When it comes to unforgettable family holidays, Australia will definitely stand out as a top destination that offers not only stunning landscapes but also incredible wildlife encounters that we in the UK can only dream of. From cuddly koalas to bounding kangaroos and colourful coral reefs, Australia’s wildlife has an incredible range of attractions, adventures, and experiences to offer for all ages, that will create quality family time to be cherished for a long time. I mean, who can say they’ve had a koala snuggling up to them? Exactly!
As Australia is literally on the other side of the planet though, proper planning before setting off is of utmost importance, to arrive with the least amount of stress and possible inconveniences – especially because the flight time will be as long as it can really get. You’ll also need a tourist visa when visiting Australia from the UK – and make sure all of your passports are valid for at least another six months after your planned departure!
So, without further ado: Australia’s wildlife is simply extraordinary – and here are our ten favourite, family-friendly wildlife activities.
1. Koalas and Kangaroos in Queensland
Okay, who could say no to cuddling with koalas at wildlife sanctuaries? Or observing kangaroos that are hopping freely through the wild? Exactly – not us. If you can, head to places like the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane or venture to the Atherton Tablelands to spot these iconic Australian animals in their natural habitat.
2. Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling
Probably the biggest name on the list is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Great Barrier Reef. It boasts vibrant coral formations and a kaleidoscope of marine life, including clownfish, sea turtles, and reef sharks. Be sure to ign up for one of the reputable Great Barrier Reef Tours. Many tour operators offer family-friendly snorkelling excursions with expert guides – but it definitely helps educate your children prior to the activity on how to behave when being in contact with this stunning underwater world.
3. Penguin Parage on Phillip Island
Yes, penguins. We bet your kids will be more than surprised when you let them know! Philip Island, just a short drive away from Melbourne, is famous for its nightly penguin parade. You can watch as adorable little penguins waddle ashore to their burrows after a long and tiring day of fishing. It’s an enchanting spectacle – not only for your offspring.
4. Kangaroo Island Adventure
Kangaroo Island, located off the coast of South Australia, is a true wildlife haven. You can spot wild sea lions lazing on the beaches, kangaroos grazing in open fields, and koalas napping in their absolutely favourite spot – eucalyptus trees. And don’t miss out on the chance to visit Flinders Chase National Park and Remarkable Rocks while you’re there!
5. Crocodile Spotting in the Northern Territory
If you have some proper adventurers within your family and feel a little bit more daring, head to the Northern Territory for a thrilling experience: witnessing saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. The Adelaide River and Kakadu National Park (which also has amazing birdwatching opportunities further below!) offer exciting – and safe! Opportunities for crocodile spotting tours.
6. Whales in Western Australia
From June all the way to November, the coast of Western Australia becomes a prime spot for whale watching. Yes, whale watching! Majestic humpback whales can be witnessed here while they are migrating along the coast, breaching and playing in the turquoise water. Several coastal towns such as Broome and Albany offer whale-watching tours that are suitable for the entire family.
7. Exploring the Daintree Rainforest
Australia features no less than eight different climate zones – and thanks to one of them, the Far North Queensland is even sporting a rainforest – the ancient Daintree Rainforest. Guided Tours provide incredible insight into the lush flora and fauna, including tree-dwelling marsupials, colourful butterflies, and elusive cassowaries!
8. Turtle Hatchlings on Heron Island
Hear me out: turtles are the best. With their little flapping fins? Oh, my goodness. On Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, you can witness the remarkable sight of little baby turtles emerging from their nests and making their way to the sea during the hatching season between January and May. It’s not only an educational, but also heartwarming experience for, really, everyone involved.
9. Birdwatching in Kakadu
Now, if you or your little ones are bird enthusiasts (and be honest, who isn’t), you might want to have a look at the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory (may even couple it with the crocodiles!), as it’s a true paradise for our feathered friends. There are over 280 different bird species that call this park home, including colourful parrots, eagles, and waterbirds. Off you pop, explore the wetlands and billabongs for fantastic birdwatching opportunities!
10. Seal Swimming in Victoria
And finally: In Victoria, you can embark on a family-friendly adventure by swimming with playful Australian fur seals in the crystal-clear waters of Port Phillip Bay. Tours are suitable for all ages and provide a wonderful and unique opportunity to get up close to these charismatic marine mammals.