Australia & NZ
Australia: Top 8 Wildlife Parks
Exotic endemic fauna, probably as much as Vegemite and Violet Crumble, lures untold visitors to Australia every year. Everyone is keen, after all, to spot a bandicoot or wallaby. From the Top End to Tasmania, the South West to Cape York Peninsula, the country is awash with zoos and nature reserves that allow you to do just that. For now, however, we focus the spot on a superb octet where wildlife stewardship is front of mind.
Old Princes Highway, Monarto, South Australia
Adelaide has a fine zoo but do yourself a solid and make the short 70 km drive from Victoria Square to Monarto Zoological Park. Aside from animals from Asia, the Americas and Africa, the facility is a prime place to photograph a bilby and malleefowl.
Where to stay: Stamford Plaza Adelaide Hotel
Territory Wildlife Park
Cox Peninsula Road, Berry Springs, Northern Territory
A short 45 minutes from Darwin, Territory Wildlife Park unfurls a parade of Top End fauna and flora.
Where to stay: One30 The Esplande Apartments Darwin
Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park
Port Arthur Highway, Taranna, Tasmania
While a diabolical, parasitic cancer decimates the wild devils of Tasmania, the best sanctuary on the island, arguably, is in tiny Taranna, some 85 km outside of capital Hobart.
Where to stay: Salamanca Inn All Suite Hotel Hobart
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin, Queensland
A fave escape from the superficial excesses of Surfers, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a mob of beautiful Rainbow Lorikeets. The reserve also has a world class aviary, reptile facility and Tasmanian Devil enclosure.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Hotel Surfers Paradise
Caversham Wildlife Park
Lord Street, Whiteman Park, Whiteman, Western Australia
Perth offers several alternatives for wildlife lovers but Whiteman Park, some 22 km from the city, is a gem. Caversham Wildlife Park, a huge walk-through facility, has koalas, kangaroos, wombats and dingos galore.
Where to stay: Pan Pacific Perth
Canberra Nature Park
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
As the “Bush Capital” of Australia – and capital capital – the ACT has a lot of endemic wildlife (and pests) to enjoy. Canberra Nature Park envelops some 33 separate areas in the city and ACT proper and offers myriad trails that guarantee glimpses of native furry creatures.
Where to stay: Diamant Boutique Hotel Canberra
Ballarat Wildlife Park
York and Fussell Streets, Ballarat East, Victoria
Sixteen acres of gum woodland may not seem like a lot but this premier wildlife park 115 west of Melbourne has enough quokkas, echidnas, koalas, devils, quolls, crocs and snakes to wow wee ones.
Where to stay: Travelodge Hotel Southbank Melbourne
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Obley Road, Dubbo, New South Wales
We adore Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Sydney but the Western Plains sister facility merits a special trip. While the zoo’s acquisitions from Sub-Saharan Africa get a lot of attention, the residents from Down Under are just as impressive.
Where to stay: Four Points By Sheraton Hotel Darling Harbour Sydney