The best places in Victoria to see iconic Australian animals

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Where does a visitor from the UK go to spot Aussie wildlife? This is one of the most common questions we receive from the northern hemisphere. A trip to Australia offers a special chance to encounter some of the most unique animals on the planet and we wouldn’t want you to miss out. Here’s where to head to see the most iconic Aussie animals during a visit to Victoria.

Photo: Robert Blackburn

Kangaroos

Halls Gap, The Grampians
If you’ve got to see a kangaroo in the wild, Hall’s Gap is your place.  Located in the gorgeous Grampians mountain range, this town may have more kangaroos than people!  With a human population of less than 700, Hall’s Gap and its surrounding natural areas are a hotspot for kangaroo mobs.  Take a walk in the park areas or grassy fields and you just may catch a glimpse of a few ‘roos. As a bonus, consider a hike up to The Pinnacle, a magnificent rock platform that offers one of the best elevated views in Australia.

Photo: Norton Ip, Flickr

Koalas

Great Otway National Park
Let’s be honest.  A trip to Australia is not complete without a koala sighting.  Fortunately, these iconic marsupials are prevalent in many places throughout Victoria.  You may even spot the road signs telling you to take care as they cross the road!  In the Great Otway National Park along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll find one of the most dense koala populations on the planet.  Look up and you may just see a koala in the branches above.  Don’t expect them to notice you though. Koalas sleep up to 18 hours per day.

Photo: Phillip Island Nature Parks

Penguins

Penguin Parade, Phillip Island
Phillip Island’s penguins arrive like clockwork each night after a day of fishing.  Waddling past onlookers by the dozens, the island’s famous penguin colony provides a thrilling and dependable dusk spectacle.  With outdoor seating and a new underground viewing platform, the Penguin Parade is one of Australia’s most renowned experiences.  What does a seat to this magical event cost?  Less than 16 GBP.  Little penguins, little price.

Photo: bfra07, flickr

Whales

Logans Beach Whale viewing platform, Warrnambool
Just like people, whales love to visit Victoria.  June through September is calving season for Southern Right whales and the warm waters of Warrnambool at the end of the Great Ocean Road are frequented by these magnificent mammals.  Seeing a breaching whale takes a bit of luck and patience, but if you spend enough time along the shores of Logans Beach you could be in for an unforgettable sight.

Photo: Mark Chew

Platypus

Lake Elizabeth, The Otways
In addition to being one of the strangest animals on the planet, the platypus is also one of the most elusive. National Geographic even wrote an entire article on spotting this egg-laying mammal in the wild.  So where can you find this creature in the wild in Victoria?  Try Lake Elizabeth, a tiny body of water nestled in The Otways where 6-8 platypuses have found a home.  For better luck, hire a tour guide to take you out onto the lake.

Photo: Sean Kelleher

Echidna

Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley
Echidnas are the only mammals other than the platypus that lays eggs.  They’re also adorable, spiky balls of cuteness.  At the
Healesville Sanctuary north of Melbourne, you can get up close with these gentle creatures.  The sanctuary rehabilitates injured animals and provides shelter and health care for them to live out their days.  It’s certainly worth a visit, especially if you want to see a variety of Aussie animals in one place. 

Photo: Robert Blackburn

Seals

A Wildlife Coast Cruise To Seal Rocks
The name Seal Rocks accurately describes this wildlife wonder.  Just 2km off the shore of Phillip Island is a massive fur seal colony that loves to sunbathe on protruding rocks.  The cruise departs from Cowes Jetty and takes travellers right up to the rocks where the seals lounge by the dozens.

Dolphins

Port Phillip Bay
It’s one thing to see dolphins in the wild but it’s a whole different experience to swim with them!  Port Phillip Bay has a population of roughly 150 social and energetic dolphins that love to interact with visitors. Take a boat tour from a licensed operator and jump in the water to play with these social and friendly mammals.

Wombats

Wilsons Promontory National Park
Did you know that in the late 1800s many Londoners owned pet wombats?  That didn’t work out so well, as these fuzzy mammals are meant for the wild.  You’ll have to come to Victoria to see them in their natural habitat and we suggest the isolated and magical Wilsons Prom for your wombat watching.  The park offers the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria, making it a favorite refuge for Aussie animals.  As remote as it is beautiful, you may see more wombats than people on your trip to this famous peninsula.

Photo: heatherw, Flickr

Emus

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
The UK’s largest bird is the 8kg Mute Swan.  Australia’s largest bird is the 42kg emu.  We like to do things big here in Oz.  If you’re looking to spot one of these winged beasts, well, they’re hard to miss.  But don’t look to the sky!  You’ll find them roving on the ground, since they’re too heavy to fly.  Where’s the best place to catch a glimpse of these massive birds?  An extinct volcano on the Great Ocean Road. Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is a refuge for a collection of free-roaming, wild Australian animals who call the crater-bound ecosystem home.  Take a walk around the reserve and you may just see every land animal on this list.

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