Kangaroo Valley is located in New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the only closed valleys in the world — a landscape of rolling farmland set against stunning cliffs with a river running through it. As its name implies, it is home to thousands of Eastern grey kangaroos.

This documentary directed by Kylie Scott and narrated by Sarah Snook tells the coming-of-age story of Mala, a female joey who at the beginning of the film is just ready to leave her mother’s pouch and face the challenges of the outside world.

Mala in her mother's pouch

Although the valley seems to be a perfect environment (it is certainly picturesque), the winter brings frigid cold and the summer is swelteringly hot with swarms of insects biting the kangaroos. Mala sticks close to her mother during her first year, as she learns to jump fast and find food.

Of course, the kangaroos are not alone in the valley. A wombat appears periodically from his underground burrow to make sure no other wombats are intruding on his territory. A pack of dingoes prey on the kangaroos. One young one must prove his worth as a hunter. In a scary sequence he chases and almost catches up with Mala.

Grown-up kangaroos

By the end of her first year, Mala has learned how to survive and take her own place in Kangaroo Valley. We wish we could follow her longer and see her raise her own joeys!