Perhaps one of the reasons why Australia is often called The Lucky Country is because both its scenery and animals are pretty easy on the eyes. No matter where you go in this country, you’ll see unique sights and animals that will wow anyone lucky enough to see them. From stunning beaches and the seemingly endless Outback, to lush rainforests and a wide range of native Australian animals.
Although a lot of Australia’s wildlife is known throughout the world for being deadly, don’t let that put you off going to see what this country has to offer and the amazing creatures that live here. Most animals tend to be at their most active at dusk, so that’s the best time of day to see these little critters roaming around. While real-life Aussie animals aren’t anything like Skippy or Blinky Bill, that doesn’t mean that they don’t get up to any mischief.
Mars Campers can recommend some top places around the Great Southern Land that will you absolutely love with animals that just are doing their thing in the place they call home.
Booderee National Park, NSW
Sydneysiders and Canberrans will be stoked to know that the Booderee National Park is only a three-hour drive from home. It’s a huge area that stretches across 6,379 hectares at Jervis Bay along the south coast of New South Wales and has the highest sea cliffs in the state.
The Booderee National Park includes an array of ecosystems, including coastal cliffs, heaths, lakes, forests, rock platforms, mangroves, swamps, and white sandy beaches with crystal clear water overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With so many different environments in the one place, it makes sense that Booderee has a wide variety of species living there.
If you want to stay around here and get up close to these critters, then there are heaps of campsites situated real close to the beaches and scenic nature walks. You won’t have to walk very far to see all the grouse scenery and animals that Booderee has to offer.
You can set up your camper in the campgrounds around the Green Patch, Bristol Point, and Cave Beach areas to do some bird watching. There are literally hundreds of bird species that live here, so prepare to hear a lot of squawking and just hope all those birds don’t shit on your vehicle and camper trailer! (Imagine having to clean all that off). There are also more than 30 species of mammals such as bats, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes, so you’d have to be incredibly unlucky to not see anything!
Besides seeing and hearing birds go tweet tweet bloody tweet, there are heaps of native animals to gawk at, including roos, possums, echidnas, and wallabies, so basically Australiana in tiny furry form. If you’re keen to some something more exotic, there’s also some whale watching available in the area where you can see some humpback whales and southern right whales swimming around the area.
Grampians National Park, VIC
Being a Melbourne boy, if I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned going to the Grampians, I would’ve had enough to buys several slabs of Carlton to take up with me when I went there myself! Melbourne may have that “hipster” label put on it, but once you leave town, you’ll see the rest of Victoria is fair dinkum rugged.
For those not from the self-declared Garden State of Victoria, the Grampians are sandstone mountains that seem to go on and on. This joint is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Victorians, and once you’ve been there for yourself, you’ll see why. It’s great for people who want to go camping or even climb up the Grampians themselves.
If climbing’s not your idea of a relaxing weekend (not that I’d blame you), there’s plenty of walking tracks for bushwalking and exploring. You can go out to see waterfalls, wildflowers, and other flora, and the ace panoramic views from various lookouts. The most popular walking area is the Wonderland area near Halls Gap that offers walkers many great views of its scenic environment. However, if you are into rock climbing, then this joint is good for that too.
While doing all that, you can see some animals while you’re at it. Keep your eyes peeled for the Aussie battlers of the bush who live and work here. The Grampians has echidnas, platypuses, bandicoots, koalas, possums, gliders, kangaroos, wallabies, bats, emus, cockatoos, kookaburras, wedge-tailed eagles, rodents, turtles, geckos, lizards, frogs, toads, fish and snakes. We can also recommend fishing and canoeing around Lake Bellfield or Lake Wartook if you want to get out on the water during your stay.
Narawntapu National Park, TAS
The horrible legend has it that most Aussies think that Tasmanians are just a bunch of incestuous two-headed freaks, but the place itself is renowned for its beauty, and rightfully so. (The people are pretty great too, just don’t tell them we said anything). If you’re thinking of heading down to Tassie, or if you already live there, there are many choice places to check out. But if you’re going there with relos, don’t get any weird ideas!
The Narawntapu National Park is only 20km east of Devonport, meaning you’re not too far from civilisation If you’re from Victoria, you can catch the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne straight to Devonport so you can take your own vehicle and camper trailer along with you. The park stretches along both Bakers Beach to the west and Greens Beach to the east near the Bass Strait. The park includes inlets, headlands, tiny islands, lagoons, and sand dunes.
