From marine life to marsupials, there are a range of unique wildlife encounters on offer in and around Perth. Find out where you can meet some of Perth's favourite native fauna in the wild.
Perth's warm waters are home to the playful bottlenose dolphin. See them frolicking in the Swan River, off the coast of Rottnest Island, on a canal cruise in Mandurah and through the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park in Rockingham where you can swim with them from September to May with Rockingham Wild Encounters.
Around April each year thousands of humpback whales leave the rich feeding grounds of Antactica to calf and raise their young in the warmer waters of the the North West. On the return journey south, from September to December, they pass close to the Perth coast allowing a unique opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close on a whale watching adventure cruise. You may also view them from travelling along the coast from various Perth beaches, and viewing platforms on Rottnest Island. You can also take tours to the Perth Canyon, 50 nautical miles off the coast of Perth, to see rare Blue Whales in March and April each year.
These small marine birds can be found swimming freely in the Shoalwater Marine Park in Rockingham. Rockingham Wild Encounters operate an hourly ferry service to Penguin Island - home to WA's largest colony of fairy penguins. Get up close and learn all about the penguins at the Discovery Centre with three penguin feeding session daily with expert commentary.
AUSTRALIAN SEA LIONS
Rockingham's Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is one of Perth favourite natural wonders. Join a sea kayaking expedition or cruise amongst the chain of islands, including Seal Island where you'll see Australian Sea Lions lazing on the beach or playing in the surrounding waters. You can also view sea lions on a glass-bottom boat or adventure cruise.
NEW ZEALAND FUR SEALS
Rottnest Island is home to a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals. You can spot them playing in the water and basking on the rocks from a fantastic new viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks at the West End of the island. You can get there by bike or on the Island Explorer bus, but is closed to diving and boating.
Rottnest Island is a haven for snorkellers and divers alike. Sitting in the path of the warm Leeuwin Current, the island boasts 135 species of tropical species - as compared to 11 off the metropolitan coastline. The current also brings visitors such as whales and the green turtle. Step off the beach (there are 20 to choose from) and follow one of the snorkel trails or join tour to explore the coral reefs and wrecks off this island paradise.
On Rottnest Island, you'll meet the cutest mini marsupial, found only in Western Australia, the world famous quokka! Quokkas are generally nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping and resting under shady bushes and dense vegetation. On the island they can be seen opportunistically feeding during the day.
You can spot Western Grey Kangaroos at a number of locations in Perth - they are best seen at dawn and dusk. Heirisson Island, located east of the CBD; Yanchep National Park, nestled on the shores of a lake and amid coastal woodland; and Whiteman Park, a popular recreation and conservation reserve in the Swan Valley, which is a biodiversity hotspot, providing habitat for a range of fauna, including 800 kangaroos! See more wildlife on a nocturnal tour in Whiteman Park.
While you can meet koalas in captivity at Perth Zoo, Caversham Wildlife Park, The Maze, Home of Outback Splash and Cohunu Koala Pak the best place to see them in the wild is at Yanchep National Park. Walk the 240-metre koala boardwalk to view these beautiful creatures amongs the branches of the trees.
The first settlers named their colony "Swan River Colony" because black swans lived on the riverbanks. You can still see these majestic birds along the Swan River, in particular South Perth and Matilda Bay; on Lake Monger Reserve; Herdsman Lake; Bibra Lake; and Claremont and Shenton Park Lakes.
Thousands of speices of native birdlife can be found national and regional parks and reserves across the region, with many fantastic birdwatching locations. Spot Western Wattlebirds, Sacred Kingfishers and Western Spinebills at Kings Park; White-faced Heron, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Cockatoos and Kookaburras at Araluen Botanic Park; swamp hens in Yanchep National Park and a variety of species at Yanchep National Park, John Forrest National Park, Avon Valley National Park, Greenmount National Park and more.
Rottnest's Island's West End Boardwalk provides a fantastic opportunites to see nesting shearwater birds as well as osprey nests known to be over 70 years old! With 50 species of seabirds found around Rockingham, including the largest colony of pelican of pelicans in WA, it is an important nesting, feeding and roosting site for many birds which you can learn about at the intrepretive centre.
WILDLIFE PARKS & ZOOS
For more wildlife adventures, check out these fantastic zoos and wildlife parks where you can not only see native Australian wildlife, but also species from around the world.
Just five minutes from the heart of the city, Perth Zoo is a Western Australian icon filled with lush gardens and naturalistic exhibits that are home to over 1,200 animals from around the world, including Australian fauna.
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Situated in Whiteman Park, Swan Valley Caversham Wildlife Park houses one of the largest collections of native fauna in Western Australia. See the farm show, feed kangaroos and meet koalas.
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Explore 12,000 kilometres of Western Australia's coastline in just one day at AQWA - The Aquarium of Western Australia, Hillarys Boat Harbour. See tropical fish, sharks, turtles, sting ray and more.
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Peel Zoo is a boutique zoo near Mandurah with over 100 species of fauna including koalas, wombats, dingoes, exotic birds, snakes, reptiles, bengal cats, quolls, possums, owls and Tasmanian Devils.
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