Even with the weather getting cooler, there's still so much to do in Perth - and some of the best fun can be had with our amazing animal encounters!
From spotting adorable little quokkas in the wild on Rotto, to whale watching, koala-hugging and much more, you'll find plenty of entertainment and education when you get out and about in Perth. Here's some of our faves, and for even more, check out our special on Nature Wildlife Encounters In Perth!
Animals in the wild
We're lucky to have extremely diverse fauna in Perth, meaning you can spot a wide variety of animals on your Perth travels.
You may know all about Perth's humpback whale watching season which runs from September - November, but do you know that you can also see the elusive blue whale - the largest whale to ever grace the planet? From March to May, Whale Watch Western Australia operates a tour to the Perth Canyon, the little known pristine eco hot spot with dimensions larger than the Grand Canyon, to see feeding blue whales - the only place in Australia you can do this! The Perth Canyon is a marine epicentre located 30 nautical miles off the coast of Perth where Blue Whales go to feed each year on krill that gather there. This is your opportunity to be a part of a new frontier of research into these 'Dinosaurs of the Deep'.
Next up is Rottnest Island, Perth's island playground that’s become synonymous with the #quokkaselfie! You can spot quokkas galore on a Rotto day trip, but that's not all: keep an eye out for the New Zealand fur seals living at Cathedral Rocks, where they can often be seen resting on the rocks. Some other animals you can spot on Rotto include teensy squelching froglets, a variety of birdlife including the Eastern Osprey and the stunning Australian Shelduck, hermit crabs, sea stars, Aussie sea lions, bottlenose dolphins and more. Get to know more about Rottnest's wildlife on the Rottnest Island Wildlife website!
For another truly special wild marine life encounter, why not get to know the friendly and frolicking dolphins of Mandurah and Rockingham? Cruise down the Venetian canals of Mandurah with Mandurah Cruises on a Dolphin & Scenic Marine Cruise or their exciting Dolphin Island Adventure; or head to Rockingham's picturesque Shoalwater Island Marine Park to swim with wild dolphins alongside the experts at Perth Wildlife Encounters! With over 20 years of experience, friendship and trust, they've built up an amazing relationship with these fascinating, intelligent creatures in their natural environment. This experience definitely belongs on any dolphin-lover's bucket list! Jump on a cruise with Perth Wildlife Encounters or kayaking adventure with Capricorn Sea Kayaking and you'll see Australian Sea Lions basking in the sun and frolicking in the waters, surrounding Seal Island.
Perth's coastline is teeming with some of the world's most incredible marine life, and you'll find some amazing examples at Marmion Marine Park, a snorkelling and diving area complete with caves, limestone reefs and lagoons. At any time of year, you might spot bottlenose dolphins and Australian Sea Lions here, and it’s also an amazing place to spot fish and sea sponges as you snorkel or dive. It's also home to Mettam's Pool, a sheltered spot that's popular with families as a first place to start the kiddies off on learning to snorkel. The MAAC Dive and Snorkel Trail consists of 20 underwater informational placards as you explore this magical place under the sea.
Back on dry land, you can spot wild kangaroos aplenty in their natural habitats at Whiteman Park in the Swan Valley, Yanchep National Park in the City of Wanneroo (where you'll also see koalas lazing in the tall trees) and Heirisson Island in Perth City. You'll also see roos roaming in the safari-like environment of Caversham Wildlife Park, Perth's Outback Splash, the Australian Bushwalk at Perth Zoo.
Whiteman Park Night Tours give you the opportunity to get close to elusive nocturnal animals like woylies and quenda, and birdwatchers won't want to miss the half and full day tours of the Perth Hills offered by Perth Birds and Bush - including the 8-9 hour Perth Big Birding Day.
The lushly green and beautiful John Forrest National Park is a popular spot for Perth families seeking to escape the hustle and bustle and get back to nature - and it's also a great spot for animal spotting, providing habitat for 10 species of native mammals (including quendas and kangaroos), a whopping 91 species of birds, 23 species of reptiles and 10 species of frog.
