A chance encounter with Tasmanian wildlife is one of the great joys of visiting the Australian island state. Unless of course that encounter is with a tiger snake! We’ll just put that remote possibility aside for the minute, and focus on some of the more pleasant meetings you can expect during a visit to Tassie.
Tasmanian Wildlife: Where to Look
At Freycinet National Park, we were resting at the base of the steps to the Wineglass Bay lookout. Clearly untroubled by the humans in his midst, a wallaby made himself right at home alongside us. We were quite amused, but we’ve since realised that this sort of experience is not uncommon with Tasmanian wildlife.
During a day trip to Mt Field National Park, we drove to the alpine region to inspect Lake Dobson. With snow on the ground, the scenery was only eclipsed by a wombat shuffling straight past our feet. Again, the wombat was completely unperturbed by our presence.
Another friendly creature paid a visit to our friends from interstate while they were staying at Cradle Mountain. And when we say visit, we mean all the way inside the cabin, taking a casual look around the accommodation! Despite their shock, they managed to take this photo as a souvenir of their Tasmanian wildlife encounter.
Of course, while driving on the roads, people are encouraged to slow down and anticipate the movements of animals. Especially at night, meeting Tasmanian wildlife while on the move is not particularly desirable, and especially hazardous for the creature.
Lots of species are nocturnal, and your best chance of a glimpse is when the lights go out. Possum spotting with a torch is an exciting activity for the kids. And apparently, you can see glow worms at Mount Field National Park if you visit at night.
Even the penguins at the Burnie Observation Centre come ashore at dusk. If you’re patient and quiet and can adjust your eyes to the light levels, you might see a fairy penguin waddle up the beach. Alternatively, you can join a tour group at various locations around Tasmania, where expert guides take you to the right place at the right time.
Animals in the Park
A guaranteed way to see an exotic animal in Tasmania is to visit the Launceston City Park. Home to Japanese macaques, the park’s monkey enclosure is open for viewing every day. There’s no waiting and hoping, and the platforms and glass fences make it easy to capture their activity on film.
Requiring a little more luck, a tour on the Peppermint Bay luxury catamaran from Hobart to Woodbridge might yield a dolphin sighting. During our cruise, we turned under the Tasman Bridge and were heading for Princes Wharf when our captain made the discovery. Everyone on board was very excited; Tasmanian wildlife is a major attraction on these tours.
Famous Tasmanian Devil
Not to be outdone, the Tasmanian Devil generates a lot of attention in the state. You only have to take note of businesses, attractions and points of interest around the place, often named in the native carnivore’s honour.
Devil Jet in New Norfolk for one example, and Devil’s Kitchen on the Tasman Peninsula for another. Nearby, we also found a small, marine creature at the Tessellated Pavement that proved pretty fascinating.
Tasmanian Wildlife: Park & Museum Options
If you’d like to learn a little more about some of the local species, a trip to the Tasmanian Museum in Hobart or the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston might be in order. The animals on display there are stuffed, obviously! But you still get some history and details about their origins and habitat.
And finally, if you’re not really keen on meeting Tasmanian wildlife on your own, you can choose a supervised environment. ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and East Coast Natureworld (to name a few) all have their own way of introducing animals to their adoring public.
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