10 Best Places To See Wildlife in Australia
From watching penguins and whales in Antarctica and being surrounded by polar bears in the Arctic to sensational safaris in the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, and Kenya, we’ve had countless wonderful wildlife encounters.
Even after 12 years of travel blogging, there are still many places on our world travel bucket list that we have yet to visit. No destination ranks higher on that list in terms of wildlife encounters than Australia, the only continent we’ve never visited.
I became interested in wildlife conservation after watching Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin in the 1990s, and seeing the vast array of animals in Australia has been a long-held dream of mine.
Unfortunately, the pandemic put an end to that dream. However, we recently collaborated with Australian Wildlife Journeys (a conservation-focused collective of small eco-tour operators) to compile this list of ethical ways to see wildlife in Australia.
Read on for an in-depth look at responsible Australian wildlife tours, including birdwatching in the Daintree Rainforest and Murray River safaris, as well as incredible adventures on Kangaroo Island and Maria Island.
1. Observing Birds In The Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest, one of the world’s oldest and largest forests (180 million years old and 463 square miles), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in North Queensland, Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, borders it, and the 87-mile Daintree River runs through the lush forest.
So it’s no surprise that this fertile ecosystem is home to an incredible variety of rare flora (even more than the Amazon Rainforest), as well as an array of interesting Australian animals.
Birdwatching opportunities abound for guests on FNQ Nature Tours’ 4-day Nature, Wildlife & Conservation Safari. More than 450 species of Australian birds have been recorded in the area (more than half of the continent’s total species).
They will also have the opportunity to take part in conservation projects that will protect Australian wildlife such as the Spotted-tail Quoll, Tree Kangaroos, and 18 different species of Australian raptors.
2. Bird & Nature Week On Christmas Island
Christmas Island, located about 950 miles northwest of Australia in the Indian Ocean (220 miles south of Java and Sumatra), is a remote Australian territory that is mostly protected as a National Park.
The island is a nature lover’s paradise, with spectacular hiking trails and waterfalls, a plethora of flora and fauna, and excellent reefs for snorkeling and Scuba diving all around it.
The island is home to a variety of native Australian animals, including nesting seabirds, critically endangered Flying Foxes, and the Christmas Island Red Crab (which is famed for its late Fall migration to the sea).
The Indian Ocean Experiences’ 8-day Christmas Island Bird & Nature Week tour is a great way to see these and many other Australian animals, including birds like the Christmas Island Goshawk, Red-footed and Brown Boobies, and the Christmas Frigatebird.
Guests will be able to see conservation scientists at work, as they will be given nightly presentations about the various projects they are working on to improve the island’s ecology and protect endangered animals in Australia.
3. Go On A Safari On The Murray River
The Murray River is one of the world’s longest rivers, stretching 1,558 miles across southeastern Australia, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
Despite its enormous size, the river transports only a fraction of the water carried by similarly sized rivers in other parts of the world, with a highly variable flow. In fact, it has completely dried up at least three times during severe droughts.
Fortunately, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Murray River Trails Fund are working to support organizations at the forefront of improving the region’s biodiversity, floodplain health, and endangered species status in Australia.
On their 3-day Murray River Safari, visitors can take guided hikes and outback drives to see Australian mammals such as Koalas and Western Grey Kangaroos, as well as learn about the river’s mythology among Aboriginal Australians.
Guests on the Murray River Trails tour can also take guided canoe trips and/or pontoon cruises to see native Australian birds like Royal Spoonbills, Black Swans, Darters, Kites, and Parrots.
4. Explore The Eyre Peninsula’s Wildlife
South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is bordered by the Spencer Gulf to the east and the open bay of the Great Australian Bight to the west.
The peninsula, which is home to the Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks, allows visitors to see a variety of Australian animals both on land and at sea.
Emus, Kangaroos, Koalas, and the Rosenbergs Goanna, a 5 foot long monitor lizard, are among the terrestrial wildlife you’re likely to see on the Eyre Peninsula Wildlife & Ocean Encounters tour with Australian Coastal Safaris.
There is also a diverse range of shorebirds, seabirds, and parrots.
You may also have the opportunity to swim in the wild with playful Australian Sea Lions and Bottlenose Dolphins, or observe Great White Sharks from the safety of an underwater cage if you dare!
5. Maria Island Hiking
Maria Island (actually two islands) is located 2.5 miles off the east coast of Tasmania and is part of the Maria Island National Park.
