Zoos – that are run properly and humanely – are awesome but nothing compares to seeing native animals in their natural habitat. Especially when that wildlife is as weird, unique and adorable as Australia’s. So pack your cameras and binoculars and get all Wild Thornberry’s at these spots around the country.

Rottnest Island – WA

Rottnest Island was made famous by the coveted Instagram selfie with its cutest inhabitants, the Quokkas. Why are they so loved? Because they’re small, furry, friendly and always look like they’re smiling. You will literally find them everywhere on the island.

Side note, it’s also a popular migration spot for  humpback whales, bottle-nose dolphins, New Zealand Fur Seals and Australian sea lions.

The Flinders Ranges – SA

You know those ridiculously beefed up kangaroos you see photos of? Well they’re Red Kangaroos and there’s plenty of them at The Flinders Ranges. Other common sightings are western grey kangaroos and wallabies, but if you’re lucky you’ll also catch a glimpse of some other Aussie beauties, from Emus and wedge-tailed eagles to goannas and bearded dragons.

Great Barrier Reef – QLD

The beauty of Australia is that the fauna doesn’t stop once you step off the mainland. The Great Barrier Reef has a whole series by Sir David Attenborough just for it, so if that doesn’t speak volumes I don’t know what does. Dive or snorkel through coral with seemingly endless colourful fish species and, if you’re lucky, dolphins.

Cradle Mountain – TAS

I don’t even care how biased I am when I say that wombats are clearly the superior Australian species. They’re so dang adorable, while at the same time have a reputed attitude if you get up in their space. Cute and sassy folks, cute and sassy.

Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park provides their ideal habitat, so it’s not surprising it’s one of the best spots in Australia to find them in the wild.

Wilsons Promontory – VIC

If you want a solid chance of spotting an emu in the wild, Wilsons Promontory is your best bet. Emus and wallabies roam in large numbers, and you may even spot yourself an adorable wombat or two.

Phillip Island – VIC

I know penguins seem more like an arctic thing, but fairy penguins are small, adorable and love themselves some Phillip Island. In fact it’s one of the largest colonies of them in Australia. Stay until sunset and watch from the surrounding board walks as they waddle their way ashore.

Kangaroo Island – SA

Absolutely no points for guessing that you’ll spot a bunch of kangaroos here, or even for guessing wallabies, but Kangaroo Island is home to a whole bunch of Aussie wildlife. Expect to find echidnas, bandicoots, sea lions, echidnas, koalas and a whole bunch of birds. That’s why a lot of people refer to it as Australia’s version of The Galápagos Islands.

Ningaloo Reef – WA

There’s diving with sharks, which is also something you can do in Western Australia – and absolutely terrifies the heck out of me even at the thought of it – and then there’s diving with harmless gentle giants, whale sharks. At 19000 kilos and up to 10 metres in length, these are the biggest fish on the planet.

Daintree Rainforest – QLD

Sure, you never want to find yourself in a swimming hole with one, but spotting saltwater crocodiles from afar in the wild is an unforgettable experience. But this vast expanse of tropical rainforest and wetlands holds a lot more fascinating animals to spot. Cassowaries, bright blue Ulysses Butterflies, right green tree frogs, bandicoots, sugar gliders, goannas and so much more all live within theDaintree Rainforest.

https://smart.link/5baab15bf819d

Image: iStock Images / [tap10]