Where to find the best wildlife encounters around Perth

Kangaroos At Yanchep National Park
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Sometimes the best way to relax after a long week (or month) at the office is to get away from humans and spend some time in nature, and what better way to do that then getting up close and personal with some of Western Australia’s (friendlier) native animals.

With an abundance of spots that showcase our animal neighbours, whether you’re chasing some school holiday fun or just feel like a cuddle from a koala – head to one of Perth’s best wildlife encounter experiences below:

Perth Zoo

Located just minutes from the CBD, Perth Zoo has been operating for over 12 decades, meaning it’s impossible to call yourself a Perth local if you’ve never explored its many enclosures. Featuring animals from every corner of the globe, the Zoo allows you to get close to the animals with behind-the-scenes close encounter experiences and also offers kids and youth programs year round.

Perth Zoo Fathers Day

20 Labouchere Road, South Perth


Heirisson Island

Located on the Swan River and accessible from the Causeway bridge, Heirisson Island is popular for its beautiful scenery and kangaroo sanctuary. After five western gray kangaroos were released on the island in 1998, countless tourists have flocked to the area to spot them in the wild. Now home to a colony of kangaroos, if you’re looking to get close to our most iconic native species, this is the perfect spot.

East Perth


Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA)

Explore the sea at AQWA, which houses over 45 exhibits showcasing rare and magnificent Western Australian marine life with most creatures on display not found anywhere else across the globe. For those wanting the full experience, you can choose to snorkel or dive in AQWA’s shipwreck coast aquarium, which features sharks and stingrays – it’s an absolute thrill!

Halloween AQWA

91 Southside Drive, Hillarys


Carnac Island

The Carnac Island Nature Reserve (Ngoorloormayup) is home to rare Australian sea lions who use the area as a resting spot, along with an array of marine life in the waters around it, including bottlenose dolphins. An important breeding spot for a variety of local seabirds, including Little Penguins and a variety of vulnerable Tern species, it’s also home to a large population of tiger snakes – so many that David Attenborough filmed there for part of a documentary! And while you obviously want to avoid them, there are plenty of options that’ll get you up close and personal with the sea lions.

Sea Lion at Carnac Island

Carnac Island


Rottnest Island

Everybody knows Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) for its magical beaches, fantastic walking trails, boat-filled bays and adorable quokkas. Roaming freely, it’s easy to catch glimpses of these adorably furry creatures in the wild while snacking, sleeping or trying to sneak into your accommodation. Of course, as much as you may want to get up close and personal with the quokkas, it’s illegal to touch or feed them, which means being respectful, especially going for selfies. It’s also a marine reserve, meaning the reefs and waters off the beaches are teeming with wildlife, including hundreds of fish species, making for fantastic snorkelling and diving.

Rottnest Island Quokka

Rottnest Island


Penguin Island

Penguin Island resides just 40 minutes south of Perth, nestled within the Shoalwater Island Marine Park and is breeding ground for the world’s smallest penguin, the little (or fairy) penguin. Accessible by the Penguin Island Ferry, which also includes a walking tour of the island that allows you to get up close to the adorable creatures, you’ll fall in love with the local wildlife. There are also a multitude of tours and excursions around the park where you can meet sea lions and dolphins – check our guide here.

Jetty 153 Arcadia Drive, Shoalwater


Yanchep National Park

Home to a colony of Koalas since 1938, the Koala Boardwalk within the Yanchep National Park is the perfect place to view Australia’s cutest herbivores in the wild. Spot cute koalas from the raised 240m boardwalk amongst the branches. Notorious for sleeping more than eighteen hours a day, If you’re lucky, you might actually catch a glimpse of these sleepy creatures in between naps.

Yanchep National Park

Yanchep Beach Road & Indian Ocean Drive, Yanchep


Cohunu Koala Park

Spread across 14 hectares of Australian bushland, the Cohunu Koala Park is located 40 minutes outside of the city. Explore the park while hand feeding the free-roaming animals, including kangaroos and wallabies, or cuddling a koala. See dingos, emus, deer and a variety of other wildlife as you adventure through Cohunu.

68 Nettleton Road, Byford


Caversham Wildlife Park

Owned and operated by a WA family since 1988, this wildlife park houses the largest private collection of native wildlife in the state! The park features about 200 species of animals, birds and reptiles to explore, as well as daily interactions including holding the sleepy koalas. Visitors even have the chance of adopting an animal (symbolic only) to help support the park and its adorable wildlife.

Swan Valley Road Trip Ideas Caversham

Whiteman Park, Whiteman Drive East, Whiteman


Red’s Zoo & Conservation Park

Located in Pinjarra, Red’s Zoo (formerly Peel Zoo) offers a boutique, hands on experience like no other. This spot allows visitors to feed, hold, pat and tickle some of the animals across numerous interactive experiences. Connect with over 100 species in a unique and personal way at this park.

Sanctuary Drive, Pinjarra


Armadale Reptile Centre

Open everyday except Wednesdays, the Armadale Reptile Centre houses over 70 different species of native reptiles and wildlife including snakes, lizards, frogs, dingos and much more. A rehabilitation centre for injured wildlife, they offer in-house awareness courses to learn to identify venomous wildlife and after-hours group viewings.

304-308 S Western Highway, Wungong


Mandurah dolphins

Mandurah is probably most well-known for its thriving dolphin population, and the best way to see these beautiful creatures is to hop on a cruise through the canals or estuaries. Mandurah Cruises offers a range of cruising options, some specifically designed for dolphin spotting (and dolphin sightings are almost guaranteed).

Mandurah


Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre

Australia is home to five species of black cockatoos, all of which are endangered due to a combination of land clearing, illegal shooting and competition with other species. The folks at Kaarakin are committed to saving as many of these iconic birds as possible – rescuing and rehabilitating them from countless threats, including being struck by vehicles, shot, or attacked by cats. Get involved by visiting one of their tour weekends, or even booking in for a close encounter.

322 Mills Rd E, Martin