It had been home to Aboriginal Australians for centuries prior to the Colonial era. Several convict settlements were also established on Maria Island during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Today, this Australian island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with 2,300-foot mountains in the north and a 7.25-square-mile marine reserve off the island’s northwest coast.
Guests can see threatened and endangered Australian animals such as Bennett’s Wallabies, Common Wombats, Forester Kangaroos, Tasmanian Pademelons, and Tasmanian Devils on a four-day Maria Island Walk.
You may also see 125 different bird species, including all of Tasmania’s endemic bird species, the vibrantly colored Swift Parrot, and the adorable little Spotted Pardalote.
6. Search For Killer Whales In The Bremer Canyon
The Bremer Canyon is a submarine feature of the Bremer Marine Park, which covers 1,727 square miles off Western Australia’s south coast.
Bremer Bay, which has a depth of 19,400 feet, is one of the world’s most popular whale-watching destinations.
This is largely due to the fact that more than 100 Killer Whales (also known as Orcas) visit the area each year from January to April. During this time, visitors have a 95% chance of seeing them.
Dolphins, Long-Finned Pilot Whales, Sperm Whales, 3 species of sharks, New Zealand Fur Seals, Giant Squid, and the rare Beaked Whale may be seen on the full-day Bremer Canyon Killer Whale Expedition with Naturaliste Charters.
Pelagic species such as the Flesh-footed Shearwater, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, and Wandering Albatross will also be visible.
7. In Ningaloo, Swim With Whale Sharks
Whale sharks are the world’s largest known fish species, reaching lengths of 40 feet and weighing up to 20,000 pounds.
But they’re truly gentle giants, swimming in slow, lazy circles at the surface to filter-feed on krill and plankton.
Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico was without a doubt one of the most incredible wildlife encounters we’ve ever had. It’s truly breathtaking, both literally and metaphorically (they swim faster than you’d think!).
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ningaloo Marine Park in Australia provides exceptional opportunities to swim with whale sharks responsibly on a full-day Deluxe Whaleshark Swim tour from Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo.
You may also see Bottlenose Dolphins, Australian Humpback Dolphins, and Dugongs, as well as educational talks on the region’s biodiversity from marine conservation experts.
8. Explore The Wildlife In East Gippsland
If seeing Koalas and Kangaroos in Australia is on your bucket list, you should consider visiting Victoria’s 12,254-square-mile East Gippsland region.
East Gippsland, located in southeastern Australia, offers a diverse range of relatively pristine ecosystems to explore, ranging from lush forests and massive groves of eucalyptus trees to white sandy beaches and coastal heathlands.
Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours’ 4-day East Gippsland Wildlife Journey allows guests to explore the area’s remarkable biodiversity, from Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Echidnas on Raymond Island to Koalas and Sugar Gliders in the forest and Lace Monitors resting by tranquil rivers.
Birdwatchers may also see rare Australian species such as Eastern Whipbirds, dazzling King Parrots, and intricately tailed Superb Lyrebirds (which do a fantastic job of mimicking other birds).
9. Whale Watching In Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay, located on the Fraser Coast of southern Queensland, serves as a departure point for tours to Fraser Island, another great place to see wildlife in Australia.
However, because of the annual Humpback Whale migration, it is best known as the world’s first protected Whale Heritage Site (which lasts from July to November).
Every year, thousands of whales visit the bay, and Humpbacks are known for being an active, inquisitive species. As a result, breaches, whale songs, and other forms of interaction are the norm rather than the exception in this environment.
Because Hervey Bay is part of the Great Sandy Marine Park, visitors on the Ultimate Hervey Bay Whale Watching tour with Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures Australia may also see dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, seabirds, and other marine life.
Guests can also learn about conservation from marine biologists and listen to whale songs using underwater hydrophones, thanks to the eco-tour operator!
10. Visit Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest island at 1,701 square miles, is located 8 miles off the continent’s southwest coast, near the city of Adelaide.
This nature lover’s paradise is another great place to visit if you want to see Kangaroos and Koalas in Australia. Nature reserves cover more than a third of the country’s total land area.
The 3-day Conservation Connection Kangaroo Island tour from Exceptional Kangaroo Island offers an immersive experience, from seeing penguin colonies in Flinders Chase National Park to the “Dolphin Watch” conservation program. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see unusual Australian animals such as Short-beaked Echidnas (one of only three egg-laying mammals in the world), Goannas, Tiger Snakes, and others.
If you’re lucky, you’ll see the endemic Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo, whose near-extinction recovery is one of Australia’s great wildlife conservation success stories.
Topic: 10 Best Places To See Wildlife in Australia
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By: Travel Pixy
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