Raymond Island

Top choice Wildlife Reserve

in Paynesville & Raymond Island

Home to a colony of around 250 koalas, Raymond Island offers pretty much guaranteed sightings of the cute marsupials in the wild. Directly across from Paynesville, the island (population 548) is easily accessed by a five-minute ferry ride, from where there's a signed 1.2km Koala Trail (20 minutes) leading you through the residential streets and a tract of forest; look up in the trees to spot koalas snoozing or munching eucalyptus leaves. Echidnas are also regularly seen.

There's also a waterfront boardwalk that's wonderful for a scenic stroll.

Most of the koalas were relocated here from Phillip Island in the 1950s. Sadly, in recent years the koalas have faced starvation due to dry conditions, clearing of forest for bushfire protection and an increase in the human population.

The flat-bottom car-and-passenger ferry operates every 20 minutes from 6.40am to 11pm (to midnight Friday and Saturday). It's free for pedestrians and cyclists; cars cost $13 and motorcycles $6.