7 Loveable Australian Animals, and where to find them

So many incredible animals call the Busselton and Margaret River region home, so it’s the perfect place to see wild animals in their natural habitat. Some you can spot in the wild; kangaroos, emus, birds and whales, and some you might need to jump aboard a tour, like the endangered woylies.

So bring your binoculars, walking shoes and sense of adventure, and get ready to see some loveable Aussie animals!

 

Kangaroos

There are probably more kangaroos living here than humans! Take a drive through a quiet country road and you’ll see dozens if not hundreds of grey and red kangaroos, lazing under trees on a hot day, or bounding across paddocks.

Safety tip: take extra care while driving at sunrise, dusk and at night, which is when kangaroos are most active. They have zero road sense and can jump in front of cars.

Best places for seeing wild kangaroos: Par3 Golf Course in Busselton or Sheoak Drive in Yallingup (near Petra Olive Oil and Yallingup Wood Fired Bakery).

Best places to see tame kangaroos: Bunbury Wildlife Park is our favourite, and it’s a fantastic place to stop on the way back to Perth. The juvenile kangaroos are about as tall as a 3 year-old child, and they’re very friendly and cuddly. There’s also brightly coloured parrots, cockatoos, a wombat, quokkas and other Australian animals. 
You can also see kangaroos (and other animals) at local animal farms such as Wonky Windmill and Sunflower Farm.

 

Emus

They take pride of place on the Australian Coat of Arms, but the elusive emu can be tricky to spot in the wild! We saw some darting across Redgate Road south of Margaret River recently, and the other top place to see them is on a quiet walk through Boranup Forest.

Park your car and take a walk – emus can be wary, so you’re more likely to spot them when on foot.

 

Whales

Humpback, Blue and Southern Right Whales all pass through Geographe Bay each spring during their annual migration. September to December is when you’ll see them, with October and November being peak season for whale watching. Humpback whales spend summer feeding in the Antarctic region, then travel north to calve in the warm water of the Kimberley (north of Broome). They return south with their babies, catching the currant that hugs the West Australian coast, hence we can see them so close in to the beach.

Free whale watching: Point Piquet, on the scenic drive between Meelup and Eagle Bay, provides the perfect land-based view point to see whales. The rocks jut out into a deep patch of Geographe Bay, so the whales can swim in quite close. During October you’ll see multiple whales within 15 minutes. Bring binoculars for an even better view.

Paid whale watching tours: several operators run whale watching tours from early September to early December. Naturaliste Charters has cruises from Dunsborough and Busselton, and we’ll happily book a tour for you. It’s an epic way to get up close to these majestic mammals.

 

Woylies

What’s a woylie? Also called a brush tailed bettong or ‘kung fu roo’, it’s a small and exceptionally rare marsupial. They’re so close to extinction that Perth Zoo has a conservation research project to help rebuild their numbers in the south west of Western Australia.

South West Eco Discoveries run ‘Meet the Woylies’, a nocturnal animal tour in a conservation sanctuary in Yelverton. They’ll pick you up from Busselton and take you to the bush sanctuary where you might see kangaroos, possums, bandicoots and woylies. It’s a brilliant tour; not just for international guests but for local families too – anyone interested in animals and conservation will enjoy it.

 

Birds

There’s incredible bird watching in the south west; brightly coloured parrots, wrens, cockatoos, pelicans and more. Download the Birdata app and register an account; this is an Australia-wide bird survey where you can select a location and see a list of every bird recorded in that place. Add your bird sightings too – at home or on holiday.

Best bird-watching spots: Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for blue wrens and spotted pardalotes. Dunsborough foreshore for pelicans, and look out for black cockatoos in the surrounding bushland. A walk in Boranup Forest or along the Wardandi Track heralds plenty of multi-coloured parrots, wrens and rosellas.

 

Dolphins

They’re so playful and fun, the bottle nose dolphins! There’s plenty frolicking and surfing along the coast and in the bay, but you need an eagle eye to see them. We recently saw a pod swimming past while we lunched at Bunker Beach Café. The bay next to Sugarloaf Rock is another great (and free!) place to see them.

You could also hop aboard the red Jet Adventures boat – they often spy dolphins, and seals too, on their Geographe Bay tours. The Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury is currently closed for major renovations, but when they reopen in December 2018 it should be one of the best and most reliable places to admire dolphins.

 

Ring Tailed Possums

How could we forget the beloved possums? They live with us right here in the holiday park! Ring Tailed Possums are critically endangered; only 8,000 remain in the wild compared to 21,000 polar bears (and we all know they're endangered). The south west has the healthiest population thanks to our peppermint trees which the ring tails rely on for sustainance. 

Possums come out at dusk, so grab your torch and find a peppermint tree and wait patiently - you should see a lovely little ring tailed possum (with a white tipped tail) or a brush tailed possum - a larger, fluffier critter.

 

You'll need somewhere to stay while you meet all these lovely animals!

We have nine different accommodation styles at BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park, and a camping/caravanning option too. There's family-friendly accommodation to suit any budget. 

For kids: We make it a little easier with awesome play equipment for the kids; a brand-new playground and jumping pillow installed in November 2017, NEOS360, a swimming pool with shallow toddler area and a waterplay zone. There’s also pedal karts for hire which can be used within the park, and family bikes for hire which can be taken out of the park.

Holiday Park facilities: You’ll find immaculate park amenities, including separate family bathrooms with a bath to make washing kids easier, a heated bathroom floor and fully equipped camp kitchen. We’re 150 metres to the beach and a 3.5 km bike ride or drive into town.

We allow a small number of dogs in the park, but bookings with dogs must be made by phone on 08 9752 2107. Read our dog friendly Busselton accommodation page for information, terms and conditions.