Viewing Australia’s Wildlife Close Up
Australia is an animal lover’s paradise. Not only is it one of the most diverse countries in the world, but it is also home to many unique species that can’t be found anywhere else. Some of Australia’s animals and birds are easy to spot even in the cities, as it’s common to see a possum climbing a tree, giant fruit bats in city parks, and noisy cockatoos flying above the noise of the city traffic. But if you really want to see some exciting animals up close, the following are the best ways to go about it.
Take a tour
There is a huge variety of tours you can take in Australia, and many of them are specifically designed to show you wildlife in their natural habitats.
One of the best places in Australia to see a large concentration and a high level of diversity of animals is on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. By taking a Kangaroo Island tour, you can see kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, echidnas, brush-tailed possums and platypus — all in the same day! Bring along a pair of binoculars to see how many of the 270 species of birds you can spot, and don’t forget to watch out for the dolphins, Australian sea lions and fairy penguins that frequent the area.
Of course, if seeing crocodiles is more your idea of fun, then you could take a Kakadu tour up north in Kakadu National Park, which is also another great place for bird lovers.
Visit a park
Australia boasts 516 national parks, 145 marine parks, 2700 designated conservation areas, 33 Indigenous Protected Areas and 15 natural World Heritage sites. As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities to get out into nature and discover wildlife. Even from the cities, you never have to go far to get to a beautiful park. By spending some time camping or bushwalking, it’s almost impossible not to at least see a herd of kangaroos!
Go whale watching
Southern right whales and humpback whales are among the most common whales that frequent Australian waters. And depending on where you go, you can even see them right from the shore! During their annual migration they pass along the western, southern and eastern coastlines, and all you have to do is be at the right place at the right time. Hervey Bay in Queensland, Warrnambool in south-western Victoria, Victor Harbour in South Australia, and Byron Bay, Eden, Camden Sound in Western Australia, and Narooma in New South Wales are among some of the most popular whale-watching locales.
Try snorkelling and diving
Some of Australia’s most vibrant and fascinating wildlife is below the sea. Diving at the Ningaloo Reef between April and July will get you up close and personal with the world’s largest fish — the whale shark. The Great Barrier Reef is the most iconic of Australia’s wildlife sanctuaries, and is another great place to see underwater fauna. Snorkelling or diving in these tropical, clear waters will bring you face to face with dazzling fish, colourful corals and sponges, dugongs and green turtles.
Of course, if you have tried out all of these options and you still haven’t been able to spot very much wildlife, you could always check out the numerous wildlife sanctuaries, zoos and aquariums. Sometimes this is the best way to see the more dangerous or elusive critters.