3 Ways to See Tassie's Cute and Cuddly Creatures
Tasmania has rare wildlife that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The island is the only place you can see Tasmanian devils, eastern quolls, pademelons, spotted-tail quolls and bettongs in the wild. Come September, the cute and cuddly factor is dialled up a notch as spring babies become more adventurous, exploring beyond the pouch.
1. Watch them in their natural habitat
There’s an abundance of wallabies, wombats and echidnas on the island. Spot them as you explore by foot or car. Try to avoid driving at dawn and dusk as they don’t know the road rules. And remember, they are wild so please don’t feed or touch them. Just ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ from a distance with the camera ready.
Although shy, you can spot wallabies almost anywhere on the island, including the inner-city suburbs. They are at their busiest at dawn and at dusk.
Wallaby in Mt Field National Park / Off the Path
Your best chance to spot a large Forester kangaroo is in Narawntapu National Park (dubbed the ‘Serengeti of Tassie') or Maria Island National Park.
Forester Kangaroos in Narawntapu National Park / Jess Bonde
Narawntapu National Park is dubbed the ‘Serengeti of Tassie'
Head to Ronnie Creek in the Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park to see a waddling wombat in the snow. Maria Island is a natural wildlife sanctuary and you’ll see many wombats grazing on the lawns.
Wombat on Maria Island / Stu Gibson
Spotted-tail quolls (native cats) are nocturnal and shy. They like to explore and feed by cover of night. If you head out with a torch you might see them on Bruny Island, and rumour has it that at Mountain Valley Wilderness Retreat these curious cuties come right up to your veranda.
Watch for ripples at riverbank edges and lakes to spot a platypus. Book a guided tour at the Information Centre in Latrobe - the town calls itself the Platypus Capital of the world. In Waratah, the old quarry (now a lake) is another reliable place to spot platypus.
Platypus in Geeveston / Ash Thomson Photography
Frequently seen on the southern side of Adventure Bay on Bruny Island, Tassie's white wallaby is an adorable addition to any nature-spotter's checklist.
Albino Bennetts Wallaby on Bruny Island / Nick Osborne
This little devil is quite the talk of the island. In 2003, as the Tasmanian devil population began declining due to a Devil Facial Tumour Disease, wildlife specialists banded together to look for a disease-free home and breeding ground for healthy devils. Maria Island, an island that is entirely a national park was the obvious choice. Today their growing population adds to the already-rich wildlife experience on Maria and on Tassie's mainland.
Baby Tasmanian devil in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park / Masaaki Aihara
Today their growing population adds to the already-rich wildlife experience on Maria
2. Join a wildlife tour
Little Penguin at Low Head / Chi Kueng Renault Wong
Pepper Bush Adventures will take you into the bush for an evening of campfire dinners and quoll (native cat) spotting.
Eastern Quoll in the Huon Valley / Ash Thomson Photography
At Inala Nature Tours on Bruny Island, you can see Tasmania’s 12 endemic birds. One of Australia's rarest birds, the forty spotted pardalote, can be found on Maria and Bruny Island. For a true wilderness adventure, head to the Southwest National Park where the endangered orange-bellied parrot goes to breed each year.
Whales, seals, dolphins
Want to see seals lounging in the sun, dolphins leaping at the bow and whales on their migratory path? Adventure cruises Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Wineglass Bay Cruises and Stanley Seal Cruises will make it happen. Or slip on a dry suit and Wild Ocean Tasmania will take you one step further, allowing you to observe seals underwater. Spring pups join seal colonies throughout December.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Bruny Island / Joe Shemeh
3. See them in a sanctuary or wildlife park
Local wildlife parks and sanctuaries work together to prevent Tasmania's unique wildlife from becoming extinct. So when you visit a wildlife sanctuary you not only get up close to the animals, your tickets often support their survival. Many wildlife parks take part in breeding programs, so come September baby Tasmanian devils and other joeys start to emerge from their mums' pouches.
Tasmanian devil joeys at Wings Wildlife Park / Lauren Bath
Come September, baby Tasmanian devils and other joeys start to emerge from their mums' pouches
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, on the outskirts of Hobart, is so devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife that they opened Tasmania's first Wildlife Hospital. They also run private tours to hand-feed and touch wombats, sugar gliders, tawny frogmouths and kangaroos.
Bonorong Wildlife Park, Brighton / Rob Burnett
Hand-feed and touch wombats, sugar gliders, tawny frogmouths and kangaroos
Devils@Cradle hold after-dark feeding tours educating visitors about local conservation efforts to save Tasmanian devils from the deadly facial tumour disease – adults can even dine with the devils.
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo on the Tasman Peninsula has removed or concealed barriers so you can meet curious devils face-to-face by popping your head inside a glass dome inside a devil enclosure.
Tasmania Devil Unzoo, Taranna / Courtesy Tasmania Devil Unzoo
Trowunna Wildlife Park at Mole Creek has regular devil feedings (spoiler alert: it's carnage!).
At Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains, you can feed the devils, enter the koala enclosure, hand-feed the kangaroos and take a nocturnal tour to see animals that come out at night.
East Coast Natureworld has 150 acres to wander and meet wildlife at Bicheno. After dark, you can be picked up in Bicheno for a night tour to a secret location to see Devils in the Dark.
Guides at Platypus House, Beauty Point, get you up close to a platypus and take you to an echidna garden to teach you how the two are related as echidnas wander about your feet.
Tasmania Zoo in Westwoodcares for a range of injured and orphaned Tassie wildlife and is a great spot for you to get up close to Tasmanian devil joeys when they leave the pouch between September and October.
Banner image: Pademelon, Rob Burnett