More than 80 percent of Australia’s native species are found nowhere else on earth.
Celebrating all Aussie creatures great and small, the Australian Wildlife Journeys (AWJ) collective brings together ten family-owned small businesses to showcase some of the country’s greatest wildlife encounters. Led by expert guides in small groups, each member is committed to creating a better future for local wildlife by providing guests the opportunity to contribute with small conservation actions during the tour.
For the ultimate bird watching experience, FNQ Nature Tours has exclusive access to a shared-earth reserve 46 miles from Cairns, in Queensland. The reserve of more than 4,942 acres of lagoons, lakes, and old-growth savanna woodland is home to more than 450 avian species (more than half of Australia’s total number of bird species). Visit natural habitats of bowerbirds, kingfishers, riflebirds, fruit doves, parrots, cockatoos, and the endangered southern cassowary.
Ningaloo Marine Park, halfway up Western Australia’s coastline, is the world’s largest fringing reef and a wildlife wonderland. Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo guides take visitors up close to swim, snorkel, or scuba with Ningaloo’s underwater residents and migrating visitors, including whale sharks.
Also in Western Australia, Naturaliste Charters offers eco-certified wildlife-watching trips around Bremer Canyon, one of the best whale-watching locations in the world. Orcas, long-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, and dolphins abound.
South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is a haven for wildlife across land, sea, and sky, including much-loved marsupials such as western grey kangaroos, koalas, and the endangered hairy-nosed wombats. Australian Coastal Safaris has a low-impact, three-day Eyre Peninsula Wildlife & Ocean Encounter including a visit to Mikkira Station, which is home to a large population of koalas.
On Kangaroo Island off South Australia, travelers can also get up close with prickly echidnas, one of only five known species of monotremes (mammals that lay eggs) in the world. Exceptional Kangaroo Island runs a private three-day Conservation Connection tour, including a session with the world expert on short-beaked echidnas, Dr. Peggy Rismiller.
The Maria Island Walk, located on Tasmania’s east coast, is an eco-certified, multi-day wildlife walk not to be missed. The island is one of the best places in Australia to observe wombats, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, and wallabies in the wild, with expert guides. Premier Travel Tasmania shares the region’s abundant wildlife on high-end multi-day tours with expert guides. With many native marsupials most active at night, night-time spotlighting tours can allow guests to see lesser-known species such as eastern and spotted quolls, southern brown bandicoots, and long-nosed potoroos, as well as Tassie’s iconic carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian devil. However, it’s the local wombat population that really takes center stage.
In the Southern Highlands, 80 miles southwest of Sydney, Boutique Wildlife Tours shows small groups around the area, which is a key habitat for eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, short-beaked echidnas, and hundreds of native bird species. Dusk is prime time to see nocturnal marsupials including brush-tailed possums, greater gliders, sugar gliders, common wombats, and tawny frogmouth owls.
Lords Kakadu & Arnhem Land Safaris has a five-day tour guiding travelers through the World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park, an important feeding and roosting site for more than 200 different bird species. The tour includes a cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong, one of the world’s greatest bird watching sites with a large population of whistling ducks, egrets, sacred kingfishers, and white bellied sea eagles, among other birds.
Produced by Tourism Australia
November 18, 2020