Cuddling koalas and feeding kangaroo are once in a lifetime experiences, but so are these lesser known ones. Take a look!
Australia has some of the most fascinating wildlife in the world, and many of the animals are found nowhere else. Whether you’re swimming with humpback whales, having turtle encounters or meeting crocodiles, here are some of the country’s most unique animal encounters found in Queensland.
Swim with the humpback whales
There are not many experiences that are quite as thrilling as watching humpback whales in the wild. From shore or in a boat, the sight of the enormous mammals breaching and blowing is completely mesmerising. The only thing that can beat this experience is coming face-to-face with one of these gentle creatures in the Pacific Ocean. And you are in luck! Australia is among a handful of countries that offer “swim-with” humpback whale trips. However, there are only a limited number of operators with permits that allow snorkellers to step off vessels and slide into the ocean to swim with these gentle giants. Some of the popular ones are Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, Hervey Bay Whale Watch’s Quick Cat II, and Hervey Bay Dive Centre.
Meet the rare dwarf minke whales
They might be called “dwarf” minke whales, but there’s nothing small about these creatures. With personalities to match their large size – they grow up to eight metres (26 feet) long – these whales are not only comfortable around humans but are also known to spend hours swimming back and forth around divers, making eye contact and even bringing their calves for a look. And guess what, they are only found in the Great Barrier Reef! The minke whales visit the northern Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Tropical North Queensland between June-July each year, forming the only known predictable aggregation in the world!
Cruise with crocodiles
Nothing is guaranteed to get your heart racing more than a close encounter with a saltwater crocodile. Watch them being fed by fearless zoo keepers inside the Crocoseum at Australia Zoo or cruise croc-filled wetlands at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures near Cairns. Have your photo taken holding a baby crocodile at Rainforestation Nature Park in Kuranda or opt for a real thrill and try ziplining over a 4-metre crocodile called Goliath at Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome. And once you’ve had your fill of adventure, trade it in for some cuteness and witness a baby crocodile hatching at Koorana Crocodile Farm between February and April.
Witness turtle hatching
Getting up close and personal with a sea turtle is at the top of every snorkeller’s and diver’s list, and nowhere on Earth provides more opportunity than Queensland. In fact, six of the seven marine turtle species of the world make their home in Queensland. But if you thought you could meet these turtles only in the deep sea, you couldn’t be any more wrong! Turtle hatching is one of the star attractions of Queensland. Every year, from January to March, a handful of beaches in Queensland see baby turtles burrowing out of sand-covered holes where their mothers laid eggs a couple of months earlier (November to January). Once they reach the surface, the tiny turtles scamper towards the ocean to begin a life of swimming and adventure. See the youngsters in action at Mon Repos Beach, Lady Elliot Island, Heron Island, Green Island & Fitzroy Island.