Whether it’s swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef or taking a selfie with a quokka on Rottnest - we’ve got the inside scoop on where you can get up close to Australia’s favourite wildlife.
Kangaroo Island, SA
Nestled just off the south coast on South Australia, and only a day trip from Adelaide lies Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s unspoilt paradise, with almost a third of the island declared a national park and conservation area. While its name may have already given it away, Kangaroo Island is teaming with wild kangaroos and is one of the best places in the country to get up close to this much-loved Australian animal. You'll get to witness them in large numbers lounging on the grass or sand, relaxing and soaking up the sunshine.
There are plenty of places around the island to spot them, including the meadows around the visitors’ centre at Flinders Chase National Park, Lathami Conservation Park and Grassdale in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. If you want to catch a glimpse of a baby joey, try to visit during the summer months.
You can even stay the night on Kangaroo Island and explore all the other Australian wildlife experiences the island has to offer.
Ningaloo Marine Park, WA
While they can grow up to 18 meters in length, these plankton-eating wonders of the deep are far more docile than their name suggests. Swimming alongside these spotted giants involves you carefully slipping in the warm nearby water and keeping pace with their graceful glide while you observe, wide-eyed, via your snorkel mask. You’ll also be sharing the water with tropical fish, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins and even the occasional whale so there are plenty of opportunities to spot other marine life.
For this once in a lifetime experience, head to Western Australia’s Ningaloo Marine Park in the months of March and April, when the whale sharks are on their migrations. While they may not be native Australian wildlife, W.A. is the only place in the world where such large numbers of whale sharks are known to reliably visit so close to land.
Rottnest Island is not only home to some of the country’s most incredible beaches, it’s also home to the happiest animal on earth - the Quokka.
These adorable native Australian animals roam freely around the island all year round. Hopping around cheerfully, they are known to stop and watch as people play a round of golf, hang out at the pub or cycle around the car-free island. Their social and curious nature means they are more than happy to pose for a #quokkaselfie. Don’t be surprised if those in the settlement even hop on over for a good old head scratch.
Rottnest Island is just off the coast of Perth in Western Australia and can be easily reached by ferry from Perth and Fremantle.
Looking for other sights and attractions near Perth. The sunny portside city of Fremantle is packed full of shopping, white sandy beaches and places to eat and drink while you soak up the West Australian sunshine. Find out how to spend the perfect day in Fremantle.
Sydney Zoo, NSW
While you may not be able to cuddle a koala in NSW, Wild Life Sydney offers the next best thing. At the beak of dawn, you’ll get to spend your breakfast with Australia’s most-loved marsupial.
Enjoy a breakfast on the park’s Koala Rooftop surrounded by native Australian flora and, of course, the koalas, during their most active part of the day. After your breakfast, you’ll listen to an informative koala talk from one of the park’s keepers, followed by a memorable up-close experience where you’ll be able to take photos. Prices start at $45 for children and $55 for adults.
Haven’t yet organised your Sydney accommodation, find a great hotel in the city centre with AccorHotels.
Cairns & Port Douglas, QLD
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list item for many Aussies and tourists alike. With over 3,000 coral reefs stretching 2,000 kilometres, there are plenty of opportunities to get up close to the local marine life. One of the most popular spots to visit the reef is off the coast of Cairns or Port Douglas. There are many different ways to view the reef but the easiest and most popular option is snorkelling.
With 1,625 species of fish to be seen, including red bass, red-throat emperor, and even clownfish like Nemo himself, you may even feel as though your snorkel mask isn't wide enough to take everything in. Keep an eye out for other marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, eels, reef sharks, molluscs, starfish, sea cucumber - the list goes on.
Looking for other great adventure activities near Cairns? Read our guide.
Ready to get up close to some great Australian wildlife? Don’t leave it to the last minute to book a hotel for your holiday.
No matter which destination you end up visiting, AccorHotels can help you find a great deal on accommodation.
Lead Image Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission