One of the most appealing things about our sunburnt country is the opportunity to see native animals almost anywhere.
Australian native animals are some of the most intriguing in the world. There is nowhere else you will find deer-like beasts hopping through the desert, or adorable fuzzy ‘bears’ clinging sleepily to tree branches. Australia is also home to the echidna and platypus; the only egg-laying mammals on the planet.
Take a look at where you can see your favourite Australian native animals:
Australia native animals: Koalas
Zoos and wildlife parks around Australia are home to koalas. For a fee, some even allow you to hold or pat one. Wild koalas can be more of a challenge to spot. They are not a highly active animal and their grey colouring makes them blend in with their surroundings.
One of the best places to see koalas is Kangaroo Island. Just off the coast of Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is a haven for native Australian animals. Near Sydney, you can try your luck at Port Stephens, or head further north to Lismore’s Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve or Port Macquarie.
Kangaroos are native to all parts of Australia and are usually easy to see in the wild. Smaller grey kangaroos love bushland and grassy areas. They are active in most national parks and bushlands, even very close to cities. Head to a local visitors centre to learn more (you may even spot one on the way).
The much larger red kangaroo prefers to live in more arid and desert-like regions. A trip to Broken Hill or a visit to the Red Centre will be a good bet to see them in their natural habitat. As with all types of kangaroos, dusk and dawn are the best time to see this animal.
Be warned: red kangaroos can grow very large, with males growing six feet tall or more. Make sure you respect their space.
One of the best places to see wombats in the wild is Tasmania. If you head to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania’s North West, at the right time of year you may be lucky enough to witness a wombat waddling through the snow.
On the mainland, check out:
- Wilson’s Promontory National Park in Victoria
- Open Range Wildlife Parks in South Australia
- Kangaroo Valley in NSW
- The back roads of the Australian Capital Territory
The adorable bilby is known as Australia's rabbit. Unfortunately, the introduction of feral rabbits, along with other pests, has put the bilby on the endangered list. Happily, you can see bilbies at many zoos and wildlife parks. This includes Taronga Zoo, Adelaide Zoo and Walkabout Park north of Sydney.
In the wild, it is difficult to see bilbies. Their natural habitat spreads across some of the remotest places in Australia, from Northern West Australia, through central Northern Territory and into the east of Queensland. If you decide to take on the challenge, remember to be safe and respect nature.
Australian native animals: Quokkas
This smiling little wallaby has a tiny and dwindling distribution on the West Australian mainland but found a haven on the famous Rottnest Island.
Take the ferry from Perth to Rottnest and you are guaranteed to see quokkas. With almost no natural predators on the island, quokkas are prolific here and hop around at all times. Tours will take you to some great spots to see quokkas on a day trip. If you are lucky enough to stay overnight, dusk brings the little creatures out of hiding in big numbers.
With its distinctive yellow/orange coat and laconic air, the dingo is an iconic Australian native animal. Essentially a breed of wild dog, dingoes can be found across most of mainland Australia. One place to see them is the Nullabor Roadhouse, in the middle of the country. Here, they skulk around looking for snacks. Just take heed of the ‘Don’t pat the dingos’ signs!
The best-known dingo hotspot is Fraser Island, just off the Queensland coast. Fraser Island boasts top-notch accommodation as well as world-class 4wd-ing. You can also pack your car and go camping. Enjoy seeing the dingoes but be wary, they are wild and highly unpredictable.
Australian Native Animals: Respecting our wildlife
While it is always a thrill to see an Australian native animal, their health and safety should be a priority.
These native animals are not domesticated. Some, like kangaroos and dingoes, can be dangerous. Others are delicate and endangered, as is their habitat.
Never touch or try to interact with wild animals and keep your children well away. Don’t feed them unless you have authority to do so as it can interrupt their natural cycles and wellbeing.
The Down Under Range
Wish you could have a dingo, a kangaroo or a koala at your place? While you can’t keep them as a pet, you can surround yourself with their images.
Celebrate your love of Australian Fauna with the Love from Down Under Range at La la land. Head to this page to see our fun range of homewares, gifts and accessories.
Whether a treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one, the Love From Down Under Range is the perfect way to be reminded of Australia’s incredible native animals.