WHERE TO FIND THE AMAZING NATIVE WILDLIFE OF VICTORIA – AUSTRALIA

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Koala

Where to find wildlife in Victoria – Australia. A quick guide to the finding some of Victoria’s unique and amazing wildlife.

We love nothing more than getting out into nature and photographing some of Australia’s unique wildlife. For us, half the fun is finding it and the other is trying to get a photo we’re happy with. Fortunately, we’re blessed with a wealth of wildlife all over this state and we never get bored trying to find it. Here’s just a small selection of this awesome native wildlife and some of our tips on how and where to find it in Victoria – Australia.

1. Emu

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Emu

Endemic to Australia, the unmistakeable Emu is the tallest native bird in the country. Standing at up to 1.9m tall, only the Ostrich is taller in the bird world. Emus even feature on Australia’s Coat of Arms along with the Kangaroo. As the only two Australian animals that can’t move backwards it is said the Coat of Arms symbolises a ‘nation moving forward’. Emus are nomadic moving to where food is readily available, but don’t worry there are several places in Victoria where you can consistently find these big birds.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Halls Gap in the Grampians

Other good areas: The Briars Wildlife Sanctuary in the Mornington Peninsula & Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.

2. Eastern Grey Kangaroos

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Kangaroo

One of Australia’s iconic animals, seeing a kangaroo is a bucket list item for most tourists who visit Australia. And luckily there are plenty here in Victoria. Kangaroos are generally very active at dusk and dawn and they are very social animals, so you’ll usually see them in large groups called ‘mobs’. During the hotter parts of day, don’t expect to find them out in the open, they will likely be resting in the shade.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Woodlands Historic Park – Reasonably close to the city and away from the tourist hordes.

Other good areas: The Grampians, The Otways, Mornington Peninsula National Park & Anglesea Golf Course on the Great Ocean Road

3. Little Penguins

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Little Penguin

Where to find them in Victoria:

One of the most adorable sights in Victoria is watching the Little Penguin waddle up the beach. At about 30cm tall and weighing in at an average of 1kg, they are the world’s smallest penguin. Spending the majority of their time at sea, the only time these birds venture on to land is as dusk falls and Victoria has several great area’s to watch this cute spectacle.

Our Top Pick: St Kilda Pier and Breakwater – A great place to see the Little Penguins, close to Melbourne’s CBD. Since Feb 2021, free 1 hour self guided viewing sessions (30 people per session) are available, however bookings must be made in advance – Click HERE to book.

Other good areas: Phillip Island & 12 Apostles/London Arch on the Great Ocean Road

4. Koalas

Koala in the Great Otway National Park

Another of Australia’s most symbolic creatures. Who doesn’t love spotting a Koala? We’re still pumped every time we find one! Generally inhabiting Eucalypt woodlands where they feed, these solitary animals get so little energy from their diet, they spend most of their time resting – up to 20 hours a day. Predominantly active at night, you’ll more often than not find them resting in high forks of a Eucalyptus tree. Sadly Koala numbers are plummeting around the country due to habitat loss. Thankfully Victoria still has some great places to find them and hopefully a lot more is done to protect them, so we can see Koala’s thrive in the wild in the future.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Picks: Bimbi Park Campsite in the Great Otway National Park – A lot less touristy than Kennett River.

Other good areas: Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road & Quinns Island on the Murray River

5. Gang-Gang Cockatoos

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Gang-gang Cockatoo

Found only in southeastern Australia these compact Cockatoos are one of our favourites. The males have a scaly grey/green body with a distinctive red head and wispy crest. The females are quite different in appearance and rather duller. Predominantly grey in colour, they have feathers edged with salmon pink on their underbelly, but no distinctive red crested head. Gang-gangs tend to move to higher altitudes during summer and return to lower ranges in winter.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Bimbi Park Campsite in the Great Otway National Park

