15 Amazing Wildlife Encounters in Western Australia
Western Australia (WA) is the largest state in Australia and attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. Not only is it some of the best beaches in Australia, world-class surfing and stunning wine regions; it’s also home to a host of incredible wildlife. We think getting close to these amazing animals in the wild should be on everyone’s bucket list. So be sure to add WA to your Australian itinerary.
Western Australia Wildlife Encounters
Western Australia Wildlife Encounters
If you’re ready to see what’s on offer, here’s our secret guide to the best spots for 15 amazing wildlife encounters in Western Australia:
Kangaroos in Western Australia.
Where else to start, but with the most iconic animal in Australia. The kangaroo is the largest of the marsupial family, known for carrying their babies in pouches on their bellies.
Kangaroos are quite common in Washington, but there are some great places you can use to increase your chance of seeing a Skippy in the wild. If you’re in the Perth metro area, head to Pinaroo Memorial Park at dawn or dusk to see their resident kangaroos.
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Kangaroos are everywhere and are a public park, and admission is completely free. Outside the city, your chances increase, but our favorite places to see kangaroos include the Petra Olive Oil Estate in the beautiful southwest region and Cape Range National Park.
One of the most unusual mammal species in Australia, the echidna looks like something between a hedgehog, porcupine and anteater.
The normally shy and well camouflaged echidna is actually hard to spot in the wild. For a good opportunity to see this curious animal, go to Kalamunda, an hour’s drive from Perth. From there, follow the Bibbulman Trail, a 1,000-kilometer trail through the native forest and the famous echidna’s den. Don’t worry, you won’t have to walk 1,000 km!
Swimming with dolphins in Western Australia
Who wouldn’t want to swim with wild dolphins? Luckily, there are plenty of places in Western Australia where you can snorkel with these inquisitive animals. We recommend Bunbury Dolphin Discovery, where you can join one of their daily dolphin swimming trips. The trip will take you to all the famous dolphin spots and allow you to swim with them for a couple of hours.
But take your time after the tour. Take shelter on the beautiful white sand beach across from the center and watch the dolphins reach several meters off the shoreline.
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Stingrays in Western Australia.
Of course, there’s no better place to see stingrays up close in the wild than in Hamelin Bay, in the Margaret River region of Washington. You won’t believe your eyes when you arrive at Hamelin Bay.
The beach is like a postcard, and native stingrays can be seen most days during the summer months.
These amazing creatures are used to feeding on the waste of local fishermen and now come very close to shore. They will often approach people, bumping into your feet as you stand in shallow water. Some people even hand feed them.
They seem extremely friendly and have become quite a popular tourist attraction as a result!
More cautious people can step back and enjoy the views, while the more adventurous can grab a snorkel and an underwater camera and jump in for a closer look! But always be careful and beware of their poisonous barbs.
11. sea lions and harbor seals
Curious Sea Lion.
These marine mammals are found in coastal Australia, but head to Green Head on the Midwest coast and you can jump in the water with them.
Sea lions are like little puppies; they like nothing better than trying to steal a tube and take a little bite. Head out in the summer (December through February) for the best weather conditions.
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Yes, that’s right, there are penguins in Australia. An hour south of Perth is Penguin Island. This little island just off the mainland is home to a colony of 1,200 little penguins.
We don’t just call them little penguins because they are small. They are the smallest species of penguin in the world, actually given the name “Little Penguin.” Take a walk around the island, look under the sidewalks, and you’re sure to see some of these cute little birds.
Take selfies with a quokka in Western Australia
Quokka selfies are a rite of passage for all visitors to WA. These miniature marsupials are found only on a few islands off the coast of Western Australia. Having evolved with a lack of predators, the quokka lack many of the survival skills you see in other animals, the main one being a lack of fear.
This lack of fear makes them very approachable and great photography subjects. Add their cheeky smile, and you can see why everyone wants quokka-style selfies.
You can meet quokkas by going to Rottnest Island, less than an hour boat ride from Fremantle. Rent a bike and head out in search of them.
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Western Australia is home to many interesting birds
If you love birds, you won’t be disappointed with what’s on offer in WA. Okay, you’re not a bird, I can hear you.
Regardless, we still think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you spot your first kookaburra, a giant pelican or perhaps one of WA’s iconic black swans.
Kings Park is not only a beautiful park with great views of the city, but also a fabulous place to see wild kookaburras. Listen to their distinctive laughter and start scanning the trees. Once you’re done in the park, head down to the Swan River below and you’ll probably see some hungry pelicans along with the famous black swans (it’s called the Swan River for some reason).
