How We Found All of Australia's Animals in One Place

How We Found All of Australia's Animals in One Place

The #Australia Zoo is doing a major part to promote and preserve some of Oz's most unique #culture: its animals. Everyone knows about the kangaroos, but at the Zoo you can also see the native echidnas, crocs, and Tasmanian devils. This country is very proud of their #nature and we were exhilarated to experience some of it.


Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind about Australia?

Bet it involves animals, and likely some strange ones at that, right?

It was for us, so a trip to The Australia Zoo was an essential element in our tour of Queensland.

Probably Australia's most famous animal - the kangaroo
Probably Australia's most famous animal - the kangaroo

We had barely stepped past the gate when we encountered our first previously unknown creature, an echidna.

We had barely stepped past the gate when we encountered an echidna

At first glance it appeared to be a porcupine, but once we saw that face, we knew that this was a hedgehog of a different color. These odd little anteaters, along with the platypus, are they only mammals left on earth that lay eggs.

The unique, and pretty funky looking, echidna 
The unique, and pretty funky looking, echidna 

We couldn’t see why, but they take their name from the half-woman/half-snake mother of monsters in Greek mythology.

There seems to be no resemblance to either a woman or a snake, and once the surprise wore off, the little guy was actually kind of cute. He even let us pat his thick, quill-like fur.

Despite his intimidating look, you can pet him!

Maybe the mother of monsters tag would be better applied to some of the enormous crocodiles the Australia Zoo is famous for, because they are downright scary!

It was The Crocodile Hunter himself, Steve Irwin, that transformed the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park that his parents founded in 1970 into the world-class attraction that it is today. The traditions, and his memory, are carried on by his widow, Terri Irwin.

Absolutely massive, and slightly terrifying, crocodile replica
Absolutely massive, and slightly terrifying, crocodile replica

So crocs are the stars of the show, they even have their own coliseum, The Crocoseum, where five thousand spectators can watch in awe as these prehistoric predators demonstrate their speed and power.

A much less scary croc

And keep the zookeepers on their toes, one mustn’t let a two ton, twenty-foot mass of muscle and teeth get too close. "Crikey!"

Thank goodness for my camera's zoom lens!
Thank goodness for my camera's zoom lens!

But the zoo’s relationship with crocodiles goes way beyond entertaining the crowds.

They are also a part of International Crocodile Rescue, helping capture and relocate crocs that pose problems when they get too comfortable around civilization.

from  $22

Visit Snakes Downunder Reptile Park & Zoo

ActiveAffordableAspirationalCulture
 Childers, Queensland, Australia
You may also like

Fraser Explorer 2 Day Tour ex-Hervey Bay

Visit Flying High Bird Sanctuary

This is an effort that Irwin was instrumental in from an early age, and was celebrated on his television show, The Crocodile Hunter. The rescue unit also includes a rehabilitation facility for injured animals.

The rescue unit also includes a rehabilitation facility

To calm down after the adrenaline charged croc show, we worked our way over to a more peaceful corner of the zoo where several of Australia’s indigenous species are kept.

Hi there, sleepy guy! (Did you know koalas sleep about 20 hours per day?!)
Hi there, sleepy guy! (Did you know koalas sleep about 20 hours per day?!)

First up, the koala. Talk about peaceful! These little guys sleep about twenty hours a day. We were already familiar with koalas from our visit to the koala sanctuary in Brisbane, so we briefly said hello and continued on.

That brought us to a Cassowary, another animal we had never seen, or even heard of, before.

They are large, flightless birds, only slightly smaller than an ostrich or emu, that look like a small blue-headed dinosaur crossbred with a turkey.

They are also quite shy, so we were told that we were lucky to get as close as we did before they disappeared back into the forest.

The shy, but beautifully colored cassowary
The shy, but beautifully colored cassowary

Two more of Australia’s many marsupials were next on our list, wombats and the Tasmanian devil.

How cute! This is a wombat, another of Oz's famous residents
How cute! This is a wombat, another of Oz's famous residents

Like their more famous cousin the kangaroo, they both have pouches for their young, but wombats have a unique twist. Their pouches face downward -- or backwards as the case may be -- so that they don’t fill up with dirt when the wombats are digging their burrows.

The Tasmanian Devil and wombats are certainly not buddies. The devils are carnivorous, which is rare for marsupials, and will gladly attack and eat a wombat, or at the very least, steal his burrow.

