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 - Freycinet National Park Wallaby

Friendly wallaby: Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Tasmanian Wildlife: Where to Look

At Freycinet National Park, we were resting at the base of the steps to Wineglass Bay lookout. Clearly untroubled by 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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Mt Field National Park Wombat

Wombat: Mount Field National Park, Tasmania

Creature Comforts

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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Cradle Mountain National Park Wallaby

Wildlife: Cradle Mountain (photo by Janet Kuchel)

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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Animals on the Road

Roadkill risk: Tasmanian wildlife

Nocturnal Animals

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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Cute Penguin Creature

Penguin: favourite Tasmanian wildlife (photo by Dan Fellow)

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 usually open for viewing daily. There’s no waiting and hoping: platforms and glass fences make it easy to capture activity on film.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Launceston City Park Monkey

Japanese monkey: Launceston City Park, Tasmania

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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Marine Animals

Looking for dolphins: Peppermint Bay Cruise

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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Local Creature, Tassie Devil

Local creature: Tasmanian Devil

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 Tessellated Pavement State Reserve that proved pretty fascinating.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Crab Creature

Tasmanian wildlife: crab, Tessellated Pavement

Tasmanian Wildlife: Park and Museum Options

If you’d like to learn a little more about local species, a trip to Tasmanian Museum in Hobart or 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.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Museum Stuffed Animals

Tasmanian wildlife: museum exhibit

And finally, if you’re not really keen on meeting Tasmanian wildlife on your own, you can choose a supervised environment.

Tasmanian Wildlife - Beautiful Bird

Tasmanian wildlife: bird watching (photo by Dan Fellow)

ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and East Coast Natureworld all have their own way of introducing animals to the adoring public.