Australia’s wildlife is truly unique, making a personal encounter with native critters all the more special. While Australia is world famous for its distinctive native fauna, encounters of the wild kind are not always easy to come by for city folk or travellers on a whirlwind visit. These unforgettable Aussie wildlife experiences are a great place to start.
Watch Over Baby Turtles
A special natural phenomenon occurs around November to February each year at Mon Repos on Queensland's coast. This is turtle season and being a part of it is an unforgettable experience. Mon Repos, a short drive from Bundaberg, supports the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
Time your visit for when the mother turtles heave their way up the beach to find a safe place to build a nest. Or be there six to eight weeks later to watch the tiny hatchlings emerge from their sandy nests and make their way down the beach and into the sea.
GETTING THERE: Bundaberg is just 4.5 hours’ drive north of Brisbane, or a 50-minute flight away.
Make Friends With Quokkas
Young or old, everyone will find absolute joy in getting to know Australia’s cutest marsupial – the quokka. Found on Rottnest Island just off the coast of Perth, there are about 10,000 on the island, living a sheltered life free from predators or traffic.
As such, the quokka lives up to its reputation as the world’s happiest animal, at ease with human contact and sporting a huge grin. That said, Western Australia's Rottnest Island is an A-Class Nature Reserve with a program of guided walks that enables visitors to interact with quokkas in a responsible way.
GETTING THERE: Rottnest Island lies 18km west of Perth and can be accessed easily by ferry, plane or boat.
Swim With Dolphins At Monkey Mia
The special connection between humans and dolphins has existed for centuries. While there are many places along Australia’s coastline that offer a good chance of seeing dolphins, Monkey Mia, in Western Australia's Shark Bay World Heritage Area, is special because it’s the only place in the country where dolphins visit daily, not just seasonally.
A friendly pod of wild bottlenose dolphins regularly swims to Monkey Mia’s turquoise shallows to engage with people, popping in up to three times a day. At Monkey Mia you can touch and feed a dolphin, continuing the timeless relationship that we have with these fascinating sea mammals.
GETTING THERE: Monkey Mia is about 850km from Perth, roughly 10 hours' by car or one hour and 45 minutes on a plane.
Discover A Tasmanian Devil
Life is truly wonderful when efforts to save an endangered species from extinction require you to stay at one of Australia’s top luxury wilderness lodges. Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania's Coles Bay is special in this regard, giving guests the opportunity to encounter Tasmanian devils in a gorgeous natural setting.
Hosted by knowledgeable guides, you’ll visit Saffire Freycinet’s open-range Tasmanian devil enclosure, meet some of the resident population and learn more about the efforts of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to find a cure for the rare cancer affecting this species.
GETTING THERE: Saffire Freycinet is about a 2.5-hour drive from Hobart International Airport or a two-hour drive from Launceston.
Feed A Crocodile
On the more adventurous end of the spectrum is the chance to feed one of the Earth’s most prehistoric creatures in Darwin, with Crocosaurus Cove’s Big Croc Feed VIP Experience.
The knowledgeable and experienced crocodile handlers will not only introduce you to an incredible range of reptiles and aquatic creatures of the Top End, they’ll also share information on the unique relationship between some of these reptiles and the Indigenous people of the region. You’ll have the chance to handle a baby crocodile and, of course, the truly courageous have the opportunity to feed an adult saltwater croc.
GETTING THERE: Darwin is a 4.5-hour flight from Sydney.