An A to Z of Australian Wildlife Encounters
Australia is home to some of the most intriguing creatures on the planet. More than 50 million years of geographic isolation has resulted in a number of unique species found nowhere else in the world.
High on most visitors to Australia’s “Must-see” list are some of the nations cute and cuddly natives – the koala and kangaroo perhaps at the top of this list. But there is also so much more to see across the continent that we have compiled a complete A-Z of wildlife encounters and exclusive travel experiences on offer:
According to Aboriginal legend, the mythological great Rainbow Serpent created the land and all the animals on it .. today a visit to Arnhem Land provides one of the most authentic introductions to our Aboriginal heritage, artworks and animal life: from marine turtles and seabirds, barramundi, bilby and buffalo, crocodiles and cockatoos to kangaroos, emus and wallabies.
Birdwatchers will delight in seeing a pair of brolgas dancing in the Northern Territory.Spend the night in Bamurru Plains’ treehouse birdhide overlooking the Mary River Floodplains for a chance to spot these beautiful birds and countless other native species.
Catch the giant cuttlefish migration in South Australia. Swim with these graceful glittering creatures that congregate just off the coast each June and July.
Dive into the turquoise waters off Rockingham (less than an hour south of Perth) for the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins (between September and June). Your day is also likely to include encounters with Australian sea lions and little penguins.
Eat lunch with the world’s leading echidna expert on Kangaroo Island to learn more about these curious spiny creatures.
Follow the scenic boardwalk at Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island to watch Fur Seal Pups playing in the rock pools below and stroll along the boardwalk at Seal Bay to see sea lions basking on the beach.
Get face to face with a Great White Shark ! Those that are brave enough can submerge themselves off the coast of South Australia in a cage dive experience with these magnificent creatures of the deep.
Hop in to the tropical waters off the Ningaloo Coast for the opportunity to swim with humpback whales that visit this coast between August and November each year. Or if you’re visiting between March and July, this stretch of coast offers the opportunity to swim with the gentlest giants of the sea – the Whale Shark. Swimmers are also likely to see dugongs, manta rays, turtles and more on these bucket-list-worthy experiences.
Introduced into Australia in the 1840’s to assist with the inland exploration of Australia, camels now number more than 300,000 and are exported to the Middle East. Watch the sun set into the Indian Ocean with a sunset camel ride in Broome.
Join the joeys on the golf course at Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road. A friendly mob of kangaroos make the golf course their home all year round.
Keep your eye out for koalas sleeping high in the treetops as you tour Kangaroo Island with an expert nature guide.
Learn all about Philip Island’s Little Penguins with a behind-the-scenes ranger-led tour. This action-packed day out from Melbourne also offers the opportunity to see fur seals, koalas and kangaroos in the wild.
Meet a Minke Whale on the Great Barrier Reef. The Ribbon Reefs at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef are the only place on the planet where you can dive with these beautiful creatures that visit the region each June / July.
Night walks at Spicers Peak Lodge in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region will introduce you to a number of nocturnal natives. Head out at sunset for the chance to see some of Australia’s unique wildlife when they are most active: kangaroos, possums, wallabies, bandicoots, owls and more.
Observe osprey circling over the ocean at the Cape Range National Park. Stay at Sal Salis luxury tented eco camp in the national park on the Western Australian coast to see countless other birdlife including the flightless Australian Emu as well as lizards, kangaroos and the rare black-footed rock wallaby.
Play with a platypus at Healesville Sanctuary. Notoriously elusive in the wild, the Healesville Sanctuary on the edge of the Yarra Valley has introduced a unique hands-on experience to step into the shallow waters of their platypus play pool to play and feed these most curious of creatures.
Quokkas almost queue up to have their “selfie” taken with you on Rottnest Island, only a short ferry ride from Perth. These cute and smiley creatures have already had their snapshots taken with the likes of Hugh Jackman and Martin Clunes.
Roos of all kinds: kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos roam freely and are spotted frequently at Emirates One and Only Wolgan Valley. Fascinated by these creatures, naturalist Charles Darwin visited the property in 1836.
See giant Saltwater Crocodiles as you cruise the Sampan River. Home to one of the largest populations of estuarine crocodiles in the world, the region is best accessed from Bamurru Plains, a luxury tented wilderness camp where visitors can also see wallabies and wallaroos, buffalo and birdlife as they explore the property on foot, by 4Wd or airboat.
Take part in Saffire Freycinet’s quest to save the endangered Tassie Devil from extinction with a visit to the Lodge’s unique Tasmanian Devil Experience.
Uncover a unique Underwater World with a visit to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – swim with sea turtles and dive with dugongs, meet manta-ray, dolphins and a wide range of brightly coloured fish that swim among the region’s breathtaking coral gardens.
View a variety of wildlife with a grand photography air tour over the vast Australian outback with opportunities to see jabiru and kangaroo, crocodiles and cockatoos.
Walk with wombats on Maria island. The small island off Tasmania is a sanctuary for various Australian natives, as well as being one of the best places to see wombats in the wild, it is not uncommon for visitors to see kangaroos, wallabies, Cape Barren geese, paedmelons and Tasmanian devils. The surrounding waters are home to dolphins, seals and migrating whales
‘Xplore Tasmania’s spectacular wilderness in search of the ‘xtinct Tasmanian Tiger. Whilst these creatures were officially listed as extinct in 1936, there have been nearly 4000 unconfirmed sightings since then and many still believe their existence.
Yellow footed rock wallabies are among your walking companions on the Arkaba Walk that traverses a 60,000 acre private wildlife conservancy in the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Previously on the brink of extinction, Arkaba’s efforts in wildlife conservation are having great results for the Rock Wallabies and other Australian natives which can be found on the property including kangaroos, emus and a wide range of birdlife.
Zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across the continent also offer opportunities for unique experiences and up close encounters with Australia’s wildlife. Wake up in a tented safari camp overlooking the Sydney Skyline at Taronga Zoo, come face to face with a 5 metre crocodile submerged in a cage under the water at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, cuddle a koala at Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or sleep beneath a tank full of sharks at the brand new Cairns aquarium.
Image courtesy of Taronga Zoo – Roar and Snore.
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