Into the Wild: 5 Unmissable Animal Encounters in Australia

A list of the best places in Australia to immerse the whole family in a safe yet unique encounter with its spectacular animals

Boasting over 7,000 indigenous species, Australia’s wildlife is famed around the world. When here, you don’t have to watch from the sidelines; you can get up close with most of them. From koalas and crocodiles to sharks and dolphins, these experiences take you above and beyond a regular zoo visit.

Kangaroos at Cleland Wildlife Park, (South Australia)

A 30-minute drive from Adelaide, the Cleland Wildlife Park is the perfect destination to capture the very best of Aussie wildlife. While koalas, emus, Tasmanian devils and wallabies wander here freely, the main attraction is its Red Kangaroos. Opt for a private guided tour to make for a truly special experience as you feed them and get well acquainted with the local wildlife.

Kangaroo at Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills  Copyright: South Australian Tourism Commission (Picture Credit: Paul Torcello)

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane (Queensland)

Ever wanted to cuddle, feed and get cosy with a furry koala? Well, here’s your chance, because Lone Pine — located in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket — boasts over 130 koalas and an extensive repertoire of over 100 Australian animal species. Yes, that list even includes kangaroos, wild lorikeets (a bright-plumed bird) and the platypus.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane  ( Photo Credit: Brisbane Marketing)

Whale Shark Swim, Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia)

This fabulous escapade of swimming with the largest fish in the ocean is one your family will never forget. Open to kids and adults alike, trained professionals guide you as they take you below the surface to meet the mighty, magnificent whale shark. It’s about a 14-hour drive north from Perth; or you can fly to nearby Exmouth.

Swimming with a whale shark (Rhincodon typus)  ( Image Source Tourism Western Australia)

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Sea Lions Experience, Eyre Peninsula (South Australia)

Head to Port Lincoln (fly direct or take a six-hour drive from Adelaide) to swim with Australia’s sea lions. On a cruise ship that takes you well into the Pacific Ocean, you and the kids can either jump in or stay dry and take in the experience from the deck. We suggest you jump in!

Swimming with Sea Lions, Seal Cove  (Photo Credit: SATC)

Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin (Northern Territories)

Visit Australia’s only crocodile dive and the world’s largest display of Australian reptiles. For a truly exhilarating experience, you can even step into the Cage of Death, a dive pod that immerses you in these notorious waters for a face-to-face with crocodiles. Don’t worry — you’ll emerge in one piece, and with a great holiday memory to boot!

Swimming with Crocodiles, Darwin  (Photo Credit: Tourism Australia)
Swimming with Crocodiles, Darwin ( Photo Credit: Tourism Australia)

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