Many people visit Australia with the intention of interacting with its extraordinary wildlife. Western Australia, which takes up the western third of the continent, has many native animals and birds which are not found in other parts of the country. Most people begin their visit to Western Australia by landing in its capital city, Perth. Here is a list of some of the best places to animals of all types in and around Perth:
Perth Zoo – it’s just minutes away from the city by ferry and is home to 1,300 native and exotic animals from 230 species. One of the special features of Perth Zoo is that is replicates the natural environments of the animals on display in a nice garden setting for the humans. The Zoo is divided into several areas: The African Savannah, the Asian Rainforest, the South American Rainforest and the Australian Outback. Perth Zoo is located at 20 Labouchere Rd, South Perth and is open 9am to 5pm every day of the year.
Caversham Wildlife Park – located at Whiteman Park near the Swan Valley, it houses one of the largest collections of native fauna in Western Australia. Here you can have your photo taken with koalas, wombats and kangaroos, or go on a camel ride or visit Molly’s Farm, an interactive farmyard where you can wander around with various farm animals and even feed them. For entertainment they have various shows, which feature a farm show where you can see sheep shearing demonstrations, working sheep dogs, stockman on horseback, billy swinging, whip cracking, bottle feeding the lambs and milking the cow. Caversham Wildlife Park is open every day except Christmas Day between 9am and 5.30pm. Whiteman Park, Lord Street, Whiteman. To get there by public transport take the train to Bassendean Station and then catch either 956 or 955 to Ellenbrook and alight at Whiteman Park.
Cohunu Koala Park – South of Perth in the suburb of Byford. You will meet and see koalas, kangaroos, swans, ostrich, alpacas, lamas, miniature ponies, dingos, wallabies, pelicans, water birds, eagles, and wombats. Cohunu Koala Park welcomes you to cuddle one of our loveable koalas in your very own photo session. The park is located at Lot 103 Nettleton Rd, Byford just 500m off the South West Hwy and is open every day 10am to 5pm. To get there by public transport catch the train to Armadale Station and then a Taxi to Cohunu or bus 251 to Byford after which you have about a 2 kilometre walk.
Karakamia Sanctuary – This is really one for the purists as its focus is one preserving native animals not necessarily to function as a tourist site and unless you have your own transport it is difficult to get to. Having said that, if you do want to really get to know some of Australia’s shyest and endangered species then it is worthwhile taking the trouble to visit. Experience the magic of Karakamia Sanctuary on a two hour guided walk at dusk. Setting off along a bush track just before sunset, you will have the chance to see a variety of nocturnal animals including Woylies, Tammar Wallabies and Quenda (Southern Brown Bandicoots). Australian Wildlife Conservancy purchased the site in 1991 to protect the threatened mammals of the northern jarrah forest. The name “Karakamia” is an aboriginal word meaning home of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. Weather permitting; Karakamia Sanctuary is open all year at dusk for guided tours. Located at Lot 201 Lilydale Road, Chidlow, public transport is not really an option.
Armadale Reptile Centre – situated in Wungong which is South of Perth. Let’s face it, Australia is famous for its reptiles, which strike fear into many, and this is the place to see venomous and non-venomous snakes and lizards, frogs, turtles and crocodiles. They also have furrier creatures on display including the Wedge-tailed Eagle, wombats, kangaroos, possums and emu. The centre provides a wonderful opportunity for you to observe reptiles, to see what they look like, how they behave and to learn about their habits and habitats. The large enclosures enable you to see these creatures in their natural settings. Open 10am to 4pm daily except Wednesdays, closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Located at 304 South West Highway, Wungong. By public transport catch the train to Armadale Station and bus no 251 or 252 to Byford.
Peel Zoo Pinjarra – Located at Pinjarra about an hour south of Perth. With seven acres of tropical setting including hundreds of birds, Pinjarra’s Peel Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one place you will want to visit. It is especially popular with overseas visitors and children and provides a great family day out. The zoo is different to many other zoos because of its focus on interacting with the animals. There are many animals you can feed and cuddle including baby kangaroos, baby deer, goats, a tame fox, ferrets and walk in aviaries. The zoo also has an extensive collection of native and exotic birds as well as snakes and reptiles. The zoo also has some of the endangered Tasmanian Devils, Australia’s only carnivorous marsupial on display. Open from 9am to 5pm daily. Address is Sanctuary Park Drive Pinjarra. Getting there by public transport is difficult; it might be easiest to hire a car.
Heirisson Island Kangaroos – the closest you can get to kangaroos in the CBD. Heirisson Island is a Swan River island over which the causeway to Victoria Park has been built. It is a few minute’s walk from the end of Adelaide Terrace in the city. The kangaroos were all orphaned so kept on the island and are fed and watered readily. There is a fence there to keep them safe from predators, and if you want to see them the best times are just after dawn of just before dusk. Located on Heirisson Island in the middle of the Swan River. To get there by public transport catch any bus to the end of Adelaide Terrace and walk.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park – Located along the coastline near Rockingham. Here’s where you get to interact with marine life. These island nature reserves are significant in the ecology of a number of bird species. The park covers an area of approximately 6545 hectares and contains the waters of Shoalwater Bay, Warnbro Sound and a part of Cockburn Sound off Cape Peron. Pristine Islands, reefs and ship wrecks make for excellent diving, snorkelling and wildlife watching. At Penguin Island, Little Penguins breed in the burrows – watch them being fed at the interactive centre. The island is also home to breeding colonies of silver gulls, fairy terns, bridled terns and Caspian terns. The reefs surrounding the islands provide good snorkelling and diving and abound in marine life including sea stars, urchins and molluscs as well as a number of fish species. Take to the water here and you’ll probably run in to a pod of bottlenose dolphins which are extremely common in the marine park. You can go swimming with dolphins on tours which operate regularly. Seal Island is home to a colony of rare Australian sea lions which can often be seen fishing and swimming in nearby waters. The Australian sea lion is the rarest in the world and the species is given special protection under State legislation. The best way to reach the Park is to take the train to Rockingham.
Marapana Wildlife Park – Located near Mandurah it is a family business where you can wander over 15 acres of natural bush land where you get to roam freely with the animals and get up close and personal with all their Australian animals such as our Koalas, Kangaroos, Dingos, Wombats and Emus as well as the many other amazing animals, reptiles and birds. Marapana also allows you to cuddle koalas. Open 10am to 5pm seven days a week. When heading to Mandurah on the Kwinana Freeway, just take the exit off Paganoni Rd heading west and look out for the Marapana signs.
AQWA (The Aquarium of Western Australia) – Located adjacent to Hillary’s Boat Harbour, AQWA takes you on an underwater journey to discover the unique and incredible marine life of Western Australia. AQWA boasts Australia’s largest aquarium with underwater tunnel, so you can safely get up very close to some of the most ferocious marine animals you will ever see. AQWA has the world’s largest collection of West Australian marine life. There is a touch pool, living corals, giant sharks, rays and turtles. From the icy waters of the southern ocean to the tropical wonderland of coral reefs in the Far North, AQWA takes you on an underwater journey to discover the incredible and unique marine life of Western Australia 12,000 kilometres of coastline. Open 10am to 5pm daily. To reach by public transport catch the Train to Warwick Station and then bus 423 to Hillarys Boat Harbour.