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Where to see kangaroos in the wild

Watching a kangaroo bound through the bush, its ears alert, head raised proudly, chest puffed out and tail slapping the ground, is a thing of beauty. Here's our list of places where you're all but guaranteed to see them.

By Fleur Bainger

Australia is the land of kangaroos: they are on our national coat of arms. Australia is the only place in the world you will find them, and the soft pads on their feet are designed to tread lightly on our delicate soils. They're pretty much everywhere in country areas, and even on the outskirts of cities. They particularly love golf courses, so if all else fails, head to one of these grassy oases around dawn and dusk, when the roos are most active. As with any wild animal, watch from a distance and respect their freedom. While some kangaroos are comfortable with humans, most prefer not to be approached.

Kangaroo spotting in Australia

Lucky Bay, Western Australia

That famous photograph doesn’t lie: kangaroos really do like to lie on the beach at Lucky Bay, a 40 minute drive east of Esperance. Many hop around the recently upgraded campgrounds at the top of the sandy cove, but the sunbathing roos are most often found at the very end. If you're walking out to see them, aim for early or late in the day and be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen and take plenty of water.

Hamilton Island, Queensland

As if Hamilton Island didn’t already have enough drawcards, it's also a haven for Australian wildlife, including kangaroos. When staying at luxury resort qualia on Hamilton Island, part of the Whitsunday Islands, keep an eye out for roos loping their way through eucalyptus trees. You'll need to be quiet (easy, in such peaceful, natural surrounds) and patience will be rewarded.

Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Three species of kangaroo can be found within the 540-million-year-old landscape of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. The red kangaroo, western grey kangaroo and euro, as well as the endangered rock wallaby, all reside on the plains surrounding and within the mountain ranges and gorges. They are often seen around campgrounds, particularly at Wilpena Pound

Bells Beach, Victoria

Famous for its inclusion in the 1991 movie, Point Break, and for its epic surfing waves, Bells Beach also attracts people for its resident roos. This Great Ocean Road destination is reached by driving through farmland, and when the sun is low, this is where the roos come out to feed. Bones Road is a particularly good spot to see them. Nearby Angelsea Golf Club is also popular among the roos.

Jervis Bay, New South Wales

The beaches facing Jervis Bay, on the New South Wales South coast, seem to be a magnet for kangaroos. Eastern grey kangaroos are often seen lazing on the sand at Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park. Many are quite tame, and if they're in the mood might even pose for photographs. Honeymoon Bay, near Currarong, is another hotspot. Expect to find roos close to the campground.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

You'd be right to assume that in a place named after our furry marsupials, there'll be plenty of them bouncing around. With more than one third of Kangaroo Island protected by national parks, conservation parks and reserves, there's loads of space for them to roam free – so much so that hire car companies won't allow you to drive between dusk and dawn. As well as roadsides and grassy fields, the best spots to see them include Black Swamp in Flinders Chase National Park, at Grassdale in Kelly Hill Conservation Park and at Lathami Conservation Park. The island is a ferry trip or short flight from Adelaide.

Yanchep National Park, Western Australia

About 45 minutes drive north of Perth's city centre, Yanchep National Park hosts dozens of roos on its grassy open spaces. They also like to congregate around the Yanchep Inn. While they rest in the shade during the heat of the day, wait for sunset and they'll be out in force. Yanchep National Park is also where one of the state’s largest populations of koalas huddle in trees along a 240 metre (787 foot) boardwalk.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

The Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra harbour a range of native wildlife. Early morning is when the eastern grey kangaroos are out and about. They favour open, grassy areas, so they're quite easy to see. At other times, they relax in the shelter of woodland areas and prefer not to be disturbed.