By Caitlin Hornik
You’ve surely seen photos of people holding koalas and thought “Where can I do that?!” Australia is home to these cuddly bears and tons of other unique animal species. Many of these animals aren’t found anywhere else in the world, making the conservation efforts here even more important. Learn more about where you can find these native animals and what is being done to preserve their habitat!
Quokkas in Western Australia
Found mainly on Rottnest Island just off the coast of Perth in Western Australia, quokkas are known for being the happiest animals on Earth! Quokkas are a nocturnal marsupial. They have adapted to the inconsistent Australian climate and can make homes in swamps or shrublands, storing fat in their tails for when food is scarce. Quokkas have gained attention in recent years not only for being notoriously happy, but for posing with selfie-stick wielding tourists on the island! If you do a simple seach for “Quokka Selfies,” you’ll see how consistently it appears that quokkas smile for photos! When you visit, be sure to take note on the dos & don’ts of quokka encounters.
Learn more about visiting quokkas on Rottnest Island
Koalas and Kangaroos in Queensland
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Fun fact: Koalas can only be held in Queensland, Australia. So if you’re after the ultimate koala photo op, your best bet is to travel to Brisbane! The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is located just 20 minutes outside the city center. Here, you’ll be able to hold koala bears and get the photo of your dreams for a small fee. The sanctuary also has a free-roam kangaroo center where you can feed the ‘roos! It’s an incredibly unique, personal experience that not many places offer.
Learn more about Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Affectionately referred to as the “Steve Irwin Zoo,” the Australia Zoo is the ultimate zoo for wildlife lovers. It was founded by the late Steve Irwin and is carried on by his family. What sets the Australia Zoo apart is its 1,000 acre lot, massive crocodile exhibit and corresponding research, and incredible conversation efforts. Through its Wildlife Warriors program and additional conservation projects, the zoo is focused on protecting endangered and threatened species including crocodiles, cheetahs, tigers, elephants and more. At the zoo itself, visitors have the opportunity to see hundreds of different animals! Those looking for a more personal experience can opt for special photo opportunities with certain species, or even have a specialized animal encounter! The Australia Zoo experience is truly one-of-a-kind.
Learn more about the Australia Zoo
Aussie Species in New South Wales
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Sydney’s Featherdale Wildlife Park is home to over 1,700 native Australian animals! What makes this park unique is its commitment to native Aussie animals and their conservation. Recent projects include the plantation of 5,000 eucalyptus trees to sustain koalas! At Featherdale, you can find Tasmanian Devils, echidnas, dingos, wombats, and many other Australian animals. The park offers animal encounters for a fee, meaning you can have your photo taken while you feed a wallaby or pet a koala!
Learn more about Featherdale Wildlife Park