8 best Australia animal experiences

Last updated 19th July 2022

little girl holding koala bear in australia

1/8  Meeting Koalas. Philip Island

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Phillip Island hosts a colony of about 32,000 Little Penguins, plus kangaroos and koalas.

The new koala boardwalk provides exceptional koala viewing. Catch a glimpse of koalas joeys as they take their first steps out of the mother’s pouch.

Visitors also have the opportunity to experience a ranger-led ‘Koala Eco-Explorer Tour’ which takes you behind the scenes to give you information about one of Australia’s favourite icons.

Visitors can buy a self-guided ticket or join an organised island wildlife tour.

Price: Family ticket from £32.17

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little boy pets a kangaroo at maria islanda australia

2/8  Kangaroos, Maria Island

Just a short ferry ride from Tasmania, Maria Island is full of curious ruins, curving beaches and eucalypt forest. The range of wildlife is exceptional, including kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, Tasmanian devils and Cape Barren geese, so animal-lovers will be spoilt for choice. Nothing says, ‘welcome to Australia’ quite like seeing a kangaroo in its natural habitat.

Price: Modest park fees may apply

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crocodile jumping out of the water for food in australia's northern territory

3/8  Jumping Crocs, Northern Territory

Established by a retired crocodile hunter, the Jumping Crocodile Cruise offers an opportunity to see saltwater crocodiles in the wild. With more than 80,000 crocs roaming the waterways, you’re guaranteed to get close and personal. 

The company is based on the Adelaide River, about an hour’s drive from Darwin. Kids will love seeing crocs jumping out of the water for their daily meal.

Price: A family pass costs £43.25

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two seals on the beach at kangaroo island australia

4/8  Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

Australian sea lions are playful, terribly cute and guaranteed to steal your heart. Visitors are taken into the heart of the colony where they can watch the endangered animals fish, rest and jump into the waves or cavort on the beach.

There are several guided tours available, including the Seal Bay Twilight Tour, an extended early evening tour, which is perfect for taking family photos.

Price: A self-guided family pass costs £21.62
Seal Bay Twilight family tour costs £86.66

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baby turtle in a human hand at mon repos australia

5/8  Turtle Watching, Mon Repos Turtle Watching, Mon Repos

Located 5 miles from the Queensland city of Bundaberg, Mon Repos is the largest turtle rookery on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

Each year between November and March, visitors can watch the turtles nesting and then hatching – a truly unforgettable experience, whatever your age.

Turtles are easily disturbed if guidelines are not followed, so a special ranger-led experience has been created to help you understand and appreciate the life cycle of the turtle and ensure that this endangered species can breed successfully.

Pirce: Family ticket £14.54

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diver in a cage underwater with great white shark swimming past

6/8  Cage Diving, Port Lincoln

Get up close and personal with a Great White shark by joining Calypso Star Charter in Port Lincoln, 60 minutes by air from Adelaide. Great Whites are a protected species and this is the only place in Australia that offers cage diving charters. 

Groups enter the cage six at a time and spend about 45 minutes in the cage face to face with the sharks. No diver qualifications of experience necessary just bring enthusiasm (and courage!) and you’re ready to go.

Pirce: Adults £267, children £186, including wetsuit

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humpback whale breaches in queensland australia

7/8  Swim With Humpback Whales, Queensland

Based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, dive operator Sunreef offers the rare opportunity to swim with humpback whales. The three-hour marine tour is run under strict environmental guidelines, with snorkellers being towed behind a boat and among these giant marine creatures.

Feel the adrenaline rush as the whales swim past you and discover a new respect for these impressive creatures and their beautiful territory.

Price: £69 per person

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a teenage girl feeds a dolphin in the sea at shark bay australia

8/8  Dolphin Feeding, Monkey Mia

In most places, human beings go in search of dolphins, but at Shark Bay in Western Australia, they come to you. Bottlenose dolphins have been a regular sight in these flawless waters for more than 40 years. They swim into the shallows several times a day to be hand fed.

Although there are no set feeding times, the best times to go are between 8am and midday. Get there as early as you can because during every feed a few people get randomly selected to feed the dolphins. Who knows? It could be you!

Price: A family day permit costs £9.19

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