If you are planning to check out Australian native animals, I would strongly recommend to visit Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria which is approximately 1 - 2 hours drive from the Melbourne CBD.
Healesville Sanctuary is a bushland with many native Australian animals, especially Koalas, Kangaroos, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils and Platypus. It will be a good idea to check out their official website for the daily event schedules to plan for your day. To give you some examples: Wildlife Hospital Talk, Tasmanian Devil Keeper Talk and Koala Close up were all in the schedule when we visited in January 2018.
The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus, or inaccurately, Koala Bear) is one of the world's most iconic animal species, naturally associated with Australia and Australia only.
Koala is a tree-dwelling marsupial and can be spotted in the wildlife near the coastal areas inhabiting Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. I'd spotted Koalas in the wild looking sleepy on the trees, along the way to Great Ocean Road in Victoria and Queensland. Just when I thought Koalas looked sleepy like sleeping babies on the trees, I'd seen one of the Koalas crossing the road so fast that I could only see a Koala shadow in the dark while driving along the Great Ocean Road. Well, remember to drive carefully in Australia to avoid hitting native animals such as Koalas and Kangaroos.
Below are some cool photos that I managed to capture from my last trip to Healesville in January 2018. I could really stare at them for hours, absolutely adorable!
Speaking of Kangaroos, this is definitely the most iconic native animal in Australia. You may find Kangaroo as an icon from various Australian Brands such as Qantas, Currency Notes, tourist merchandise etc.
The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae, with a pouch carrying joey (baby). When I was staying in Grampians (Victoria) for family holiday, I'd seen hundreds of Kangaroos hopping around the accommodation surrounding. It was an unbelievably incredible experience! While I was admiring the hopping Kangaroos, I'd seen many of them with jeoy (baby) in the pouch drinking water at the pond or hopping around the area. How wonderful it was to see these native wildlife in real life, it was absolutely a stunning scene.
I would definitely recommend tourists to research some holiday homes to stay for a few nights during the holiday to get the native wildlife experience. In the even that if you do not have much time for an over night stay, you may also be able to find many Kangaroos or Wallabies around Halls Gaps, The Grampians National park or even the nearby restaurants.
Wallaby is a marsupial as well, under the family of Kangaroos but with smaller body size. You may compare the below photos with the Kangaroos photos above to spot the differences. Since Wallaby is a marsupial, Wallaby raises the young (joey) in the pouch too.
For Wallabies, I'd spotted them in Grampians (Victoria), Halls Gaps (Victoria), Wilsons Promotory National Park (Victoria), Cradle Mountain (Tasmania) and Margaret River (Perth) etc. Wallabies were shy little felas, they often hopped away whenever we spotted them in the wild.
Dingo is Australian wild dog, hunting domestic animals and farm livestock as their meals. When we visited Fraser Island (Heritage Listed Island/ world's largest island) in Queensland, we had been constantly warned to be aware of Dingoes around. The resort even fenced up the resort compound to prevent Dingoes's intrusion - to be dingo-safe! It was a great effort from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to keep people and dingo safe from danger.
Although I was really excited and hoping to have dingoes encounter in Fraser Island, I was also worried about the safety if the dingoes attack for self defense. Well, we only found dingo's foot steps on the sand in the end.
I finally found dingo in Healesville! A sleeping dingo is better than nothing. Here it goes with the photo:
I always like Barn Owl which has a heart-shaped facial disc. The Barn Owl is one of the world’s most widespread species of owls, I was really happy to have seen Barn owl in Healesville Sanctuary too.
In my other article from Japan trip, I visited an Owl Cafe & Bar Owl Village in Harajuku (Tokyo). That was an incredible experience to have close encounter with owls, especially seeing and touching Barn Owls.
Emu is Australian native animal, the tallest native bird in Australia with 1.6-1.9m when standing erect.
Platypus, Tasmanian Devil and Wombat
In this trip to Healesville Sanctuary, I was lucky to have the opportunity to find Platypus in the indoor dark room water tank. I was unable to take any photos as flash was not allowed to protect Platypus. Besides Healesville Sanctuary, I spotted Platypus swimming and hunting for food in Cradle Creek, Tasmania.
On the other hand, I wasn't lucky enough to find Tasmanian Devils as well as Wombats - most probably sleeping in the habitats when I was there.
In my previous trip to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, I spotted many Wombats (i.e. 10 - 20 of them) in the wild. As for Tasmanian Devils are endangered Australian native animals, I only managed to see them in the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park.
If you are unable to see Platypus, Wombat and Tasmanian Devils in Healesville Sanctuary or other Zoos, perhaps you can try your luck in Tasmania.
Address: Badger Creek Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
Hours: 9am - 5pm Daily, Animal areas close from 4:30pm
Phone: 1300 966 784
How to get there:
I would strongly suggest to travel by car if you can drive in Australia. If you really can't get there by car, I would then recommend to go with any day tour companies to get to Healesville Sanctuary. It takes approximately 1-2 hours from the Melbourne City depends on the traffic.