Wildlife spotting in Australia

23 November 2016

Australia might be known for koalas, kangaroos and spiders but the wildlife doesn’t stop there. Home to quokkas, penguins and Albert's lyrebirds, the island is a magical destination for wildlife-lovers.

Read on to discover the animals and birds you could meet on your trip down under…

Dugongs and sharks

Where: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Nestled in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium you’ll find over 700 species, including penguins, platypus, and fish.

It’s also home to two adorable dugongs, Pig and Wuru. The pair were orphaned and couldn’t be released into the wild, so they are the only two dugongs in Australia. These big sea cows are herbivores and are closely related to elephants!

While you’re at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, don’t miss the chance to walk over Sicklefin Lemon and Grey Nurse Sharks on the scary Shark Walk.

Penguins and quolls

Where: Phillip Island Nature Parks

Little penguins on Phillips Island National Park

As night falls, the world’s smallest penguins come out to play! Having spent the day diving in and out of the sea, these little penguins waddle ashore. Gaze at the Penguin Parade and watch as they waddle out of the surf and across the sand back to their homes.

As you travel to Phillip Island, don’t miss a stop at the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park. As well as koalas, emus and wallabies, you can spot quolls. These endangered, nocturnal mammals look like cats and have white spotty coats!


Where: Rottnest Island

Quokka on Rottnest Island

Alongside Rottnest Island’s 63 glistening white beaches and 20 bays, you’ll find the adorable quokkas. A similar size to a cat, these furry creatures were named by the Aboriginal people living in the south-west of Western Australia.

The island, though, gets its name from the fact that quokkas were thought to resemble rats! When the Dutch spotted quokkas on the island in the 1600s, they described them as rats the size of domestic cats. This gave the island its name, “Rotte nest” or “rat’s nest”.

Rottnest Island is a haven for wildlife and you’ll notice lots of other animals there, too. A colony of New Zealand Fur Seals play at Cathedral Rocks, while from September to November, Humpback Whales glide through the water around the island.

Wild dolphins

Where: Rockingham Bay

Living in the twinkling turquoise waters of Rockingham Bay are 180 wild bottlenose dolphins. And if you set sail on a charter boat trip, you might get to swim with them!

The sheltered water of the bay is an ideal spot for the wild dolphins and on a boat trip you can watch as the graceful dolphins jump through the waves, before hopping in beside them. Complete with wetsuit and snorkel, swimming near these elegant creatures is a spectacular experience.

Koalas and kangaroos in the wild

Where: In the bush

Koala in Australia

Join an eco-tour and keep an eye out up ahead for bouncing kangaroos and koalas nibbling leaves on treetops!

The day-long tours take you through the Australian bush, past aromatic gum trees and open plains, in search of two of Australia’s most famous marsupials – the koala and the kangaroo. Learn about these fascinating creatures while searching for them in their natural habitat. On the way you’ll most likely spy a few other furry friends as well, including wallabies, possums and emus!

Jumping crocodiles

Where: Adelaide River

Always wanted to see a crocodile up close without being too close? Try a crocodile cruise!

Hop on board your boat and watch as giant saltwater crocs leap out of the river to grab food from your guide. The Adelaide River is known for its huge crocodiles and a cruise is a perfect way to see these magnificent beasts without being too close to the action!

Sea lions and echidnas

Where: Kangaroo Island

Sea lions on Kangaroo Island

A remote wildlife wonderland, Kangaroo Island is home to a wild colony of rare and endangered sea lions. A trip to Seal Bay offers a chance to see these majestic animals in their habitat and to watch their amusing antics.

On Kangaroo Island, you’ll also come across kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and seals, but don’t forget to look out for the echidnas! These little critters are covered in spikes and have long, thin snouts. Echidnas are shy so you’ll probably find them curled up like a hedgehog but step gently by and you might just spot one wandering past!

Tasmanian Devils

Where: Healesville Sanctuary

Tasmanian Devil in Australia

With over 200 species of native animals, Australia’s Healesville Sanctuary sits in the lush forest of the Great Divide. Birds, reptiles and mammals all live at the sanctuary but you can also spot one of Australia’s infamous creatures, the Tasmanian Devil.

With its stout body and big head, this slow-moving, furry black marsupial is not known for being one of the cuddliest creatures but it’s really exciting to see one bumbling around!

Albert's Lyrebirds, Bowerbirds, Wedge Tailed Eagles and King Parrots

Where: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Lamington National Park

Bird in Lamington National Park

With UNESCO World Heritage status, Lamington National Park in Queensland will delight wildlife-lovers of all ages, and especially bird-lovers. Nestled at the centre sits the

There are over 160 species of sub-tropical birdlife and at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, nestled in the centre of the park, visitors can watch as Alberts Lyrebird, Bowerbirds, Wedge Tailed Eagles and King Parrots fly by.

There’s also a treetop canopy walk so you can feel as high as the birds (don’t worry, it’s only 16 metres high!) and watch as animals and birds make their way through the stunning rainforest.

Ready to venture through the Australian bush and beaches to meet some of these extraordinary creatures? Contact your Travel Counsellor to plan your wildlife trip in Australia!


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