Being an ancient and isolated island country, Australia is filled with a truly incredible number of mammals, reptiles, frogs, and birds only found in Australia.
The most common image of Australian wildlife is our quirky marsupials, including koalas, kangaroos, and wombats. However, there are many other endemic species that live amongst our lands, waters, and skies to discover when travelling in Australia—whether in a nose-to-nose encounter, or from a suitably safe distance.
Ongoing conservation and rehabilitation efforts are vital to ensure our future generations can enjoy these creatures for years to come. Many organisations provide remarkable opportunities to meet and learn about our wildlife in natural and educational settings before releasing them back into their native habitat. The other way to encounter our fascinating locals is to discover wildlife in the wild itself, seeing them in nature outside of human influence. Explore our five favourite regions to discover Australian wildlife in the wild, and the memorable luxury tours and experiences that can take you there.
Top End (Northern Territory)
The Top End is one of Australia’s best known wilderness areas. It is filled with diverse landscapes of tropical savanna, expansive National Parks, teeming wetlands and floodplains sitting alongside coursing rivers, expansive cattle stations, and pockets of paperbark rainforest. Within these regions, hundreds of species of birds and reptiles, unique mammals, diverse aquatic life, and the notorious saltwater crocodile (known locally as ‘salties’) can be discovered.
Eco-luxury camping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself into the Top End’s environments. The Bamurru Plains glampsite rests on coastal floodplains alongside savanna woodlands and brings the Top End’s diverse wildlife straight to your doorstep. Over 236 species of bird call the region home, including the Jabiru / ‘Jesus’ bird that walks on water, while agile wallabies, dingoes, estuarine crocodiles, wild pigs, and buffalo can be observed by foot, by boat, or by vehicle. Further into Arnhem Land, travellers with Venture North can witness the abundant birdlife and crocodiles that line the roads of the remote Top End. Continuing further north onto the private Cobourg Peninsula campsite, admire a protected and rarely visited Marine Park housing over six species of marine turtle coexisting alongside manta rays, dolphins, sharks, ocean fish, mud crabs, and crocodiles.
Off the coast of the Australian mainland, Tasmania is home to its own distinct critters, with the most memorable being the audacious Tasmanian devil. Alongside these marsupials, wombats, echidnas, pademelons, platypus, dolphins, tiny penguins and more can be found across Tasmania’s coastlines and abundant National Parks.
The esteemed family-run operation Pepper Bush Adventures offers one of the country’s finest wildlife in the wild viewing experiences. After enjoying a campfire dinner in north-eastern Tasmanian forest, guests will be treated to a nocturnal display of forester kangaroos, brush-tail possums, eastern quolls, Tasmanian pademelons, wombats and Bennett’s wallabies grazing and conducting their nocturnal business in serene surrounds far away from crowds.
Supporting local conservation efforts is an equally important part of preserving wildlife in their natural state. A visit to a wildlife sanctuary or rescue contributing to the rehabilitation of the natural environment is a fabulous way to give back to the natural world and the community that helps nurture it. Tasmania is home to raptor/bird-of-prey refuges and wildlife sanctuaries alike which are a great place to learn more about Australia’s unique fauna with expert guides.
Tropical North Queensland
Home to three World Heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, Tropical North Queensland teems with endemic species not found anywhere else in the country. These range from the dramatic living dinosaurs, Cassowaries, to hundreds of insect, butterfly and frog species hidden in the rainforest.
Within the Daintree Rainforest, explore with a passionate local guide and wander through the ancient landscape on an eco-friendly tour specifically designed to not disturb the natural environment. Sail past notorious saltwater crocodiles, endemic rainforest skinks, and colourful birdlife. On the Great Barrier Reef, discover abundant aquatic creatures swimming between vibrant corals. Snorkel amongst colourful coral gardens just off the shore of your five-star resort, dive on the edge of the continental shelf to swim with tropical fish, or observe Minke whales, humpback whales, and other whale species during their seasonal migrations on a specialised yacht charter. The watery world of the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular places to see Australian wildlife in the wild, and for good reason.
Kangaroo Island (South Australia)
Within an already distinctive country, Kangaroo Island stands out as a unique island just off the coast of South Australia. One of the world’s greatest nature-based destinations, this island is mostly free of feral animals and consequently teems with native bushland and over 500km of coastline, housing wildlife ranging from Australian sea lions to the eponymous Kangaroo.
Explore the island with acclaimed locals with Exceptional Kangaroo Island and explore bush trails lined with animal tracks. Discover the best spots to observe birds, marvel at Australia’s largest colony of fur seals at Admirals Arch, swim amongst curious and playful dolphins just off the coast, or walk along the cliffs to admire Australia’s sea lion colony in the conservation area of Seal Bay.
For travellers wanting to get involved with conservation efforts, the local community will provide. Embark on a citizen science encounter with the world expert on short-beaked echidnas, and visit a local rescue centre on the precipice of Flinders Chase National Park to learn about how the island recovered from 2019 catastrophic summer bushfires.
Eyre Peninsula (South Australia)
The Eyre Peninsula is South Australia’s sprawling adventure backyard. Landscapes of white sandy beaches meet rough and rugged coastline, while sprawling National and Marine Parks stretch across and around the peninsula.
The Eyre Peninsula is popular for adventure-based nature tourism, suitable for all degrees of thrills. Visit a privately-owned pastoral station and go nose-to-nose with koalas, emus, and kangaroos as they laze about, swim with curious Australian sea lions as they frolic around you, or go cage-diving while apex predators Great White Sharks curiously circle you – the Eyre Peninsula will provide a memorable wildlife in the wild experience.
Whale-watchers will be awed by this region, which is home to the Great Australian Bight. Offering warm, sheltered waters for breeding whales, the Eyre Peninsula regularly sees Southern right whales and humpbacks migrate through the warm waters of the Bight near Fowler’s Bay. When travelling near the coast, keep your eyes peeled for Ospreys, White-bellied Sea Eagles, and other sea birds which call this region home—they are spotted both on the mainland and off-shore on remote islands.
Australia is an astonishingly nature-rich destination and is one of seventeen countries classified as ‘megadiverse’, housing a high number of endemic species. With several biodiversity hotspots on offer and an outstanding range of regions to discover, a luxury trip to Australia can effortlessly weave in an encounter with its locals – whether they’re nestled amongst trees or hiding within the water.
Contact our talented Travel Designers today to organise a memorable wildlife encounter on your next tailor-made journey to Australia.