Geographically isolated Australia is home to many unique creatures that can only be found there. While it’s easy to see these native species at a zoo, there’s nothing like seeing an animal in its natural habitat. The best places to see Australian wildlife, broken down by state, include kangaroos, koalas, quokkas, and cassowaries.
The Cassowary, the world’s third largest bird, should be easy to spot, but these elusive creatures are rarely seen in the wild. The Daintree Discovery Centre in northern Queensland and Cape Tribulation are the best places to see one. Be warned, shy Cassowaries are territorial, so keep your distance if you happen to spot one.
Phillip Island is the best place to see Australian Wildlife
The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is the only commercial venue in the world where you can see penguins in their natural habitat, and you will not be disappointed. Each day at sunset, watch as little penguins wobble up Summerland Beach and into their burrows – don’t forget to bundle up as it can get chilly.
The Kennett River
Koalas spend up to 19 hours of the day sleeping in Eucalyptus trees, making them difficult to spot; however, there is one location in the wild where you are likely to see these cuddly creatures. Numerous Koala colonies can be found along the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay. Grey River Road and the area around Kafe Koala are both popular hangouts. Remember to keep an eye out for Blinky Bill, who may be munching on eucalyptus leaves.
The Nymboida River – Australian Wildlife
Nymboida River, popular for white water rafting and canoeing, is also home to one of the largest platypus communities on the North Coast. Set up camp at Platypus Flat and rent a canoe to increase your chances of seeing these shy creatures while exploring the river on your own. The best time to see it is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, between Pollacks Bridge and the Nymboida Coaching Station Inn.
Along with the kangaroo, the emu appears on the Australian Coat of Arms, a large flightless bird that could outrun Usain Bolt. Emus, like kangaroos, are frequently seen in grasslands, but Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve west of Warrnambool is the best place to see them. In 1892, the Reserve was designated as Victoria’s first National Park, and it is still the best place to see emus, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and echidnas in their natural habitat.
Wombats are rarely seen as nocturnal burrowers, but on Maria Island, off the east coast of Tasmania, these fuzzy marsupials can be seen waddling throughout the national park. A short ferry ride from Triabunna will take you to the 115-square-kilometer island, where wombats graze unafraid of humans.
If you want to see a kangaroo, you should go to an island named after Australia’s most famous marsupial. An isolated island just a short flight or ferry ride from Adelaide has a thriving wildlife population thanks to an abundance of protected parks and conservation reserves. Flinders Chase National Park, Lathami Conservation Park, and Kelly Hill Conservation Park are the best places on the island to see Kangaroos.
The Ningaloo Reef is one of the best place to see Australian Wildlife
Divers can swim alongside the peaceful whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef between March and August. These filter feeding sharks can grow to be 12 meters long and are completely harmless, making swimming alongside them a relaxing experience. Humpback whales, dugongs, and manta rays may pass through depending on the season.
The Tasmanian Devil is more commonly heard than seen, thanks to its shrill screech, but if you want to see the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, Devils@Cradle is the place to go. The conservation facility offers guided Day Keeper Tours and After Dark Feeding Tours where you can get up close and personal with these rambunctious creatures.
A smiling Quokka populates an island paradise just off the coast of Perth. These curious nocturnal marsupials are native to Western Australia and are not afraid to pose for selfies with tourists. While feeding Rottnest Island’s furry residents is punishable by fine, the island does provide tourists with the opportunity to see these creatures in their natural habitat.
Adelaide River – Australian Wildlife
While no one in their right mind would want to come into contact with a croc in the wild, there are a few locations where you can safely observe these prehistoric predators. Adelaide River offers cruises where visitors can see saltwater crocodiles jumping out of the water for food, including Brutus, who once ate a bull shark.