Tuart Forest National Park in the southwest region of Washington State is the largest remaining stretch of Tuart Forest in the world. It also happens to be home to the largest remaining wild population of the endangered western opera ringtail, as well as the more common bush opossum. These remarkable arboreal (tree-dwelling) creatures are nocturnal, and there is no better place to see them than on the Possum Trail.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of eyes reflecting in the beams of your torch, and by the magnificent view you’ll get from both of these possum species. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see owls, bats, frogs, and hear the call of a smoky mouth as the forest comes alive under the cover of darkness.
Head out on a clear night and you’ll also have a spectacular view of the stars. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Author Benjamint444 – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
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6. Sea Turtle.
Swim with sea turtles in Western Australia
Six of the seven species of sea turtles settle off the coast of Western Australia, and seeing them is easier than you think.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can park your car, walk to the beach and swim with sea turtles in a few minutes.
However, go to the magical Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, and that’s exactly what’s on offer. Ningaloo is a wonderland of marine wildlife, and the chance to interact with a chilled sea turtle is just one of the many experiences on offer.
It’s definitely our favorite place in Washington.
Sharks in Western Australia.
With everything you hear in the media, you might think that seeing a shark off the coast of Washington State is relatively common. it really isn’t.
If you hope to see one of these amazing predators up close, you need to head upstate.
Unlike South Australia, there are no shark cage diving trips in Washington state, but you can take a water tour from Coral Bay and your chances of spotting reef sharks, tiger sharks or even gray nurse sharks are very good.
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4. Manta Ray.
Check out the giant manta rays in Western Australia
These ocean giants have a wingspan of up to 9 meters and actually have the largest brain of any fish.
Manta rays can be found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and one of the best places to see them anywhere in the world is Coral Bay, Washington. Trips take place year-round at Bateman Bay, where the mantas live, and visitors can spend a couple of hours feeling very small next to these huge rays.
Check out the dugong in Western Australia.
The dugong is one of our favorite animals. This strange looking marine mammal is actually part of the manatee family.
The Ningaloo region has a healthy population of dugongs, and a day trip to the reef from Coral Bay gives visitors a great opportunity to see the dugong feeding on the sea grass below. These animals are very shy, so you can’t swim with them, but we still think you’ll enjoy seeing them swimming near your boat.
2. Whale Shark
Whale sharks in Western Australia.
Probably the most popular animal sighting in Western Australia, the largest fish in the world attracts tourists from all over the world to Western Australia.
Each year, between April and July, hundreds of these massive animals descend on Ningaloo Reef as part of their annual migration. Day trips leave Exmouth every day during whale shark season, taking many visitors out by boat for opportunities to swim with whale sharks.
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1. Humpback Whale.
Swim with humpback whales in Western Australia
Up until 2016, the best way to view these majestic ocean giants was to take one of the many commercial whale-watching trips that take place throughout the whale season as far west as the west coast.
As of April 2016, however, the government has allowed a small number of operators to take “humpback whale swimming” trips.
You go in search of whales, and once you spot them, you can slip into the water at a safe distance. From that point on, it’s up to the whale, and if they are curious, they will come and check you out.
As you can see, Western Australia is a wildlife lover’s paradise, so why not add some of these experiences to your list.
Michael and Kerry, founders of Mr. and Mrs. BucketList, are bloggers who now call Western Australia home. Passionate about wildlife and conservation, they strive to complete their definitive BucketList of Wildlife.
Australia. Adventures in Western Australia.
Western Australia is the largest state in Australia, covering a third of the continent, with a population of only about 2,300,000 people. The state’s motto is “Carrying the Swan Sign,” and its official name: the Wildflower State. It is an area of big rivers and magnificent landscapes with relict plants and animals. Australia’s most distinctive landscapes – red earth, cliffs, trees and blue skies – are found in the west of the continent. Western Australia: great weather, fine wine, sand and ocean surf! Rarely a European makes it here, but the true traveler will be rewarded with vivid emotions from the encounter with the beautiful and amazing!
Day 2. Perth sightseeing tour: Royal Botanic Gardens and panorama of the capital, Bell Tower, Government House, His Majesty’s Theatre, walk through the center. Fremantle sightseeing tour: port, Roundhouse, 19th century tunnel, Jail, Maritime Museum, Ovens submarine.
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state in Western Australia. It was founded at the mouth of the Swan River by Captain James Stirling in 1829 on the site of the present port town, the satellite town of Perth – Fremantle, located 19 kilometers south-west of the state capital. Like all cities on the water, Perth and Fremantle are stunningly beautiful open spaces stretching 50 kilometers along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Perth is home to the Supreme Court, Parliament, Government House, the residence of the Governor of Western Australia, and the Theater. Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world, (second only to Honolulu), with a population of just over two million people. Perth’s Royal Botanic Gardens cover 400 hectares, making it one of the largest urban parks in the world. Located high atop Mount Elise, the garden gives the traveler a sweeping panorama of the capital and the Swan River to the horizon.
