Queensland offers so many opportunities to mingle with its wildlife wonders – from whales to wombats, koalas to kangaroos and cockatoos to crocodiles, your most difficult choice will be deciding exactly which animal to see!
Meet our sea life:
Queensland's sea life is abundant, and any chance you get to meet up with these magnificent creatures will be awe-inspiring.
Hand-feed the dolphins – Moreton Island, Brisbane
Every evening, the shallow waters around Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort become a sanctuary for dolphins and an unforgettable haven for you to hand-feed these gentle marine creatures. For an even closer encounter, get your swimsuit on and sign up for a swim with the dolphins at Sea World on the Gold Coast. www.tangalooma.com www.seaworld.com.au
Whale nursery – Hervey Bay
The Queensland coastline is host to a convoy of cruising whales between July and November as these gentle giants migrate from the Great Barrier Reef to the Southern Ocean. But the best place to spot humpback whales is in the warm waters of Hervey Bay. Known as the Whale Watching Capital of Australia, it is here that the 15 metre long, 45 tonne mammals put on a spectacular display of acrobatic playfulness for visitors, remaining in the calm waters until their newly born babies are strong enough to make the long journey back to the southern ocean in late October. Choose an aerial tour or take one of the many whale watch cruises available. http://www.herveybaywhalewatch.com.au/
Tonnes of turtles – Bundaberg and Gladstone
Each year between November and early January, thousands of turtles painstakingly drag themselves up the beaches of Central Queensland, each taking hours to lay approximately 150 eggs before retuning to the ocean. Cocooned in their sandy nest, these fragile eggs incubate for almost six weeks until the January to March hatching season, when masses of tiny turtles emerge from the sand and scurry across the beach to the safety of the onrushing waves. Guided tours to this fascinating animal encounter operate nightly during the season at Mon Repos Conservation Park. www.bundabergregion.info and Heron Island, www.gladstoneregion.info
Adventures of the crocodile kind – Tropical North Queensland and Sunshine Coast
If giant scaly creatures with massive tails, long sharp teeth and beady eyes are more your type of animal, then check out the range of crocodile adventures here in Queensland. Cruise out to see crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, located between Port Douglas and Palm Cove. Or, if you want to see them up close and check out some other creatures as well, visit the legendary Crocoseum at Australia Zoo. Made famous by the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, the zoo is hailed around the globe for its huge selection of exotic animals and the twice-daily wildlife warrior shows introducing these giant jaw-snappers. www.crocodileadventures.com www.australiazoo.com.au
Close encounters with a dwarf Minke whale – Tropical North Queensland
If you are swimming off the coast of Port Douglas from May to August, these delightful whales will often come right up to you. Encounters are never guaranteed but are frequent during winter. www.poseidon-cruises.com.au
Cuddly encounters with koalas:
One of the most iconic animal encounters in the world, the opportunity to cuddle a koala is available in just two Australian states: Queensland and South Australia. Here in Queensland, there are plenty of options for guests to meet our furry friends.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
The world's first and largest koala sanctuary has more than 130 koalas in residence. Cuddle one, hand-feed some friendly kangaroos and meet a wide variety of Australian wildlife in beautiful, natural settings. www.koala.net
If you can take time out from all the fabulous rides, Dreamworld offers koala experiences including glimpse of the world's only blue-eyed koala. www.myfun.com.au
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast
The Sanctuary has been in operation for over 60 years and is still as popular as ever. Don't miss the daily koala talk and feeding session, where you can get your photograph taken with a furry friend. http://www.cws.org.au/
Coffee with a koala, Hamilton Island
Enjoy a buffet breakfast or a snack in the dining area of the Koala Gallery Wildlife Experience on Hamilton Island. After your meal, enjoy a koala cuddle and then check out the collection of Australian native animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, birds and reptiles. www.hamiltonisland.com.au
Fly with the Birds:
Queensland is home to 603 bird species and while it is one of the best places in the world to bird watch, there are a number of other ways you can get better acquainted.
Breakfast with the birds, Gold Coast
Be serenaded by a symphony of sounds and colours over breakfast at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Every morning and afternoon, you can hand-feed the brightly coloured wild lorikeets that have flown into the Sanctuary for 60 years. http://www.cws.org.au/
Birdwatchers' paradise, Gold Coast Hinterland
O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse and Binna Burra Mountain Lodge in the Gold Coast Hinterland are prime bird watching spots; the former hosts an annual Bird Week every November. You'll be able to spot beautiful birds like the tiny white browed scrub wren, the bee-eater, king parrot, kookaburra, rainbow lorikeet and the crimson rosella. www.oreillys.com.au; www.binnaburralodge.com.au
Many of Queensland's native animals prefer the nightlife, and there are plenty of options available if you want to see them in action after hours.
Cairns Night Zoo, Tropical North Queensland
Enjoy a barbeque dinner and follow your guide into the darkness to meet the creatures of the night. Learn how owls hunt, touch a possum, pet a koala and sneak through a crocodile's lair. www.cairnsnightzoo.com
Twilight Safari, Mareeba, Tropical North Queensland
Take a twilight safari on a sunset boat cruise through the famous Mareeba Wetlands and enjoy a riot of sights and sounds. Let the ospreys, sea eagles, black swans, magpie geese, brolgas, whistling ducks, pelicans, pink-eared ducks and Australia's answer to the stork, the jabiru, delight your senses! www.mareebawetlands.com
Gone batty, Central Queensland
If bats and caves are your thing, Mt Etna is the place to go. One of the few places in Queensland where you can go caving and walk in the limestone home of thousands of bats, guided night tours operate every summer. www.capricorntourism.com.au
Glow Worm Caves, Mount Tambourine, Queensland
The Glow Worm Caves at Mt Tambourine houses glow worms in a controlled environment, removing the impacts of decreasing rainforests and human interaction, protecting these tiny creatures. http://www.glowwormcavetamborinemountain.com.au/caves.html
And, last but not least:
Platypus central, Mackay
Eungella National Park is platypus country and Broken River is the capital. Nowhere else in the world are you as likely to see these furry little duck-billed critters as you are here. http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/eungella/
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Author: Tourism and Events Queensland
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