Rob Burnett
Rob Burnett
Travel Tip

3 Ways to see Tassie’s Cute and Cuddly Creatures

Kathryn Leahy
Often referred to as the last wild frontier, Tasmania is also the last remaining refuge for many native animals that once roamed across the Australian continent. Today this isolated island at the world’s edge is the only place you can see a Tasmanian devil, forty-spotted pardalote, eastern quoll, spotted-tailed quoll and the Tasmanian bettong in the wild.

1. Visit a local wildlife sanctuary

Visit a wildlife park and come closer than ever to Tasmania’s wildlife.

Your guide at Platypus House will get you up close to a platypus then take you to the echidna garden to learn how the platypus and echidna are related as baby echidna wander about your feet.

At Tasmanian Devil Unzoo they’ve removed the barriers or concealed them and you can meet curious devils face-to-face by popping your head up inside a glass dome in a devil enclosure.

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing Tasmania’s native wildlife. The sanctuary even offers up close and personal animal encounters with wombats, sugar gliders and tawny frogmouths.

At Trowunna Wildlife Park witness devil feedings (spoiler alert: it’s carnage!).

Devils@Cradle have after dark feeding tours and educate visitors on the Tasmanian conservation efforts to save the devil from the deadly facial tumour disease –  grown-ups even have a chance to dine with the devils.

At Wings Wildlife Park feed the devils, enter the koala enclosure, hand feed the kangaroos and take a nocturnal tour to see animals that come out at night.

East Coast Natureworld has 150 acres of forest, lagoon and beach frontage to wander and meet friendly wildlife or get picked after dark in Bicheno for a night tour to a secret location where you can see the Devils in the Dark.

greg irons bonarong wildlife park brighton tasmania
Rob Burnett
Bonorong Wildlife Park

2. See them in their natural habitat

Around forty per cent of Tasmania is protected as national parks and reserves. Most of them are stunningly beautiful and within easy reach of our major cities – and all of them are safe to visit.

Kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats

In Tasmania, it’s easy to see forester kangaroos, wallabies and wombats in their natural habitat. Your best chance is at Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, Narawntapu National Park (dubbed the “Serengeti of Tassie”) and Maria Island National Park, when they emerge at dawn and dusk from the cover of the bush to graze on marsupial lawns and buttongrass plains.

Head to Ronnie Creek at Cradle Mountain for more wombat spotting. The wombats here are happy to be watched but love their space, so please keep to the boardwalks.

Spotted quoll

Spotted quolls are nocturnal, shy and hard to find, yet at your cabin set among the bush in Loongana (Mountain Valley Wilderness Retreat) these curious cuties come right up to your veranda. Joining in the show are pademelons, wallabies and if you stay up late enough, Tasmanian devils.

Tasmanian devil

Maria Island also has a population of healthy Tasmanian devils, adding to the already-rich wildlife experience on the island. Also keep an eye out for the forty-spotted pardalote, one of Australia’s rarest birds. Few places in Australia can match Maria Island’s ease of wildlife encounters.

Albino wallaby

Unique to Bruny Island is an albino wallaby found on the southern side of Adventure Bay. While used to their celebrity status, they’re wild so avoid approaching them.

Platypus

The town of Latrobe calls itself the Platypus Capital of the world, so if you want to see a platypus in its natural environment watch for tell-tale ripples at the edge of the bank or book a guided tour at the local Information Centre. The old quarry at Waratah, now landscaped into a lake, is also a reliable place to see platypus. Venture to the southern side of the lake, and if nothing else, you can snap a photo of the “Platypus Crossing” road sign.

wombat maria island tasmania
Dominic Zeng Photoart
Wombat on Maria Island

3. Take a guided wildlife tour

Local guides are great way to experience Tassie’s curious native wildlife.

Penguins

The best way to see adorable little penguins emerge from the water, preen themselves and waddle up to their burrows is under the guidance of Low Head Penguin Tours and Bicheno Penguin Tours. They know the best spots to observe and not disturb the local penguin population.

Quoll spotting

Pepper Bush Adventures will take you into the bush for an evening of campfire dinners, close encounters with native wildlife and some quoll spotting.

Whales, seals, dolphins

Want to see Australian fur seals lounging in the sun, dolphins leaping at the bow and whales on their migratory path? Adventure cruises Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Wineglass Bay Cruises and Stanley Seal Cruises will make it happen. Slip a dry suit over the top of your clothes and Wild Ocean Tasmania will take you one step further allowing you to observe seals underwater.

Bird life

Inala Nature Tours will whisk you away to Bruny Island, a refuge home to six threatened bird species, all 12 Tasmanian endemic birds, echidnas, and white wallabies. Further exploration of Tasmania’s endangered birds will see you flying to the south-west wilderness to see Orange-bellied Parrot in its natural habitat.

A wilderness cruise boat in the ocean dolphins jumping at the bow
Joe Shemesh
Bruny Island Cruises

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For more information to help you plan your trip to Tassie, feed your curious at our other helpful site, Discover Tasmania

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