Where in Australia can I see koalas and kangaroos?
Hello hello, and welcome to another article about traveling Down Under! My name is Dianne and I own Go WalkAbout Travel, your expert on travel planning to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific Islands.
Everyone who goes to Australia wants to see our unique, cute, and furry wildlife, especially koalas and kangaroos. So in this blog post, I’ll tell you a bit more about these iconic Australian creatures and where best to spot them. After all, not all wildlife experiences in Australia are made equal! Depending on where you go and what you want to do there, you can experience these animals in several different ways.
What are koalas and kangaroos?
Koalas aren’t bears — just like kangaroos aren’t rabbits. They’re both marsupials, which means they’re mammals who carry their young in a pouch on the front of their bodies.
Australia has over 200 different species of marsupials, including wombats and Tasmanian devils, more than any other country. However, it’s the koala and kangaroo that we’ll discuss here because they’re two of the most well-known and more popular. Plus, they can only be found in Australia!
Where in Australia can I find koalas and kangaroos in the wild?
You can either see koalas and kangaroos in the wild, or in a wildlife park (which is like a zoo, but tends to have rescued animals in a more open setting).
For animals in the wild, your best bet is Kangaroo Island. This is a large island about the size of Puerto Rico that lies off the southern coast of Adelaide. True to its name, Kangaroo Island is chock full of wildlife and offers the best chance of spotting not only koalas and kangaroos but many other Australian marsupials as well.
We recommend spending one or two full days on Kangaroo Island for the most fulfilling experience. Hire an expert guide and driver, so that you’re privy to all the best locations to find these animals. Your guide could take you to a meadow filled with bouncing kangaroos. Or, maybe they’ll stop on the side of the road so that you can stand under a eucalyptus tree to watch a curled-up koala sleeping.
If your schedule or budget doesn’t allow a trip to Kangaroo Island, then you could also consider doing a day tour on the Great Ocean Road outside Melbourne. Head out from the city to the hinterlands with a specialist guide to show you the hidden pockets where koalas and kangaroos can be found. However, there are no guarantees — remember, wild animals don’t always stick to the schedule!
Remember that you won’t be able to hold any creatures that you find in the wild. Being wild animals, it’s neither safe for you nor for them to try and catch or hold them.
Where in Australia can I touch or hold a koala and kangaroo?
If getting up close and personal is important to you, then you won’t be satisfied by viewing wild animals from a distance. Instead, you’ll want to go to a wildlife park.
Most wildlife parks only allow you to stand next to a koala, so for touching or holding one, make sure to go to a state that allows it by law. The states of Queensland (including Port Douglas, Hamilton Island, and Brisbane) and Western Australia (outside Perth) all have options for holding a koala. You can expect to hold one briefly, just long enough for a photo. Not long enough for an extended snuggle session.
By contrast, you can touch a kangaroo at most wildlife parks across the country, regardless of the state. Wildlife parks in all states have options for touching and feeding kangaroos in captivity. You can buy a bag of food and hand-feed them. Just remember that if there have been a lot of tourists that day, then they may not be very hungry!
Can’t I find kangaroos pretty much anywhere?
Well, sort of. Kangaroos are so numerous that you can find them in the wild almost anywhere. Just keep your eyes open and watch open fields, even at golf courses, where you could find them grazing.
You could also see them while driving, especially at dusk and dawn in rural areas when kangaroos love to go for a wander. Drive carefully. During the day, kangaroos tend to lie under a tree for shade. If it’s rainy, then they may come to the roadside looking for water.
Being wild, it’s not safe to approach these kangaroos. They can easily attack with their hind legs. So best to keep a safe distance.
While there are kangaroos in most rural areas, the only way to guarantee to spot in the wild is to hire a guide on Kangaroo Island or outside Melbourne. Especially if you want an expert who can show you where you’re most likely to find them.
For many travelers, a wildlife park is their best bet for an experience with koalas and kangaroos. A lot of tour companies include a stopover at a wildlife park as part of a bigger day tour. So if you want this experience, just make sure to let us know so that we can choose the right tour for you.
Are you ready to go to the home of two of the world’s strangest creatures? Then contact us today to plan your trip to Australia. We’ll ask questions about what sort of experience you’re seeking, and then send you to wherever it is that most suits your interests. Let’s get started!