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8 places to see exotic marine animals on dry land

Kangaroo Island sleeping sea lions

Photo: Domenico Salvagnin/Flickr

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Kangaroo Island, Australia

Australia's third largest island, Kangaroo Island sits off the southern coastline about 70 miles from Adelaide. Sparsely inhabited and with well-protected animal populations, the island is sometimes called Australia's version of Galapagos. Australian sea lions and fur seals can be seen on the island's beaches, and there is also a colony of little penguins. These small flightless birds are very elusive since they come ashore only at night and hide along the rocky sections of the coast until it is time to return to the water.

Over half of the island has never been cleared for agriculture, so native plants still thrive on land. Sea lion colonies can be visited at Seal Bay Conservation Park, though visitors are permitted to walk on the beach only as part of a guided tour. New Zealand fur seals congregate at several points around the island, mostly near the picturesque rock formation known as Admiral's Arch, inside the island's main national park.