Other good area: The Great Ocean Road & the Grampians

6. Swamp Wallabies

Swamp Wallaby

The Swamp Wallaby has a huge range and can be found all over Victoria and pretty much everywhere along the East Coast of Australia. On almost all of our hikes outside of the ‘inner city’ Melbourne, we usually come across at least one of these wallabies. The species is what’s known as a ‘generalist’ when it comes to its habitat selection. It does need dense coverage for shelter, but don’t just expect to find these solitary wallabies around swamps, we have literally seen them everywhere.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Cathedral Range State Park

Other good areas: Mornington Peninsula National Park, Briars Wildlife Sanctuary, Eastern Sherbrooke Forest in the Dandenong Ranges, Wombat State Forest & Great Otway National Park.

7. Spotted Pardalote

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Spotted Pardalote

A really pretty little bird that most people have never seen or heard of before. Although fairly common, these tiny birds can be hard to find as they are most often high in a Eucalypt canopy or deep in their excavated tunnel nests/ burrows. Seen close-up, there are few birds in the state that are more handsome. Males (pictured above) are slightly more decorative with a pale eyebrow, a yellow throat and a red rump.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: The Briars – Mornington Peninsula

Other good areas: The You Yangs & Yarra Bend Park

8. Short-beaked Echidna

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Echidna

A bit of luck is needed to see one of Australia’s more peculiar creatures – the Short-beaked Echidna. During the chilly winter months, they go into state of torpor reducing their metabolism to save energy and are predominantly hibernating in burrows. But, in the warmer months, keep both your eyes and ears open for a foraging Echidna’s when you’re out and about exploring the parks and trails all over the state, particularly the Mornington Peninsula.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: All over the Mornington Peninsula – just do some of the Spring/Summer walks in this region and you’ll likely bump into one at some point.

Other good areas: The Grampians & the You Yangs

9. Superb Lyrebird

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Superb Lyrebird

These birds are really impressive and the sounds you’ll hear from them are truly astonishing. Lyrebirds are capable of imitating almost any sound that they hear, natural or manmade. This mimicry includes mobile phone ring tones, car alarms, camera shutters, dogs barking and much more. The males have long and elaborate tail feathers ready to be fanned out as part of their courtship display in the breeding season making them particularly photogenic.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Cathedral Range State Park – The area around the Farmyard campsite is a particularly good place to find them.

Other good areas: The Dandenong Ranges

10. Grey-Headed Flying Foxes

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Grey-Headed Flying Fox

Grey-Headed Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) are one of the four flying-fox species found on mainland Australia. They are the only ones commonly present in Victoria and Yarra Bend Park has a huge colony. You cannot miss the Flying Foxes on the trail from the Bellbird Picnic Area to the viewing platforms. In the hotter months there can be anywhere from 30,000-50,000. By day you’ll find them roosting in the trees and at sunset watch them fly out in huge numbers.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Yarra Bend Park

Other good areas: Eastern Park – Geelong

11. Pink Robins

Pink Robin - Splitter Falls

Another pretty little bird, most people are unfamiliar with. Endemic to the dense, temperate and tropical forests of southeastern Australia these small pretty in pink robins are one of our favourite birds. And as with the majority of birds, it’s the colourful males that steal the show with their lovely plump pink breast and belly. The females are far less flamboyant predominantly brown without the bright pink hue. They tend to breed in dense and mossy gullies of moist rainforests from September to January and once finished move to more open areas. Be warned, despite the pink colouration they can be surprisingly hard to spot. 