Tassie is known of having the cleanest air in the whole world, so take it all in while you’re there. There are many national parks here and a lot of unspoiled lands. In fact, much of the forest in the southwest of the state is impossible to build on or even pass through. With that in mind, if you go camping in Tassie, you’ll feel like you’re the first woman or man ever to see this place.
Having said that, with all the animals that live there, one of them is bound to see you having a whiz behind a tree. Such animals to keep your eye out for when you’re doing your business, or if you’re just actually walking around the area, are marsupials like kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, wombats, quolls, platypuses, and echidnas. Fortunately, a lot of these animals come out in the evening to graze on the grass, making them easy to spot.
There are numerous types of birds around the park too. These include eagles, parrots, plovers, honeyeaters, black cockatoos, rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles, and robins up in the air. But if you find yourself hanging around the lakes and lagoons around the Springlawn area, look out for all the different water birds.
But in terms of animals, it may go without saying that their star of the Tassie’s animal kingdom is the Tasmanian devil. These guys are endangered but don’t think for a sec that’s because they’re little pansies. They can be really vicious little buggers. They’re not called devils for nothing! If you’re looking out for them, listen out for its distinct screeching, growling, and grunting noises. (If you’ve got kids, you could tell them that they barrack for the Melbourne Demons.)
The Kimberley region, WA
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, then you’ll probably only see a part of the Kimberley region, as it’s a huge bloody place. Even just looking at it on a map shows how massive it is; try driving through it all. Western Australia takes up a whole third of the Australian mainland, and the Kimberley region takes a huge chunk of that, which is saying something.
There are many canyons surrounding the Kimberley region, and also savanna woodlands that are full of stringybark and woollybutt eucalyptus around the freshwater swimming holes. If you go to the Fitzroy River or the Ord River, you’ll see heaps of vegetation. However, you’ll see tropical dry broadleaf forest around the sheltered gorges in the northern areas.
But if you’re more concerned about the local wildlife, then you’re in for a treat, as many different animals call this rugged sandstone landscape home. Many birds live here, such as the channel-billed cuckoo, the purple-crowned fairywren, the pacific koel, and the bowerbird, so keep your eyes on the sky when you can. You’re also bound to see heaps of reptiles like goannas, monitor lizards, dragon lizards, blue-tongued lizards, geckos, frogs, and snakes.
The Outback and crocs go hand in hand (just hope the croc doesn’t bite that hand off though!), so naturally there are some crocs here, specifically saltwater crocs. These apex predators are just as nasty as they look; they hunt prey on both land and water. They can be found upstream around freshwater rivers and estuaries that have a saltwater inlet.
But if you’re looking for a less dangerous Aussie animal, then the local roos are probably more your speed. The Kimberley region has nine different species of kangaroos and wallabies, meaning there’s some variety between these guys. They’re usually seen on open plains or where there’s a lot of vegetation. If you’re around here in the dry season, you may notice they’re pretty slack around the dry season, so you’ll see them bludging under shady trees and or around waterholes.
The Kimberley region is also one of the few places nowadays where dingoes live freely in their natural habitat. The Chamberlain family who lost their baby at Ayers Rock gave dingoes a bad reputation, but generally speaking these guys are quite shy around humans. If you see one, perhaps don’t go around yelling the famous saying “A dingo stole my baby!” as someone might take you seriously.
Kakadu National Park, NT
Not too far from the Northern Territory’s capital city of Darwin, Kakadu National Park covers almost 20,000 square kilometres, making it Australia’s largest terrestrial national park. The place is big enough to be its own country. With all that land, it’s no surprise, so many animals live there. You’ll find heaps of wallaroos, wallabies, dingoes, kangaroos, ducks, bandicoots, frogs, and much more.
Being in the NT, it probably goes without saying that heaps of both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles live here. If you want to see them up close (but not too close, of course) and the other animals that live here, then the Cooinda Camping Ground next to the Yellow Water Billabong is an ace spot to camp at.
You’ll see fields of mammoth sized termite hills around the south end of the park. (You’d legitimately have to be blind not to see them) These things can get as high as six metres in the air, which is incredible considering how small termites are. Obviously, it takes heaps of the little things to build their home, the same amount it takes to ironically destroy your home! They’re made out of mud and termite saliva, and they can last for 60 years.
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Originally published here at marscampers.com.au on March 2019