Unique and exotic wildlife is one of the things I find most intriguing about Australia. I always knew of their iconic animals- like kangaroos and koalas- but I learned about (and saw) so many more interesting and lesser-known species during my time in the country.
Australia has more than 140 species of marsupials, boasts the world’s largest coral reef system, and has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent. Due to its isolation, more than 80% of Australia’s mammals and reptiles are found nowhere else.
Australia has famous zoos and sanctuaries around the country, but you don’t have to visit one to get up close and personal with Aussie wildlife. Whether you are on the East Coast or West Coast, in the Red Centre, or in the far North or South- there is always an opportunity to interact with Australian wildlife.
These are some of the spots where you can easily (and sometimes freely) spot Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.
1) Dingoes – Fraser Island, Queensland
With roughly 300 wild dogs on the island, you are likely to see a dingo here. I spotted quite a few while camping on Fraser Island for a few days.
2) Humpack Whales – Hervey Bay, Queensland
Migrating whales visit this area between late July and November.
3) Quokka – Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Quokka are native to a small area in Southwestern Australia- including Rottnest Island- where you are almost guaranteed to spot one.
4) Dolphins – Monkey Mia, Western Australia
Wild bottlenose dolphins have been visiting the same beach at Monkey Mia for 40 years, so you are basically guaranteed to see them up close. A few people are selected everyday to hand feed them, as well.
Monkey Mia is also a great place to spot turtles, stingrays, emu, and dugongs.
5) Whale Sharks – Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Every year from April to July, Whale Sharks gather in Ningaloo Marine Park when there is a mass spawning of coral.
You will also see an abundance of colourful tropical fish, reef sharks, giant clams, rays, and much more at this vibrant reef. The reef is literally right off the beach, so you can swim to it without having to hire a boat or pay for a tour.
6) Koalas – Great Ocean Road, Victoria
During a Great Ocean Road tour, we stopped at a small town called Kennett River, and were able to spot a few Koalas within minutes of walking around. There are also a few other areas along the Great Ocean Road where you can stop and scan the trees for these sleepy little marsupials.
7) Crocodiles – Adelaide River, Northern Territory
You can see crocs from a close range on a Crocodile Cruise departing from Darwin.
8) Echinda’s, Wombats, and Kangaroos – Totnes Valley, New South Wales
I spent three weeks working on a farm a few hours outside of Sydney and saw an abundance of wildlife during my stay. Troops of kangaroos, wallabies, an echinda, a wombat, kookaburras, and a red bellied black snake- to name a few.
You don’t have to go to this specific town, but if you happen to be WWOOFing during your time in Oz, you are guaranteed to see heaps of wildlife.
9) Koalas and Rock Wallabies – Magnetic Island, Queensland
‘The Forts Walk’ is a 4km trail on Magnetic Island which provides excellent look-out points over the island. Along with beautiful views, this trail is a popular place to spot wild koalas.
At Geoffrey Bay you can also see Rock Wallabies and (if you have the proper fruits or vegetables) you can hand feed them.
10) Cassowary – Cape tribulation, Queensland
This village, where the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef meet, is home to over 70 species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
You may spot the elusive and endangered Cassowary on walking and hiking trails in the area.
Great post, Ashley, and lovely photos! I’ll bookmark this for later when I go to AU. Thanks!
Thank you, Miriam! 🙂 Have a great trip to Australia!
Great post! There are so many fantastic places for seeing wildlife in Australia. Since it’s right next door to my country (New Zealand), it never seemed like a very exciting destination to me when I was younger, but now there’s so much I want to see there!
Thank you! New Zealand is also a great place for amazing wildlife experiences, so I can understand why you may not have been interested in going to Australia!
Yes, it can be! And at least none of them can kill us 😉
I had the lucky experience of swimming with the Whale Sharks in the Ningaloo Reef- so so stunning. Lovely pictures, brought great memories flooding back 🙂
Thank you! That must have been such an amazing experience! I was actually on a Manta Ray snorkeling tour when I spotted that Whale Shark from the boat, but I didn’t have the chance to swim with them while I was in Coral Bay. It’s high on my bucket list, though!