The Devil doesn't exactly look like his cartoon namesake
The Devil doesn't exactly look like his cartoon namesake

As mean as they are, we did not witness one spin himself around faster and faster until he became a miniature tornado. Perhaps Bugs Bunny cartoons are not the best source of information about exotic wildlife in the far corners of the globe after all.

Africa In Australia

Africa...in Australia?
Africa...in Australia?

As strange and wonderful as all of these indigenous creatures were to our foreign eyes, like any good zoo, Australia Zoo features many non-native animals as well.

Several of these are featured in its African Safari exhibit.

A graceful tower of giraffes and a lone zebra to keep them company
A graceful tower of giraffes and a lone zebra to keep them company

We felt a bit like we were entering Jurassic Park as we passed through the giant stone gates and saw the rhinos, zebras, and giraffes roving across the recreation of the Serengeti.

A highlight of our day came when we got to feed the giraffes.

Standing up on a high platform, we held branches while the giraffes grabbed mouthfuls of leaves.

These guys know it's feeding time! 
These guys know it's feeding time! 

We had to hold on tight because these long-necked herbivores meant business when they got their teeth into a mouthful of foliage.

A highlight of our day came when we got to feed the giraffes

Even more surprising were their incredibly long, black tongues.

They seemed to come out of nowhere to lap up whatever food was available, especially carrots.

Getting Catty

On our way out of Africa we got to get as close as we’d ever been to a big cat, the world’s fastest land animal, a cheetah.

The closest we've ever been to these magnificent animals

A keeper was taking her out for a stroll, and both seemed perfectly calm, at least as long as no zebras came into view.

So with our big cat curiosity piqued, we headed over to the Tiger Temple.

Two cubs playing and being feisty in their enclosure
Two cubs playing and being feisty in their enclosure

Built to resemble the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, it serves as home to Sumatran and Bengal tigers, but the main attraction on our visit were the two tiger cubs romping in the main enclosure.

There are less than 500 of these beautiful animals left in the wild
There are less than 500 of these beautiful animals left in the wild

The (not so) little guys were born at the zoo in August of 2013, a pretty huge event since there are less than five hundred Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

Just lounging in the sunshine
Just lounging in the sunshine

WATCH: See the tiger cubs and all the animals in action!

We're In Kangaroo Heaven!

Getting a kangaroo handshake
Getting a kangaroo handshake

No trip to Australia, the zoo or otherwise, would be complete without holding court with some kangaroos, and Roo Heaven was the perfect place to do just that.

Comfortable enough around humans to pose for some pretty cute photos!
Comfortable enough around humans to pose for some pretty cute photos!

These guys seemed perfectly comfortable with a human presence in their habitat, so we shook hands and made our case for invading their space.

Ahhh, sunshine and green grass, what more could a happy roo need?
Ahhh, sunshine and green grass, what more could a happy roo need?

Helping Sick And Injured Wildlife Get Back Into The Wild

Our last stop of the day was a look into the most important work that is done at the Australia Zoo.

The Zoo has a long term commitment to conservation
The Zoo has a long term commitment to conservation

As part of the Irwin family’s longtime commitment to conservation, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was opened in 2004.

Dedicated to Steve’s mother Lyn Irwin, a pioneer in wildlife care and rehabilitation, the facility cares for several thousand animals every year.

A dedicated member of the Wildlife Warriors helping take care of injured animals
A dedicated member of the Wildlife Warriors helping take care of injured animals

A team of dedicated doctors and volunteers work tirelessly to heal the sick and injured, with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild.

A team of dedicated doctors and volunteers work tirelessly

We toured the hospital with Michelle to get an up close look at the incredible care given to the wildlife.

WATCH: Get an inside tour of the hospital and they great work they do!

It's important to protect the wildlife in Australia and the Zoo realizes that
It's important to protect the wildlife in Australia and the Zoo realizes that

Koalas make up a big part of the patients, but almost any animal is welcomed and treated.

There are special units designed for reptiles and birds, and outdoor facilities, including a special area for turtles, to help acclimate the rehabilitated for their return to the wild.

During the process, the staff also performs valuable research into wildlife diseases and migration.

The project is funded through the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors.

This little guy is on the road to recovery with the help of the Australia Zoo
This little guy is on the road to recovery with the help of the Australia Zoo

It is a cause that we are happy to help support in our own small way, and we are glad to spread the word.

Seriously, how could we pass up helping these adorable little koalas?

Loved this story?

Subscribe to our newsletter

to receive new story and activity ideas in your inbox.

Keep inspired By other stories