Australia’s native wildlife is one of the country’s biggest draw-cards for international and domestic visitors, but where are the best places to cuddle koalas, feed kangaroos and come face-to-face with the endangered Tasmanian devil? Start with this list of the top 10 zoos and nature reserves you can find in Australia.
It’s hard to know what’s the bigger attraction for visitors to Sydney’s famous zoo: the collection of 4,000 animals to see, or the million-dollar views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. Catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo to stroll around the lush waterfront grounds, including the newly opened jungle-themed ‘Tiger Trek’ where you can get up close and personal with the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger.
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW, +61 2 9969 2777
The star of this nature reserve 90 minutes from Melbourne is the Penguin Parade, a viewing area at Summerland Beach that provides an intimate perspective of the Little Penguins as they waddle across the sand at sunset to return to their burrows after a day’s fishing at sea. Phillip Island Nature Park also includes an Antarctic museum and jet boat tours to Australia’s largest fur seal colony.
1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC, +61 3 5951 2800
The idea of this revolutionary ‘unzoo’ is to be a zoo without cages, in a bid to save the endangered Tassie devil from extinction. The Unzoo contains four unfenced devil habitats that educate visitors about this rare marsupial, as well as paddocks for kangaroos, wallabies, native hens, bandicoots, possums and 100 bird species to roam free.
5990 Arthur Hwy, Taranna TAS, +61 1800 641 641