By Bryony Dunn
Marketing Manager at Travel Nation
Posts (67) See Bryonys profile
From quokkas to dugongs and wombats to wallabies, Australia is home to all kinds of curious creatures. Kangaroos hop along perfect white beaches, koalas sleep in the eucalyptus trees, dolphins play in the surf and wild camels roam the deserts. From the reefs to the rainforests, it’s a vast natural playground waiting to be explored.
A whopping 87% of its mammals, 93% of its reptiles, 94% of its frogs and 45% of its birds are found only in Australia, making it an extraordinary destination for wildlife lovers. Often weird as well as wonderful, these are animals that you can’t see anywhere else on the planet. Put simply, there’s nowhere like it.
So, if you’re planning a holiday to Australia packed with unforgettable wildlife experiences, where do you start? With so much ground to cover and so many creatures to see, how do you choose where to go? Logistically, it can feel a little overwhelming.
If you have around three weeks to explore, we believe that mixing Western Australia with South Australia will bring you the best of the Aussie wildlife. Combining these two states will give you the chance to see a huge array of fascinating critters on land, under the waves, and up in the tree canopy.
Over the course of one trip, you can meet the smiling quokkas of Rottnest Island, swim with wild sea lions at Baird Bay, snorkel with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, and discover the wonderful wildlife of Kangaroo Island. Along the way, you can spot koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, and possums, as well as a gob-smacking variety of bird species. For us, it’s the ultimate Australia safari.
Travelling from Perth to Adelaide, or vice versa, you can visit seven key wildlife areas in Australia within a relatively short timeframe. Even better, the transport links are excellent. Beginning in Perth, you can travel north to Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef, to swim with gentle whale sharks and manta rays. When you’re not in the water, you can see wallabies and kangaroos as you explore Cape Range National Park.
Next, you can fly across to Adelaide, the jumping-off point for discovering the wildlife of South Australia. You’ll explore the breath-taking Coffin Bay National Park and Port Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula, where you can swim with sea lions and wild dolphins, and spot migrating southern right whales.
Finally, you can fly via Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, a beautiful wilderness packed with stunning wildlife. This guarantees to be an unforgettable ending to your trip. Here, set off on expertly guided tours to see kangaroos, wallabies, fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, koalas, possums, and short-beaked echidnas.
Here are 4 key destinations to include on your Australia safari. Each one of these spectacular places is sure to knock your socks off...
Just off the coast near Perth, Rottnest Island is home to 10,000 quokkas, the largest population of wild quokkas on the planet. These small marsupials, related to wallabies, often look as though they’re smiling, and they’ll quickly melt your heart. They have no natural predators on Rottnest, and there are no cars on the island, so these loveable little fellas hop around without fear. If you’re lucky, they might even come close to say g’day.
You can see the quokkas all year round on Rottnest, so there’s absolutely no reason to miss out. Most tourists visit the island on a day trip from Perth, but you can also stay overnight on Rottnest, which we highly recommend. After the day trippers have gone for the day, you can explore the island’s 63 beaches by bicycle and spend time with the quokkas in peace.
Ningaloo is a wild place full of remote magic. Think rolling dunes, coastal gusts, vast empty beaches, and an ocean teeming with extraordinary marine life. A trip to this isolated coast is all about soaking up the glory of the natural world. It’s an out-of-the-way place for serious wildlife lovers and water babies.
The experience of visiting Ningaloo is almost the opposite of visiting the Great Barrier Reef, where the rainforest meets the sea. Exmouth, the gateway to Ningaloo, is home to just 2,400 people and feels like a coastal frontier town. It’s not uncommon to see emus strutting down the street here, and shoes are strictly optional.
One of the world’s largest fringing coral reefs, Ningaloo stretches over 260km into the Indian Ocean. Close to a continental shelf, its waters are full of nutrients that attract migrating whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, dugongs, and manta rays. On top of this, Ningaloo is home to 500 species of fish and 300 coral species, so the snorkelling is second to none.
