For a truly wild night, stay at the self-contained Savannah Cabins at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. That's one of three overnight options at the zoo in Country NSW. You can also try Zoofari Lodge and Billabong Camp, where you stay in the friendly native wildlife section.
At Altina Wildlife Park, south of Griffith, see rare white lions and other exotic animals as well as kangaroos and goannas. The park is near the Murrumbidgee River, popular for fishing and canoeing, and you can stay in cabins or pitch a tent at the Darlington Point Riverside Caravan Park.
On the enchanting Central Coast, near Sydney, watch deadly snakes and funnel web spiders being milked for life-saving anti-venom at the Australian Reptile Park. You'll also meet Elvis, a huge saltwater crocodile. Nearby is the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park, where rangers lead encounters with native animals. You can stay overnight in self-contained cabins.
Whales migrate along the NSW Coast between May and November. From Byron Bay on the North Coast to Eden on the South Coast, spot whales from vantage points or take a whale-watching cruise for a closer look. Dolphin-watching cruises are available year-round in Port Stephens and Jervis Bay. Marine parks such as Solitary Islands, near Coffs Harbour, are great for snorkelling and diving.
Kids will love the little penguins and seals at Montague Island, 9km off Narooma, on the South Coast. Mogo Zoo, near Batemans Bay, is 50 minutes' drive north of Narooma. The zoo specialises in looking after endangered species, such as lowland gorillas, tigers and snow leopards.