The Swan Tower Bell Tower on Barrak Square is the main symbol of the city and one of the most beautiful places in the world. The bell tower looks like a tall glass tower, at the base of which there is a metal structure resembling two large sails. The tower is full of ancient bells with centuries of history, and thanks to a modern lighting system, at night the tower sparkles with all the colors of the rainbow. Fremantle, founded in 1829, has preserved many 19th century heritage structures. The Maritime Museum on Fremantle’s historic Victoria Promenade provides visitors with materials and facts about the Indian Ocean, the Swan River, fishing, maritime commerce and naval defence. On display is the yacht Australia II, which won the America’s Cup in 1983.
The submarine Ovens, open to the public, has been turned into a museum exhibit.
The Fremantle Shipwreck Gallery is a museum of maritime archaeology and a place where shipwreck remains are preserved. Among the exhibits is the reconstructed hull of the Dutch ship Batavia from 1629.
Perth is famous for its healthy cuisine. From traditional dishes we recommend flavorful steaks on the grill, and, of course, seafood. Perth is especially famous for its excellent lobsters, which are exported to the United States and Europe.
Day 3. Excursion (10-12 hours) to the pointed desert Pinnacles and Nambung National Park, with a stop in the town of Cervantes.
The road passes along the Indian Ocean, numerous picturesque beaches and dunes, and takes about 2.5 hours one way. Near the coast you can see sea lions and dolphins. Walking in the desert. Those who wish can take a board ride through the dunes, eat lobster for lunch and swim in the ocean at sunset.
Nambung National Park (the local Aboriginal word for “curved”) gets its name from the river that flows through the park valley and disappears into a limestone cave system. The Yued people are the traditional custodians of this land. The park covers an area of about 185 sq. km. and includes the famous pointed desert, beaches and coastal dunes.
Te Pinnacles is a small desert in Nambung National Park with bizarre stone sculptures in the middle of a sandy plain. The wind changes the surrounding landscape daily, the sand exposes new rocks, leaving room for the traveler’s imagination – a camel, a kangaroo, a redskin chief, silhouettes of ghosts, a ruined city. The color of the desert varies, from ashy gray around the edges to bright gold in the center; the cliffs range in size from one meter high, to enormous, which can be compared to a car or even a house. Te Pinnacles stretches in the southwest of Western Australia, 20 minutes from the town of Cervantes, 245 kilometers north of Perth, 6 kilometers from the coastline. This part of Western Australia is part of the Coral Coast region. It is interesting that the first mentions of the desert with turrets were found in the notes of Dutch sailors, who thought they had found a ruined ancient city. And only later it turned out that the beautiful unearthly landscape is a miracle of nature. Scientists believe that the landscape was formed over millions of years: the desert was replaced by the ocean, the remains of sea creatures and shells turned into limestone rocks, and water and wind churned out interesting shapes. The rocks have been dated to 30,000 years old; and the rock has come to the surface at least once – traces of Stone Age people have been found at the base of the rocks. Later the rocks, were buried again for several millennia under a layer of sand, because they do not appear in the legends of the natives. In our time, the peaks have become visible since the middle of the XX century. And today this amazing place, located in the middle of Nambung National Park, is available to visit.
There are animals in the desolate alien landscape. In the park you can find western gray kangaroos, which can be quite tame, and sometimes allow slow-moving visitors to approach them. Of birds, the black cockatoo and emu, and of reptiles, the armored bobtail lizard Scintus, the sand lizard and the carpet python. The trip takes place in specially prepared vehicles, as ordinary tires cannot withstand hitting the limestone debris.
Day 4: Excursion to a working mint, oceanarium, and Caversham Wildlife Park (8 hours).
The Perth Mint, Australia’s oldest and most active mint, opened in 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint of London. Australia previously had three mints: one in Sydney, one in Melbourne and one in Perth. Today the country’s main mint is in Canberra, and about 60% of Australian gold is processed in Perth and commemorative coins are produced. And it was at the Perth Mint in 2011 that the world’s largest gold coin weighing more than one ton with a face value of 1mn Australian dollars was minted. On one side is Elizabeth II, on the other a kangaroo. The coin is 80 cm in diameter and 12 cm thick and has a gold purity of 99.99%. The weight is 1012 kilograms, and the real value is 53.5 million.
Perth is known for silver coins with images of animals – these are the Koala and Cucabarra series, as well as the Oriental Lunar Calendar, whose design is updated every year. The Kangaroo silver coin appeared in the Perth Mint’s portfolio in September 2015, breaking all records and breaking into the top five most popular investment coins in the world.
