Australia serves up family animal encounters in every shape and form.
With our seas and bays brimming with dolphins, whales, turtles, coral and tropical fish there are a host of ways to get up close and personal with aquatic life from snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, hand feeding the fish on Ned's Beach on Lord Howe Island and swimming with the whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef. You can watch turtles nesting and tiny hatchlings make their way to the safety of the water and you can even have shark and crocodile encounters, if you dare, at places like Townsville's Reef HQ, Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, the Wilderness Wildlife Park outside of Broome, Darwin's Crocosaurus Cove and Oceanworld Manly.
Australia's iconic marsupials have long been a family favourite and all the major zoos and wildlife sanctuaries from Healesville to Taronga offer Aussie animal encounters alongside more exotic species. Brisbane's Lone Pine Sanctuary is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, Victoria's Moonlit Sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula offers nocturnal tours, and all over Kangaroo Island families are likely to discover the entire diaspora of Australian animals from koalas to wallabies, kangaroos, emus and echidnas. You can even see Tasmanian devils at the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary.
Australia's diverse birdlife also entrances the younger set who can hand-feed lorikeets at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, wander around the tropical bird enclosure at the Rainforest Tropical Habitat in Queensland's Port Douglas, watch pelicans being fed at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, and marvel at the nightly parade of the world's largest colony of little penguins on Phillip Island.
There are also plenty of opportunities for adventures of a less wild kind, like riding camels along Cable Beach in Broome, hand feeding farm animals at Melbourne's Collingwood Children's Farm, and even watch performing sheep dogs at Norm's Coolies Performing Sheep Dog shows in South Australia.
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