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Erskine Falls & along the Erskine River Track – Great Otway National Park

Other good areas: Beauchamp Falls & Campsite – Great Otway National Park

12. Common Wombat

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Common Wombat

The Common or Bare-Nosed Wombat is a solitary marsupial found in eastern and southern Victoria. These stocky and powerful creatures can weigh in excess of 30kg and are the world’s largest burrowing animal. Because they spend the majority of the daylight hours in one of the main burrows of their home range, these nocturnal animals can be hard to spot. Generally only venturing out in the cooler evenings and through the night to graze, it’s worth putting in some effort and getting your timings right if you want to see one in the wild.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Wilsons Promontory

Other good areas: Gippsland

13. Black Swans

Black Swan - Melbourne

Native to Australia, the Black Swan is found predominantly in the southeast and southwest of Australia and are a common sight in and around Melbourne. You’ll see a lot of the swans here ‘collared’ as part of a study on the movements and breeding of Melbourne’s Black Swans. In Victoria, the winter and spring (June-November) is the the best time to see the cute grey fluffy cygnets with their largely monogamous parents.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Albert Park – About 150 birds live here.

Other good areas: Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens

14. Red-Necked Wallaby

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Red-Necked Wallaby

At first glance you’ll probably think you’ve just seen another Kangaroo! But it is in fact a Red-Necked Wallaby. These usually solitary wallabies prefer areas of less dense dry Sclerophyll Forest close to open grassy areas. Early morning or evening is the best time to see them, as during the day they are generally hidden in the shade of the forest. If you’re having trouble telling the Wallabies and Kangaroos of Victoria apart, then check out our Wildlife of the Grampians blog for some tips on spotting some of the differences between them.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: The Grampians

Other good areas: The Great Ocean Road & Great Otway National Park.

15. Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

One of the larger Cockatoos in Australia, the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo is one of 5 species of Black Cockatoo found in Australia. With mostly black plumage they have feathers edged with yellow and distinctive golden cheek patches and yellow tail feathers, the aptly named Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo is one of the most majestic cockatoos we’ve seen. In recent years there has been in rapid decline in their numbers because of native habitat loss, but luckily there are still some quite reliable places to find these beautiful birds in Victoria.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: The Rail Trail in the Mornington Peninsula

Other good areas: The Dandenong Ranges, Teddy’s Lookout – Lorne, the Great Otway National Park & Yarra Bend Park

16. Platypus

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Platypus

Is there a more bizarre creature than the endemic, semiaquatic, egg-laying Duck-billed Platypus? Alarmingly in recent months research into the conservation status of the Platypus has shown it to be a ‘hidden victim’ of ‘Australia’s extinction crisis’. But hopefully with more awareness we can turn this around. And the good news is, at least for now, there are still a few places in Victoria where you have a great chance of seeing one of Australia’s strangest creatures, especially if you tread quietly at dusk and dawn.

Where to find them in Victoria

Our Top Pick: Lake Elizabeth – Great Otway National Park

Other good areas: St George River – Lorne

17. Tawny Frogmouth

Where to find wildlife in Victoria - Australia - Tawny Frogmouth

A master of camouflage, the Tawny Frogmouth really can be hard to find. Native to Australia these unique birds blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Not to be confused with owls, these big-headed birds are nocturnal and by day usually perch low on tree branches mimicking a broken branch and thus oblivious to most passers by. Found throughout Australia, including cities and towns, you can potentially find one these fascinating birds anywhere in the state (except the really dense rainforest and desert) with a bit of luck.

Where to find them in Victoria:

Our Top Pick: Sweetwater Creek Reserve – Mornington Peninsula

Other good areas: Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Yarra Bend Park & the You Yangs

Something to think about

To quote the WWF Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate of any country in the world, and the catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 impacted nearly 3 billion animals and have pushed many more of our precious wildlife on the fast-track towards extinction. Now more than ever, our wildlife needs our protection.’

So with Australia in the midst of an a potential extinction crisis, we can’t take this wildlife for granted as it might well not be around forever. We hope that this blog can help you to get out and find some of our amazing wildlife in its natural habitat in Victoria, Australia. And in doing so help raise interest and awareness so others may develop the same passion and excitement we have when we see these unique animals in the wild. After all, it’s all our responsibility to protect and safeguard this wildlife for future generations to enjoy.


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