The AQWA Western Australian Oceanarium (a 20-minute drive from the city) delights everyone who wants to see unique species of marine animals, watch sharks feeding, and watch documentaries on the country’s marine life. The Perth Aquarium is a large aquarium showcasing marine life from all 3 of the oceans that bathe Australia.
Caversham Wildlife Park is rich in Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos, dingoes and wombats. Meet the famous mini quokkas, who are always smiling (native to Rottnest Island, near Perth).
Daily interactive rides in the park with the participation of tourists, photo and food for the animals are included in the ticket: – photo ” Me and the koala” – (4 times a day for 30 min) – meeting wombat and friends (4 times a day for 30 min) – feeding kangaroos (all day) – farm show – during the day: sheep shearing and dancing, “guys and animals” and others.
Day 5. Free morning. Transfer to the airport.
14.05 – 19.35 – Flight Perth – Singapore by Singapore Airlines (5h30 min. en route). Waiting time between flights 4 hrs 45 min. For those who decide to stay 1-2 days more in Perth we recommend visiting: Western Australian Museum, founded in 1891. It contains about 4.5 million objects of anthropology, archaeology, history, and natural sciences, and tells about the nature of the state, its history, and the indigenous Aboriginal people. Unusual exhibits include an 11-ton meteorite, the skeleton of a blue whale, skeletons of prehistoric lizards, and rocks from the moon and Mars.
The Fine Arts Gallery of Western Australia has a collection of works by international and Australian artists, including works by Australian Aboriginal artists, both traditional and more contemporary, with striking techniques. The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts runs extraordinary exhibitions by artists as well as concerts by performing arts groups in a wide range of genres.
The Perth Zoo, which dates back to the late 19th century and is home to 1,300 Australian and exotic animals of 170 species from around the globe, includes an extensive botanical collection and is a beautiful oasis a short drive south of the city. The zoo has three main areas: the Australian Outback, the Asian Rainforest, and the African Savannah. There are successful breeding programs for orangutans and giraffes; captive breeding of rare Western Australian animals – including the endangered mammal species, the marsupial anteater, a symbol of Western Australia.
Note that Perth charges zero bus and train fares in the city center, including the 4 CAT bus routes.
There are excellent sandy beaches around Perth where you can relax and play sports almost all year round.
Aboriginal Shows, where guests watch and hear ritual ceremonies, rousing dances and playing the traditional musical instrument, the Didgeridoo. And an exotic buffet with dishes from crocodile meat and wild fruits will be a great addition to a pleasant evening.
Tour to the ancient frozen rock of Wave Rock and Hydean Village (12 hours) This very picturesque, giant wave rock of multicolored granite has created an unusual and perhaps most famous landscape in Western Australia. Created from thousands of years of rock, it looks like petrified water. The rock is 340 km east of the city of Perth and is part of a 160-hectare nature reserve, Hayden Park. The wave has special significance for the indigenous people of these lands, the Ballardong people. The sacred rock is the creation of the rainbow serpent, so popular in many Australian Aboriginal legends; and local tribes believed that the landscape was created by the trail of its swollen body over the land after the serpent absorbed all the water on earth.
Travelers drive through areas of the “wheat belt” to the town of Hayden, climb to the top of the “wave” with a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area, and take walks to other unusual rock formations: Hippo’s Tooth and Camel’s Hump.
0.20 – 6.00 Flight Singapore-Moscow (10 h 40 min. en route). Arrival at home.
Have a nice trip!
Tourist visa for Australia.
All documents submitted in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation into English. The following documents must be submitted to the Embassy:
- A fully completed and signed and dated Application Form 48R (Australia). All questions must be answered. The application form must be signed by the tourist himself/herself.
- New passport photo.
- Photocopy of passport.
- Valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least one page for an Australian visa.
- All your previous passports or, if you have no original passports, copies of them.
- A copy of hotel reservations, flight reservations.
- Bank statements, traveler’s checks, documents proving you have property.
- Certificate of employment indicating the position you hold, official salary, length of work experience, duration of leave and its nature (paid or unpaid).
- If you own a business, you must provide proof of legal ownership (such as tax registration and business registration certificates), proof of income from your business, and proof of any significant assets in your business.
- If you are a student, a letter from your institution confirming your student status and length of absence from your place of study is required for travel to Australia.
- Photocopies of marriage certificates, birth certificates of children.
- For men and women with a military background, a photocopy of your military service record and information about your military department at the institution.
If you have reached the age of 75 and over (you will need to pass a general survey on the form, which can be obtained at the Embassy, filled out by an accredited doctor and confirm, that you are medically fit to travel to Australia and back).
If you are aged 75 years or over you must provide evidence of your eligibility to be covered by medical insurance for the duration of your intended stay in Australia.
Visa application processing times are set by the consulate and can be more than two weeks.