By the way, if you've seen something amazing and you're wondering what it is, you can contribute to citizen science while learning at the same time: head to the Atlas of Living Australia website to check out what’s been spotted in the area you’re visiting, and you can even record a sighting to help visitors and scientists alike.
Animal Encounters at Zoos, Wildlife Parks and Farms
Here in Perth we love our animals, and there's so many amazing animal encounters to enjoy at our zoos, wildlife parks and farms.
Starting in Rockingham, catch the ferry to Penguin Island, home to a colony of little Penguins - the world's smallest penguins. While you can't see the penguins in the wild, the more than 1200 penguins that call the island home spend most of the day time at sea hunting and return after sunset when the island closes so can be hard to spot, the best way to get up close to them is at one of the daily feedings at the Penguin Island Discovery Centre. Penguin Island is also a fab place for a family day out; swim, snorkel, picnic and explore the nature trails and beaches before catching a return ferry at your leisure.
If you're fascinated by reptiles, head inland to the scenic region of Armadale in the Perth Hills to find the Armadale Reptile and Wildlife Centre, run by a former reptile keeper at Perth Zoo. They're home to a large variety of native reptiles and other Aussie wildlife, with 70+ species on display including snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, fruit bats and more. Or head to the Swan Valley to visit the West Australian Reptile Park, where you can hold a cuddly python or scaly lizard and enjoy other wildlife including venomous snakes, freshwater crocodiles, boa constrictors, wombats and dingos.
For more conventionally cuddly animals, you'll also find Caversham Wildlife Park in the Swan Valley, where you can feed kangaroos, meet farm animals, cuddle koalas and more. And of course, there's also the gorgeous and super family-friendly Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm, home to a variety of friendly farmyard favourites including miniature horses, goats, rabbits, a llama and more! Further up north in the City of Wanneroo, you'll find the educational farm experience of Landsdale Farm, with morning and afternoon feeds, adorable farm animals and an exciting cart ride around the farm. At the Cohunu Koala Park in Byford, home to more than 25 koalas and situated on 14 hectares of natural Australia bushland, you can cuddle koalas and hand feed kangaroos and wallabies as well as ride the safari train and make friends with emus, deers and dingos.
And of course, the legendary Perth Zoo makes for an unmissable day out, with 1300+ animals from across the globe from tigers and zebras to orangutans and hippos, and plenty of activities to enjoy including the amazing Animal Close Encounters. Meet a giraffe, a Galapagos Tortoise, an adorable otter, a majestic lion, and more - and you can even be a zoo keeper for a day! And Mandurah and Peel, there's another zoo that's a bit less-known but an absolute must for animal lovers: Ranger Red's Zoo & Conservation Park, a boutique, hands-on zoo in a lush setting on the banks of the Murray River, offering plenty of hands-on experiences and an exceptional collection of Aussie animals. Hand feed the animals, hold a snake, pat a kangaroo, tickle a ferret - there's even a huge walk-through aviary and of course the star attraction: Tasmanian Devils. Animal encounter experiences here include meeting a dingo, glider or koala and Birds of the Night, as well as a Junior Zookeeper 4 A Day program and their awesome birthday packages.
Last but not least, AQWA - The Aquarium of Western Australia is a firm favourite with Perth locals and visitors, where you can encounter the iconic and incredible marine life of WA on a journey through AQWA's famous underwater tunnel to come face-to-face with sharks, turtles, a variety of fish, stringrays and more! Adventurous types aged 14+ will love the chance to dive or snorkel with sharks, and the littlies will love patting incredible marine animals including starfish, sea cucumbers and Port Jackson sharks (don't worry they are considered harmless to humans) at the touch pool.
From fascinating marine life to cuddly farm animals, there's so many amazing animal encounters to be had in Perth! So whether you're visiting a zoo, wildlife park or farm or jumping on a fascinating wildlife tour, you'll find plenty of great things to do that are perfect for you! Have a great autumn, and keep an eye on our blog for more great ideas and fun things to do in Perth.