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18 Ways To Get Up Close To Animals In Australia

Everyone deserves a quokka selfie.

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1. Rottnest Island, WA

This tiny island off the coast of Perth is home to a huge colony of quokkas. These super-cute furry guys are friendly as hell and always keen to pop into your selfies.

2. Cape Hillsborough, Qld.

Isn't this just the most stereotypically Australian place you've ever seen? A sun rising over the beach, clear waters, and silhouetted kangaroos hopping all over the place. The kangas are so chill, and hardly pay attention to the snap-happy tourists who visit the beach.

3. Healesville Sanctuary, Vic.

Platypus aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think "cute Aussie animals", but they really should be. They're strange as hell, and this is the only place in the world where you can swim with them. You don't often see them roaming in the wild so it's a pretty unique experience.

4. Baird Bay, SA

If you're lucky, you'll see sea lions lounging on beaches in South and Western Australia. But the only way to guarantee an up-close-and-personal encounter with a sea lion is by going swimming with one. There are a lot of bottlenose dolphins in the area that you'll be acquainted with as well.

5. Mount Field National Park, Tas.

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The wilderness of Tasmania is chock-a-block with unique wildlife just waiting to be found. From Tasmanian devils and quolls, to echidnas and wallabies, you'd be hard-pressed not to spot something on a trip here.

6. Lady Elliot Island, Qld.

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This stunning island off the coast of Queensland is surrounded by so much marine life it's insane. Its main drawcard is the giant turtles that swim around the island, right in front of you – but keep your eyes peeled for manta rays, colourful fish, and beautiful coral formations too.

7. Kangaroo Island, SA

OK, there is so much wildlife on this one island. From sea lions lounging on sunny beaches, to kangaroos bounding across the tops of cliffs, and the occasional penguin hanging out near the water, it's truly a wildlife lover's dream.

8. Port Douglas, Qld.

This is the only place in Oz where you can swim with dwarf minke whales. The relatively small whales are inquisitive and will come right up to divers in the water, making for a truly unique experience!

9. Port Lincoln, SA

OK, they're not the cute and cuddly animals you want to get too close to, but shark diving is pretty damn cool. You're in a cage and aren't actually in any danger, but it's a pretty badass way to get your heart racing.

10. Cairns, Qld.

There aren't many places in Australia where you can get a photo holding a koala, as it's actually illegal in a lot of states. So if you're in Queensland you better make the most of it! Kuranda Koala Gardens lets you cuddle the koalas, and even have wallabies, wombats, and reptiles you can check out too.

11. Otway Coast, Vic.

Happy to just spot koalas hanging out in the trees and don't want a selfie? Head to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, and check out the Kennett River Koala Walk. Wind your way through the forest and keep your eyes peeled for koalas among the gum leaves.

12. Phillip Island, Vic.

A huge colony of little penguins call this island home, and every night flock up the beaches after a hard day of swimming and fishing. The viewing of them is regulated by the nature park, but you can get a good vantage point from the platforms surrounding the beach.

13. Moreton Island, Qld.

If you're a dolphin lover, you need to hit up this island. Every night at sunset a pod of friendly dolphins rock up to the shore, where you can wade into the water and hand-feed them fish.

14. Pemberton, WA

Numbats don't get nearly as much love as they deserve. Thirty years ago there were only 300 left in the wild, but have since been reintroduced in a few sanctuaries and their numbers have grown. There are only a few spots in WA where you can see them do their thing in their natural habitat.

15. Ningaloo Reef, WA

This place has pretty much become synonymous with whale sharks, as it's the only place in the country where you can dive with them. These 18-metre long beasts are harmless and basically just cruise around all day looking for plankton.

16. Heron Island, Qld.

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If you want to see teeny-tiny turtles hatch and make their way down the beach into the ocean, then this island is the place for you. There are strict guidelines that apply to turtle watching, but it's oh-so worth it.

17. Mary River, NT

If you want to see crocs, then head to this river in the NT which has the highest number of saltwater crocodiles per area than anywhere else on Earth. Don't go swimming though – take a boat ride and see them while staying dry and safe.

18. Bruny Island, Tas.

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This small, remote island is one for bird-watchers. Its home to 12 species that are exclusive to Tasmania, as well as some rare mammals like white wallabies and the long-nosed potoroo.