and visitor centre like at Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve. Consider if you stay in Kingscote, it's a 100 km drive one way. Another option next to the Flinders Chase National Park is the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat. One thing is for sure; you will experience wildlife in abundance in this remote accommodations on Kangaroo Island.