Seal Bay has been home to an Australian sea lion population for thousands of years and offers one of the most exceptional nature-based experiences in the world. It is the only place in the world where you can see Australian sea lions – an endangered species – at close quarters in their home environment.
The majority of visitors to Kangaroo Island visit Seal Bay and along with Flinders Chase National Park, is one of the island’s top attractions.
It is timely – in light of the opportunity to reimagine the connected parks and wilderness areas of western Kangaroo Island to also consider what could be reimagined at Seal Bay to integrate all of these locations into a world-class, cohesive and authentic Kangaroo Island experience.
This once in a lifetime planning opportunity will involve community and stakeholders in a wide-reaching and collaborative process.
The first phase of engagement involved focus group session. These were about big picture, visionary ideas and guiding principles – not decision-making. We wanted to gather insights about what park users, stakeholders and visitors would potentially like to see in future, identify parameters and issues for consideration and understand likely benefits and interrelationships with the local community, economy and environment. Representatives from stakeholder groups including, but not limited to, Friends of Parks, tourism operators, primary producers, local businesses, park visitors, local parks staff and more have participated in a series of focus group sessions to reimagine the visitor experience across both the western Kangaroo Island parks and Seal Bay. We have also held one on one and small group meetings and held drop-in sessions.
Following the focus group sessions, two Community Reference Groups will be established (one for the western Kangaroo Island parks, one for Seal Bay) with membership comprising a representative cross-section of focus group participants. These Community Reference Groups will work through and refine the ideas raised and the key themes we have heard from community and stakeholders through our engagement activities to date. The end product will be two documents – one for the Western end Kangaroo Island parks and one for Seal Bay - that summarise a vision, key themes, guiding principles and a preliminary design brief.
Community Reference Group sessions will be held in September/October. Summary findings will be shared here.
For those who have been unable to catch up with the team in person (noting also that we have some limitations on participant numbers as a result of COVID-19) the online survey remains open.