Where to See Native Australian Animals in the Wild
One thing I love about Australia is the abundance of wildlife you can see in their natural habitat. Spotting all the funny and fluffy animals of Australia has become one of my favorite pastimes. Most famous Australian animals are probably kangaroos, koalas, wombats, platypuses, echidnas and emus. In this post, I’m sharing my best tips and spots to see these and more unique Australian native animals in the wild!
Kangaroo is probably the first animal that comes to mind when talking about Australian wildlife. There are approximately 34 million kangaroos in Australia so it so it goes without saying that they are not very hard to find. Especially if you are driving you rather not see kangaroos since they have bad habit jumping on the roads just in front of you.
If you want to meet some roos that are human-friendly and don’t jump away when you try to take close pictures or selfies, it is possible at least in these places:
- Jervis Bay, ACT – Especially around Booderee National Park.
- Diamond Head National Park, NSW.
- Arakoon National Park, NSW.
Koala is one of the most iconic animals of Australia. Most of the time these fluffy grey fur balls sit on the branches of eucalyptus trees and sleep. I learned when visiting the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie that Koalas sleep about 20 hours a day and eat four. I have seen wild koalas in:
- Noosa National Park, QLD – Take some of the walks around the National Park and keep your eyes on the trees.
- Great Ocean Road, VIC – There is plenty of opportunities to see koalas along the Great Ocean Road, especially in the Cape Otway National Park. When you drive the road to the Lighthouse, look up to the trees and you will most certainly see koalas. The population of koalas in this area has actually grown so large that it’s causing problems to the ecosystem of the area.
- Tower Hill, VIC –Tower Hill Nature Reserve is located about 15 kilometers West of Warrnambool. There is a lot of wildlife in this area including koalas. We took the lava tongue boardwalk and saw 6 koalas on the way.
Also, Magnetic Island (QLD) is a popular place to spot koalas.
Wombats are my favorite animals in Australia. These cute, chunky, short-legged creatures can run as fast as 40km/h even though you wouldn’t believe it from their appearance. They have big claws for digging and they live underground in the burrows and tunnels they have created. Like many Australian animals, wombats are nocturnal and the best chances of seeing them is during dusk and dawn when they crawl out from their burrows. I have seen wombats in:
- Ronny Creek, Cradle Mountain, TAS – There is a lot of wombats in Ronny Creek area at Cradle Mountain. These wombats are quite used to people so you can get really close to them.
- Kangaroo Valley, NSW – Kangaroo Valley is about two hours South of Sydney. There is a free campsite in the valley and after sunset, there are heaps of wombats strolling around the camp.
- Wilsons Promontory National Park, VIC – There is plenty of wombats in this national park. We managed to see few strolling around Mount Bishop just after sunset and few more on the roadside when it was already dark.
I have heard that Narawntapu National Park (TAS) is also a good place to spot wombats.
This unique creature is one of the hardest ones to see in the wild cause they are nocturnal and generally really shy. Luckily, I know a perfect place where you can almost certainly spot a platypus – Deloraine River in Tasmania. There is a family of eight platypuses living in the river and because the river is located in the middle of the town the platypuses are used to sounds and are not shy at all. I stayed 11 days in the caravan park located by the river and saw platypuses almost every day – and in broad daylight!
Also, Eugnella National Park (QLD) is supposed to be a good place for platypus spotting. I went here just before sunset but saw no platypuses. If you really want to see a platypus then I would say Tasmania is your safest bet.
Read More: 5 Places to Go in Tasmania
Echidnas are found all over Australia. I have seen echidnas in Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, Otway near the Great Ocean Road and in Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria.
I think cassowary is one of the funniest looking animals in Australia. They look like giant turkeys wearing a helmet. Cassowaries live in Northern Queensland and the one in the picture we saw on our way to Nandroya Falls (west from Innisfail). As we know, Australia is a home to many dangerous animals and unsurprisingly Cassowary is the most dangerous bird in the world – if it feels threatened, it will attack you. Cassowaries are endangered and not that easy to find, but if you happen to see one I suggest to keep your distance.
I have heard that there is a lot of emus in the outback, but if you are staying close to the coast Tower Hill (VIC) is a good place for spotting emus. We also saw a lot of emus when driving in South Australia.
Dolphins & Whales
There is plenty of dolphins living near the Australian coast. If you spend a lot of time on the beaches on the east coast, especially between Yamba and Agnes Waters, it is hard to miss them. Dolphins are keen surfers so you usually find them at surf breaks. I don’t have very good pictures of dolphins because almost every time I see them I’m in the water. Pippi Beach in Yamba and beaches around Byron are good places for dolphin spotting. If you want to get closer, grab a surfboard and paddle out – sometimes they come really close to you and play around. If you are lucky you might even catch a party wave with them!
Whale migrating season on the east coast is from May to November. You can book whale watching tours from various locations, Hervey Bay being probably the most popular one. If you are broke or just don’t want to go on a tour, you can also do whale watching from the land. Although, usually they swim quite far. Byron Bay Lighthouse is good spot for whale watching. I have also seen a lot of whales from Brunswick Heads, which is about 10km north from Byron Bay.
In addition to these there are a lot more interesting animals to be found, like possums, various reptiles and different bird species, but these you can see all around Australia.
If you have some good tips for wildlife spotting in Australia, please share in the comments. 🙂
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