Surrounded by national parks and pristine coastlines, Perth offers plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal to its native wildlife. For those that prefer to spot wildlife in its natural setting, there are plenty of options only a short car, or boat ride away. If you’d rather experience a close encounter, there’s a variety of parks surrounding Perth that offer unique opportunities to learn about and get close to native wildlife. Without further ado, here are our top wildlife experiences in Perth;
Caversham Wildlife Park
A family owned venture featuring over 200 different species of animals, Caversham Wildlife Park is a unique opportunity to get up close to native Australian wildlife. From feeding Kangaroos and Penguins to hanging out with Koalas and Wombats up close, there are endless things to see and do at Caversham. Open from 9am — 5.30pm daily, the park attracts visitors from all over the world because of their unique, interactive experiences and laid-back, Aussie vibe.
A day pass at Perth Zoo is enough to keep anyone occupied from dawn ‘til dusk, with plenty on offer, from events, tours and the opportunity for a close encounter with dingo’s, elephants and even spending a day as a keeper in the rhinoceros’ enclosure. With the ultimate goal of inspiring and acting for wildlife conservation, visiting the Zoo is not only a fun option for a day-trip, but a great way to simultaneously support their efforts, with tickets starting from just $14 for children. With so many options available, Perth Zoo have put together a range of online itineraries to choose from to make your visit a no-brainer.
Originally named by Dutch settlers in the 1600’s, Rottnest Island was adapted from the Dutch word for ‘rats nest,’ in reference to its cute furry inhabitants that are unique to the island. After the introduction of predators cleared most of their population on the mainland, Rottnest Island has become well-known as one of the only areas where they exist today. With a population of approximately 12,000 on the island, they have become something of an icon and it’s common to spot them all over the island. Rottnest is a goldmine filled with all sorts of other wildlife that can be spotted in their natural habitat, from New Zealand Fur Seals off the New Cathedral Rocks viewing platform to bottlenose dolphins in Salmon Bay, Bobtail lizards on land and Osprey eagles in the sky — there’s no shortage of wildlife experiences to be had here.
Just 45 minutes out of Perth and a five-minute ferry ride to away, Penguin Island is home to the smallest species of penguin in the world, aptly named ‘the little penguin.’ The marine park is full of other wildlife and plenty to do, from swimming with the dolphins, glass bottom cruises to spot Sea Lions from, sea kayak tours and penguin feeding, Penguin Island is the perfect place to get up close to local wildlife.
Only a short boat ride from Fremantle, this beautiful limestone island is an A-class nature reserve and spans only 19 hectares. Largely populated by sea lions that can often be seen lazing on the shore, Carnac Island is a popular pit stop for boat tours year-round and a great place to spot bottlenose dolphins and a large range of marine birdlife. Given the large population of tiger snakes and lack of permanent fresh water, Carnac Island isn’t populated by humans, and people won’t venture past the safety of the beach and the crystal blue waters surrounding it.
Each year in April, Humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the warmer waters of the Kimberly, bringing them closer to Perth shores on their return journey from September to December. With plenty of tours on offer from Rottnest Express in Fremantle or Rottnest Fast Ferries in Hillarys — there’s endless options available to choose from.
Visit the Koalas at The Maze
For a wildlife experience with a difference, head over to The Maze in Bullsbrook and get lost in their old school 70’s built 2500m2 maze. After making your way out successfully, head over to the wildlife sanctuary and get inside the enclosure and pat a Koala. Home to a range of other species from Emus, Kangaroos and an aviary of native birds, there’s endless entertainment to be had here.
Forge Farm Trail Ride
Located only 50km from the Perth CBD, The Forge Farm offers trail rides, camps and horse trekking on one of three forest tracks. While they’re not technically native animals, a scenic horse ride is a great way to spot native animals, birds and wildflowers. They take private and group lessons for beginners or nervous riders, as well as trail riding options for varying levels of experience. You can even take a Pub Ride Tour to Chidlow Tavern, tie the horses up outside whilst enjoying a pub meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, before making your way back to the farm. Trail rides are catered to all ages and levels of experience and are affordably priced between $65 for a one-hour trail ride of $110 for two hours.
Bird Watching in Kings Park Botanic Gardens
With over 400 hectares of native vegetation, parks and gardens in the heart of the city, Kings Park is a sanctuary for over 70 species of birds. They’re best spotted in the mornings around the Banksia Woodlands, Botanic Gardens or the edges of the woodland. Bring some walking shoes, a pair of binoculars and your camera and you’ll spot everything from the Sacred Kingfisher, Kookaburra and the Rainbow Bee-Eater.