Animals in the Wild
NSW is wonderfully diverse when it comes to wildlife. You’ll find animals in the wild in their natural habitats in national parks and nature reserves, marine parks and wetlands. There are fantastic viewing opportunities in these wilderness zones, where you can spot everything from kangaroos and koalas to penguins and humpback whales.
Bushwalking with the animals
Those who love spotting animals in the wild are usually prepared to put in some effort to see them. Wildlife encounters can be enjoyed while bushwalking in UNESCO World Heritage areas of the Blue Mountains, Gondwana Rainforests and Willandra Lakes, in parks on the NSW Coast, and in the red gums along the rivers in Country NSW, too.
Koalas are a source of great national pride: spot them in Bombala Koala Reserve in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, near Narrandera in Country NSW. Visitors are almost guaranteed to see kangaroos -- another Aussie emblem -- at Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park, between Bawley Point and Batemans Bay on the South Coast.
The platypus is an incredibly elusive creature. With luck, you can spot the monotreme at dawn or dusk in the pools located at Bombala Platypus Reserve, a nature park near Bombala in the Snowy Mountains. Keep a close watch for the shy platypus as it glides gently through the water, leaving a V shape in its wake.
Waterways and wetlands
Wildlife is also abundant along NSW's waterways -- from the mighty Murray River to the estuaries that snake their way from the coast. Take a river cruise or hire a houseboat to explore the Murray or the rivers on the North Coast. There's the Hastings in Port Macquarie, the Brunswick in Brunswick Heads and the Tweed in the Tweed region.
NSW's wetlands are also teeming with myriad wildlife, from waterbirds to marsupials on the foreshores. They’re also home to endangered or vulnerable bird species such as the superb parrot and the Australian painted snipe. Wetlands noted as being of international importance in NSW under the Ramsar Convention include:
- The Hunter Wetlands, near Newcastle
- Myall Lakes National Park, between Hawks Nest and Forster
- Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve, between Armidale and Glen Innes
- Macquarie Marshes, near Coonamble
- Fivebough Wetlands, near Leeton
- Murray Valley National Park, between Deniliquin and Moama
Bushwalking around the edges of the wetlands is a wonderful way to spot the creatures that dwell in this marshy habitat. You may also spot some of Australia's reclusive fauna if you hire a Luxury Houseboat for a slow-moving spin around pristine Myall Lakes. Change into an even slower gear on a kayak tour with Lazy Paddles.
Diving and snorkelling
The marine life in NSW is incredible: enjoy diving adventures at Fish Rock Cave, a haven for grey nurse sharks, or visit Montague Island, off Narooma, which is home to a colony of little penguins and sea lions. Whale watching season is between May and November, while dolphins can be sighted all-year round Jervis Bay and Port Stephens.