An inquisitive koala looking for food in a tree in a zoo in Australia

Top 10 Must-See Australian Wildlife: A Guide for Nature Enthusiasts

Australia is a haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting some of the world’s most unique and captivating wildlife. From the charming quokka to the majestic kangaroo, Australia’s diverse fauna attracts wildlife lovers from around the globe. According to research from Audley Travel, British travellers are particularly fascinated by certain animals in Australia. This guide explores the top ten must-see Australian wildlife, helping you plan your encounters with these fascinating creatures.

  1. Quokka

Known for their endearing smiles and friendly nature, quokkas have become the most sought-after Australian animals.

Audley Australia specialist Tom Pegram says: “Quokkas are always popular with visitors to Australia as their facial expression often resembles a grin and their inquisitive nature makes them engaging to watch — and easy to photograph. They’re no bigger than a housecat, and their petite size adds to their adorableness.”

You can find quokkas predominantly in the southwest region of Australia, with Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, being one of the best spots to see them. The travel experts at Audley can help craft a trip to see the top 10 most popular Australian wildlife species. Despite being nocturnal, quokkas on Rottnest Island are often active during the day due to the lack of predators, providing ample opportunities to observe them in their natural habitat.

  1. Koala

The koala is another iconic Australian animal, easily recognised by its fluffy ears and gentle demeanour. While commonly associated with cuddly images, it is essential to respect their welfare and avoid experiences that involve hugging them. Instead, visit Kangaroo Island in South Australia, where you can see koalas living naturally in the wild. Their presence on the island adds to the magical experience of exploring this wildlife-rich destination.

  1. Wombat

Taking the third spot on the list, wombats are robust marsupials known for their surprising speed, capable of running as fast as a human sprinter. Despite their nocturnal habits, the best time to see wombats is early in the morning when they are still groggy and slow-moving. Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania is an ideal place to spot these creatures, where you might see them wandering the trails at dawn.

  1. Platypus

The platypus is one of the most unusual and intriguing animals you can encounter in Australia. This egg-laying mammal, with its duck-bill and webbed feet, fascinates visitors with its unique appearance and behaviour. Platypuses are elusive and often shy, making them a rare but rewarding sight for those who manage to spot them. Try your luck at rivers and streams in eastern Australia, particularly in Tasmania and Queensland, where platypus sightings are more common.

  1. Kangaroo

No trip to Australia would be complete without seeing kangaroos in their natural habitat. These iconic animals are a symbol of the country and are found in various regions across Australia. Kangaroo Island is aptly named for its population of kangaroos, providing visitors with a fantastic opportunity to observe these creatures up close. Watching kangaroos hop across the landscape is a quintessential Australian experience that nature enthusiasts should not miss.

  1. Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian devil, known for its fierce temperament and distinctive screech, is a unique carnivorous marsupial native to Tasmania. Conservation efforts are crucial for the survival of this species, which has faced significant threats in recent years. To see Tasmanian devils, visit wildlife sanctuaries and reserves in Tasmania, where you can learn about the efforts to protect and preserve these fascinating creatures.

  1. Emu

The emu, Australia’s largest bird, is an impressive sight with its towering height and powerful legs. Emus are flightless birds that can be seen in various parts of the country, often wandering in open grasslands and forests. Their curious and sometimes bold nature makes encounters with emus memorable, as they often approach humans out of curiosity.

  1. Cassowary

The cassowary is a striking bird found in the tropical rainforests of northern Australia. Known for its vibrant blue and black plumage and helmet-like casque, the cassowary is a vital part of the ecosystem, aiding in seed dispersal. Spotting a cassowary in the wild is a rare and thrilling experience, but visitors should exercise caution due to their potential aggression when threatened.

  1. Echidna

Echidnas are spiny anteaters known for their unique appearance and burrowing habits. These egg-laying mammals are found throughout Australia and are known for their distinctive spines, which provide protection from predators.

Echidnas are generally solitary animals and can be seen in various habitats, from forests to deserts. To increase your chances of encountering an echidna, visit national parks and wildlife reserves, where they often forage for insects and other small invertebrates.

  1. Wallaby

Wallabies are smaller relatives of kangaroos and are just as fascinating to observe. They inhabit a range of environments across Australia, including forests, grasslands, and coastal regions. Wallabies are particularly active during dawn and dusk, making these times ideal for spotting them in the wild. Their gentle nature and smaller size compared to kangaroos make them a delightful sight for wildlife enthusiasts.


Australia’s wildlife offers an unparalleled experience for nature lovers, with its rich diversity and unique species. Each animal on this list provides a glimpse into the country’s natural beauty and ecological significance. By visiting these incredible creatures in their natural habitats, you not only enjoy unforgettable encounters but also contribute to the conservation efforts that protect these species for future generations.