Watch penguins waddle home
The nightly penguin parade at Phillip Island Nature Park where little penguins waddle up the beach to their burrows is a must-see for any animal lover. There is a range of options for visitors but the best is the Ultimate Tour, a fully accredited Eco Tour where you sit on the beach with the penguins and then walk back to the visitor centre through the heart of the penguin colony, while wearing infrared googles and headphones.
Whale of a time
Fancy a cruise? Go to Merimbula, on the NSW south coast, and get close to humpback whales on their annual migration. Merimbula Marina runs adventure cruises where you get to see the 35-tonne giants, and if you’re lucky you might even see some fur seals and dolphins.
See a rhino in the wild (and more)
The Monarto Zoological Park is a 1000-hectare open-range sanctuary in the Murraylands region undertaking a major role nationally and internationally in breeding programs for rare and endangered species, including the southern white rhinoceros. Budding zookeepers might want to take part in the ‘keeper for a day’ program, where you help feed the animals, undertake health checks and prepare exhibits.
Meet a Tassie Devil
It’s the world’s first ‘unzoo’, where you’re invited to natural habitats where barriers are removed or concealed. Wild – as well as resident – animals, are encouraged to interact with the environment. The Tasmanian Devil Unzoo combines up-close animal encounters, wildlife adventures, a Tasmanian native garden and original art. It’s not just devils that you will spy, there’s also eastern quolls, brushtail possums, wallabies, roos and birds.
Handfeed Aussie wildlife
Want to see Australia’s unique wildlife in a natural bush setting? Go to Featherdale which has Australia’s largest collection of native animals. Here you can opt to have a private animal encounter with one of the reptiles, mammals – including a cute quokka – or birds. You can walk around the park with a zookeeper or choose to share your brekky with a koala.