Get up close with the incredible Australian fauna
Seeing the unique wildlife of Australia in its natural habitat is an experience you won’t soon forget. It’s not hard to see a kangaroo, a Tasmanian Devil, a kookaburra or a crocodile at a zoo, but to see one in the forests, bushlands, lakes, deserts, rivers or oceans of the Land Down Under itself is something else. We have put together a guide to the best wildlife watching destinations for anyone with a motorhome rental in Australia.
Daintree Rainforest, QLD
This famously lush forest in Northern Queensland is home to some fascinating critters: the Southern Cassowary, Tree Kangaroos, Lesser Spotted Owls, Spotted-Tail Quolls, Golden Orb Spiders, Ulysses Butterflies and more. Sign on for a walking tour or boat cruise for the best chances of spotting wildlife, or make your own way and see what you can find.
Nymboida River, NSW
Platypus are unique even among the zany collection of Australian natives! These semi-aquatic egg-laying mammals are fascinating and are a bucket list creature for any wildlife spotting enthusiast. The Nymboida River, particularly the section that stretches south from Nymboida and into the Nymboi-Binderay National Park, is prime for platypus watching. Book a site at Platypus Flat campsite and nab yourself front row seats to spot these amazing animals!
Kakadu National Park, NT
This vast national park is one of Australia’s highlight destinations, a wonderful place to get acquainted with the country’s diverse ecology - including the wildlife. It comes in at number one on our global list of wildlife experiences, and offers a range of chances to see incredible Aussie natives in the wild: crocodiles in the waterways (a cruise is a great way to spot these), turtles, quolls, wallabies, kangaroos, myriad birds, frill-necked lizards and many others. Dawn and dusk are good times to spot creatures, and waterholes are gathering points for a lot of species.
Kennett River, VIC
Image: By KobiWiki, CC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons
Koalas are an Australian icon, furry and cute marsupials that live in the gum trees. Kennett River in Victoria is home to many colonies of koalas that you can visit in their natural habitat - although you aren’t likely to get that “cuddling a koala” photo for your Instagram here, and we don’t recommend you try! Wander the (free) Kennett River Koala Walk near Kennett township to spot them.
The bonus of koala watching at Kennett River is that it happens to be along the Great Ocean Road, a famously scenic drive which we have listed as one of the most beautiful road trips you’ll ever take. Pick up a Melbourne campervan hire and get started.
Great Barrier Reef
Back in Northern Queensland, this one is an obvious choice. To see the magnificent marine life that occupies the tropical waters around the reef, you’ll need to get more than just your feet wet - sign on for a diving or snorkelling experience and get beneath the waves for a glimpse of the vibrant colours and abundant life that is under there.
A motorhome rental from Cairns or Brisbane is a good start to seeing the reef, and you can get on a boat out there from most coastal cities in the northern reaches of the state. Try the Sydney to Cairns itinerary for an extended adventure.
Zoos and animal sanctuaries
Of course, sometimes you need a zoo or a sanctuary to help you get up close and personal with the animals, and there are plenty of those available around Australia. Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Australia Zoo in Brisbane, Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth, and Reptile Encounters in Melbourne are just a few of the places you can go for in-depth and close wildlife encounters, perfect for families or anyone with just a short time to spend in the country.
Be safe and respectful
When encountering Australia’s fauna, ensure you are keeping both yourself and the animals safe. Stay a reasonable distance from dangerous creatures like snakes, spiders, crocodiles and sharks. Give kangaroos a wide berth, too, even the friendly ones - they are bigger and stronger than one might think! It’s also important that you don’t disturb any animals or their habitat. Look with your eyes, and from a distance! Always clean up after yourself, and don’t leave any litter behind.
Once you’ve picked your wildlife viewing location, you’re ready to roll! Check out our motorhome rentals in Australia and start planning the critter-filled journey of a lifetime.