However, Ningaloo isn’t all about the ocean. Above the waves, you can explore the dunes, canyons, and coves of Cape Range National Park, where black-footed rock wallabies peek out from gorges and red kangaroos bounce around Yardie Creek. If you look to the skies, you can spot magnificent birds, including fairy terns, gallahs, cockatoos, ospreys, Australian Bustards, and Wedge-tailed Eagles.
Skipping across to South Australia, the Eyre Peninsula is a place that will tug at your heartstrings. Home to some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, it offers fantastic scenery, lip-smacking local food, and wonderful wildlife experiences. At the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, you’ll find two national parks - Coffin Bay National Park and Port Lincoln National Park. These will both take your breath away.
Off the coast at Port Lincoln, you can take a trip to swim with wild dolphins and join playtime with resident sea lions in the rock pools. It’s a real bucket-list experience that will leave you smiling for days. The Neptune Islands, off Port Lincoln, is also the only place in Australia where you can do a shark-cage dive to see Great White Sharks. These tours are run ethically, and they are designed to put the sharks first.
Coffin Bay is a coastal wilderness made of windswept cliffs, sheltered coves, endless beaches, and rolling dunes. Wildlife is abundant here, so you’re likely to spot emus, goannas, and western grey kangaroos. From June to September, you can see southern right whales from the cliffs of Avoid Bay as they migrate to Antarctica. Coffin Bay is also home to 120 bird species, including the threatened hooded plover, the rare white-bellied sea eagle, and the osprey.
Fifteen kilometres off the mainland of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is a massive floating wildlife sanctuary. Nearly seven times the size of Singapore, it’s sometimes known as ‘Australia’s Galapagos’, and it’s easy to see why. The coastal dunes, interior bushland, dizzying cliffs, and spectacular beaches are all overrun by native creatures. Over a third of the island is designated as a conservation area, so this really is a ‘zoo without fences’.
Give the sheer size of Kangaroo Island, you’ll need at least two full days to explore (preferably more!). On the ground here, you can see kangaroos, tammar wallabies, koalas, echidnas, goannas, and possums. Out on the ocean, you can see bottlenose dolphins playing in the surf and a take a trip to see the long-nosed fur seal colonies at Admiral’s Arch. In between wildlife adventures, you can sit back and soak up the scenery of this unique island.
When you decide to set off on your Australia safari will depend largely on your priorities for the trip. If swimming with gentle whale sharks is top of your bucket-list, you’ll need to travel between March and September, while November to March is the best time to see the turtles nesting on the beaches surrounding Ningaloo, and June to September offers the chance to see migrating whales.
However, the truth is that whenever you choose to visit Western Australia and South Australia, you’ll get an exceptional wildlife experience. Most of the native wildlife is abundant on a year-round basis. The quokkas are always hopping around Rottnest Island, the sea lions stay at Baird’s Bay all year round, and the dolphins are ever-present in the surf. There really is no bad time to make this trip, so what are you waiting for?
We’ve done the hard work for you! Our ‘Australia wildlife holiday: whale sharks and wallabies’ combines all of these destinations into one unforgettable package, including flights, accommodation, tours, and car hire. Of course, this is your adventure, so you can customise the itinerary to suit your timeframe and budget.
Our experts have travelled all over Australia, so we w can offer first-hand advice and inside tips for your holiday to Australia. Whether you’re taking the kids on a family holiday of a lifetime, planning an Australia honeymoon, or visiting Australia as part of a round the world holiday, we can help. To get started, simply get in touch on 1273 320 580 or send us a quote request by email.
Request a quote
at Travel Nation
Senior Travel Consultant
at Travel Nation
at Travel Nation
at Travel Nation
at Travel Nation
at Travel Nation
Bryony is an explorer in every sense of the meaning. In 2013 she took the plunge, quit her marketing job and decided to face down her lifelong panic disorder to begin life as a freelance digital nomad. Journeying all over Asia, for years she earned her keep writing for travel brands. Almost by accident, she ended up in Cali, Colombia where she discovered a remarkable (as yet latent) talent for Salsa dancing. After spending a year in sequins shimmying from dance show to dance show, she returned to the UK, tanned, toned and ready to settle down. Bryony joined Travel Nation as a round the world specialist in 2016 and is now the Marketing Manager, with a little salsa on the side.