Want to see wild Kangaroos close to Melbourne? Woodlands Historic Park practically guarantees Kangaroo sightings not far from the city.
About Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park is just over 20km drive from the centre of Melbourne. It’s actually right next door to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport and is a great place to see Kangaroos close to Melbourne.
There’s so much to love about this park, with over 700ha of both cultural and natural significance. It’s home to a 150 year old homestead and predating this, canoe trees carved by the Woiworung Aboriginal people. Both the vegetation and wildlife is being progressively restored to what was first experienced by European settlers in the 1840’s. So the parks woodland and grassland trails are really rewarding to explore by foot or bike. But the drawcard for many is what’s in and amongst the parks beautiful flora – large mobs of Kangaroos.
As an expatriate, I think I can speak with some authority about coming to Australia from overseas. Finding some Australian native wildlife is usually high on most tourists the bucket lists. And the iconic Kangaroo likely tops a lot of those lists. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t find Kangaroos hopping all around the city of Melbourne. But the good news is sightings at Woodlands Historic Park are virtually guaranteed which makes the park arguably the best place to see wild Kangaroos close to Melbourne.
About the Kangaroos
Kangaroos found in this part of Victoria are Eastern Greys, which are by far the most prevalent Kangaroo species in the state. Consisting of both males and females, mobs are often 50+ in size. Females Kangaroos are known as ‘does’ or ‘flyers’ and males are known as ‘bucks’ or ‘boomers’. During the mating season, the largest male dominates the mob. And some of the bucks we’ve seen here are absolutely massive!
Where to find the Kangaroos
Although generally shy and retiring, the Woodlands Historic Park has a very healthy population of Eastern Greys. So if you look carefully as you wander through the park, you’ll almost certainly find more than a few of these amazing creatures. Kangaroos are more active during the cooler periods of the day and night. So in the heat of the day, you won’t usually find Roo’s hopping or grazing out in the open. Instead you’ll find large mobs resting under the shade of the trees.
Parts of the Woodlands Historic Park have been over run by Paterson’s Curse – a highly invasive weed. Its purple flowers may look nice when flowering in Spring and early Summer, but that’s it’s only redeeming feature. It kills off native plants, is incredibly hard to remove and can be deadly to some animals. On a recent visit, the weed was in full flower which made for some fairly unique Kangaroo photo’s.
The Woodlands Historic Park is not just about the Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s. There are all sorts of other creatures to be found in the fenced off ‘Back Paddock’. This Australian bush habitat is home to endemic creatures like the Black Wallaby and Echidna, though they are hard to find.
Of particular significance is the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. These nocturnal marsupials were reintroduced to the park as part of a program to save them from extinction. This park is one of several that are repopulating these critically endangered creatures.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that the Woodlands Historic Park also has a large and diverse range of birdlife and is popular with bird enthusiasts. For those visiting to see the Kangaroos and to picnic, the extra wildlife is often a very welcome and unexpected bonus. The ‘Back Paddock’ area is particularly productive if you want to find some of Victoria’s many stunning bird species.
Did you know Australia has 50 different Parrot species, comprising of Cockatoos and ‘true’ Parrots? And Woodlands Historic Park is home to many. Look out for Cockatoos like the Little and Long-billed Corellas, Galahs, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo. Parrots including Red-Rumped and Australian King Parrot, Rainbow, Eastern & Crimson Rosella are seen regularly. Musk and Little Lorikeet, Purple-Crowned and Blue-winged Parrot can also be found here. Even the migratory and critically endangered Swift Parrot vacations here. In Autumn the entire population of these small parrots migrates from Tasmania to winter throughout Victoria and NSW, some of which end up here.
And there’s more than just Parrots found here. The park is home to plenty of Victoria’s other colourful and characterful species. Regularly found birds here include: Laughing Kookaburra, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Red-browed Finch (Firetail), Superb Fairy-wren, Crested Shrike-tit, Willie Wagtails, various Honeyeaters, Thornbills and the extravagantly groomed Crested Pigeon.
And of particular interest to bird lovers are the park’s seasonal Robins – 5 different species of Victoria’s colourful Robins can be found here: Eastern Yellow Robin, Red-capped Robin, Scarlet Robin, the not too dissimilar looking Flame Robin and even the spectacular Pink Robin. Though we’ve only found the latter in the Great Otway National Park. These colourful little birds are guaranteed to brighten up your day!
If you’re wanting to see Kangaroos close to Melbourne, then look no further. Kangaroo sightings here are pretty much guaranteed! Its proximity to the airport could even allow for a quick stopover for wildlife fanatics wanting to tick-off one of Australia’s most iconic animals.
But remember, it’s not just all about the Roo’s. Don’t forget there’s scenic trails to be explored, historically significant relics to discover, colourful birds to find and picnic areas to enjoy.
The park is 25km north from the centre of Melbourne. There are park entrances off Somerton Road and Oaklands Road for the Woodlands Homestead. And for free parking and access to the parks large picnic area, enter off Providence Road.
There is no public transport access to Woodlands Historic Park.
The park is open to vehicles from 8:30am until 4:30pm, extending to 6:00pm during daylight savings.
Pedestrian access is available at all times.
Look after Woodlands Historic Park
- Don’t litter! Please take all your rubbish away with you and recycle or dispose accordingly.
- Do not get too close to the Kangaroos. They are quite tolerant, but you do not need to unnecessarily disturb them. They can also become protective.
- Please close the gates! A recovery program for the threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoot takes place here. Keep gates shut to keep the predatory foxes out!
- Don’t feed the birds. Most birds eat a balanced diet; 90% eat insects and nectar, seed or fruit. People feeding birds the wrong food changes the balance of their diet and can negatively impact their health’ – WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation
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