Australia is known as the land where everything is deadly and is out there to kill you. Perhaps I’ve just been in the
wrong right places at the right time, but I’ve not been witness to anything too horrifically scary. So to re-work the myth that all animals are out to get you, I thought I would put together a little selection of some of the animals you will meet in Australia.
On The Road
If you’re anything like me then you’ll have a huge soft spot for animals. They play a largely motivating part in my travels and if anyone ever suggests an activity that involves something cute and fluffy then I’m immediately interested.
I’ve been travelling in Australia for virtually two years now and covered pretty much all four corners from north, south, east and west. Most of my favourite memories involve animals somehow – there’s something about witnessing wild creatures thriving in their natural habitat – and it definitely cements my love for a place.
So think of the animals in Australia as some more inspiration to visit – and remember, it’s not all snakes and spiders!
Animals in Australia
Here’s 21 of my top animal encounters in Australia, starting with probably one of the most iconic animals on the planet. Enjoy!
Who knew there were actually 3 types of kangaroo in Australia? The red kangaroo, western grey and the eastern grey kangaroo.
Picture tiny, adorable versions of kangaroo and you have yourself a wallaby. These miniature guys lived in Lake Argyle in the north of Western Australia and I could barely contain my squeals when I saw them.
Definitely the most popular animal in Australia is the koala. Did you know these fellows only eat 3 of the 70 species of eucalyptus trees? This means that their habitats are quite restricted to the areas where these three varieties grow.
Wait, what on earth is this cute critter? This, my friends, is a quokka and it likes to hang out on an island off Western Australia called Rottnest and steal your sandwiches.
If one picture just isn’t cutting the mustard then have no fear. I’ve got your back on this one because I, too, am quokka-obsessed. Jump on over here to see a whole photo essay dedicated to these sweet little creatures.
Moving on to our feathered friends now, I’m kicking off with one of the best known and loved Australian birds. That’s right, the kookaburra. If you’ve never heard one of these guys going off in a tree outside your window at dawn then you’ll probably thank me. But I happen to find their demonic laugh particularly amusing, so will forgive them because they’re cool.
I love owls and I don’t get to witness too many of them on my travels for obvious reasons. So I was overjoyed when I noticed this fine fellow hanging out on a branch in the cool shade of Windjana Gorge in Western Australia in the early morning.
Cockatoo’s are common across most parts of Australia and I always listen out for their raucous screech in the trees. It’s pretty special when you spot a black cockatoo, which are found over in parts of WA.
Varieties of this parrot can be found all over the place in Australia. I’m not usually one to encourage feeding of wild animals but when I visited O’Reilley’s near Brisbane in Queensland I couldn’t help myself. These are Crimson Rosella.
The emu is an extraordinary bird. They are quite ostrich-like with their shaggy feathers and strong legs. I was amazed at the number I saw in Western Australia and, like most wildlife, how cute their weeny babies were struggling to keep up with mum.
If you’ve ever wondered what that odd smell is lingering in the air, or thought that noise you heard didn’t quite sound like a bird then you’re probably in the vicinity of a bat. What surprises me about bats in Australia is they’re everywhere; from Sydney CDB to Tunnel Creek cave in Western Australia. Fruit bats are huge, too, which never ceases to amaze me as where I’m from in the UK I have memories of tiny Pipstrel bats swooping in the garden at dusk. Bats here, like most animals, are on some kind of Australian natural steroid, and a four times the size.
I don’t know about you but I find echidna’s incredibly sweet looking. Like a giant hedgehog, these guys can be found shuffling around minding their own business all over the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.
All over Tasmania are road signs to warn you about driving at night and coming a cropper with a Tassie Devil. I didn’t do any driving at night in Tasmania and didn’t manage to spot one myself in the wild, but would have loved to see one of these infamous creatures.
Until recently I had only seen these awesome, chunky guys in a zoo. I was lucky enough to see some wild wombats in Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania far up on a hillside merrily munching away. I love their stocky build but sweet faces.
The dingo is the animal that secretly terrifies the backpacker on Fraser Island in Queensland, but like most animals, if you leave them alone then they will not bother you. I have seen dingoes on Fraser but my most memorable moment with a dingo was leaving Karijini National Park in WA at dawn and spotting a dingo on the side of the road. He threw up his head and howled at the moon. Queue cheesy shivers down my spine.
Did you know that camels were first imported from Afghanistan in the 19th century to help with the building of the Ghan Railway? They were then set loose into the wild and there are now roughly 300,000 camels roaming across Australia.
Ok, somewhat scary but still an incredible creature. Not that you’d want to get anywhere near a saltwater crocodile, but they are still an awe-inspiring sight. Heed no-swimming signs if they are displayed and remember to stay away from the water’s edge.
Freshwater crocs – or freshies – are the smaller, less ferocious brother of the saltwater croc. If you provoked a freshwater crocodile they will still defend themselves and give you a pretty nasty bite, but they aren’t generally interested in you or your dog for a mid-morning snack. I spied several freshwater crocodiles sunbathing in Windjana Gorge in Western Australia.
Swimming with manta rays was one of the coolest things I have done recently. I took to the water on the Ningaloo Reef in WA, a world renowned area for marine wildlife. I had the best day snorkelling with the manta rays and also spotting reef sharks, turtles and all kinds of other fish.
Nothing beats seeing dolphins arch through the air beside your boat. There are loads of places to spot dolphins in Australia; from Bunbury in Western Australia to Tin Can Bay in Queensland.
I love being out on the water and nothing makes me happier than when the local wildlife is as interested in you as you are in them. I took a sunset boat ride in Western Australia over the winter months and was joined by several cheeky little sealions, who poked their heads out of the water to take a look at what was going on-board.
Philip Island in Victoria and Lillico Beach in Tasmania are two of my favourite spots to spy little penguins coming home to nest and feed their young a dusk.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many, many more hundreds of species I could list here. But then again, this post is supposed to help inspire your own journey to Australia.
I hope that by now you realise that animals in Australia aren’t necessarily out to kill you, and in fact, most of them are harmless. So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a country with a wide variety of unique wildlife then Australia has you covered.
Which one is your favourite? Are you an animal lover like me? What do you think about the animals in Australia? Have I convinced you it’s not all about snakes and spiders?
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