Tasmanian wildlife

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One of the most popular things to do in Tasmania is to see its wildlife. Did you know Tasmania has 33 native terrestrial mammals and 41 marine mammals? Tasmanian wildlife includes pademelons, eastern quolls, bettongs and Tasmanian devils. Wildlife in Tasmania extends to birds – there are 12 species of birds you’ll not find anywhere else on Earth and a number of species that only breed in Tasmania, such as the endangered orange-bellied parrot and swift parrot. Around 20% of Tasmania is covered in wilderness and the island is a haven for wildlife. So, tick off your list of Tasmanian animals.

Looking for animals in Tasmania? Here are the places to go to see wildlife in Tasmania.

Tasmanian Wildlife

Where to see wild animals in Tasmania

1- The Tarkine

Tasmanian wildlife
The Tarkine is a treasure trove of wildlife in Tasmania. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Joe Shemesh

Tasmania’s Tarkine is a 477,000ha of awe-inspiring wilderness. Mount Donaldson is a favourite destination in the Tarkine for hikers.

It’s a four-hour walk which is rewarded with a breathtaking view at the top.

After the hike, explore Lucy Creek and Philosopher’s Falls, where the sound of water is soothing to the soul.

In spring, there are guided walks. You might be lucky to spot Tasmanian devil pups roaming playfully. The Tasmanian devil is under threat of extinction due to devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), an aggressive cancer that has caused lots of deaths among the Tasmanian devils.

2- Freycinet National Park

Tasmania wildlife
Meeting Tasmanian kangaroos on the beach in Freycinet National Park. Photo: Tourism Australia & Hugh Stewart

Freycinet National Park is 125 km northeast of Hobart on the east coast of Tasmania.

The national park’s moniker is its coloured pink granite peaks, pristine beaches and abundant wildlife.

The Moulting Lagoon is home to black swans, waterfowl and other migratory birds.

Sometimes white-bellied sea eagles can be seen scouting for food over the ocean.

Freycinet National Park is home to the Brushtail Possum, Ringtail Possum, Sugar Glider, Eastern Pygmy Possum, Little Pygmy Possum, Echidna, Wombats and New Holland Mouse.

Wineglass Bay is the star of Freycinet National Park. This beautiful bay has been tagged as one of the world’s 10 best beaches by publications from around the world.

Some say that the landscape is an antipodean version of Hawaii.

Wallabies are often seen patrolling around the bay while seals relax on the sandy beaches.

3- The Western Wilderness

Tasmania animal
One Tasmania animal you may not have heard about is the Tasmanian Masked Owl. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer

The Western Wilderness is considered one of Australia’s true wilderness frontiers. It’s a sanctuary for wildlife.

Here you might spot Tasmanian masked owls resting on tree branches. Tasmanian masked owls are an endangered species. There are only 615 pairs remaining.

A top spot to see fairy penguins or blue penguins is Bonnet Island in the Western Wilderness.

They are the world’s smallest penguins, measuring to only 40cm in height and the average weight is around one kilogram.

In the evenings, the fairy penguins waddle into the water and around the rocky shoreline of the island.

4- Mount Wellington Park

Tasmania wildlife
The views from Mount Wellington are stunning and you may also get the chance to see Tasmanian wildlife along the way. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Nick Osborne

Mount Wellington Park is a 20-minute drive from Hobart and exploring Mount Wellington is one of the top things to do in Hobart.

It’s not a national park but it has natural beauty, with temperate rainforests, glacial rock formations and a panoramic view of Hobart from the summit.

You can tackle Mount Wellington by car, motorbike, trike or by foot. On your way you might spot pademelons, bandicoots, possums and echidnas.

5- Cataract Gorge

One of the special things about Cataract Gorge is it’s a 15-minute walk from the city centre of Launceston, which makes visiting an easy thing to do in Launceston.

Once you go, you’ll soon see why it is one of Tasmania’s top tourist attractions.

Cataract Gorge has the world’s longest single-span chairlift.

It’s a top spot for a family picnic, where you might spot peacocks that add an extra dash of colour to the beautiful gardens of Cataract Gorge, along with the wallabies and birds.

Cataract Gorge Reserve volunteers offer interpretative walks through the reserve, starting at Basin Cottage where you’ll find old photos dating to the 1860s and other interesting information about the reserve.

There are also monthly special event walks.

6- Cradle Mountain

wildlife tasmania
Wildlife Tasmania: Cradle Mountain is a pristine wilderness teeming with wildlife. Photo: Great Walks of Australia

Lake St. Clair is at the southern end of Cradle Mountain. It was named after Clare of Assisi when a European explorer discovered it on the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi.

Although it seems like it’s a remote destination, Lake St. Clair is only a 2.5-hour drive from Hobart.

It’s the finishing point of the Overland Track and Australia’s deepest lake.

Cradle Mountain is in the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

It is 1,545m above sea level and is certainly one of the most well-known places in Tasmania.

A number of bird species including green rosellas, black currawongs, pink robins and Tasmanian scrub wrens can be seen here.

The mountains are where Peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles nest. Tiger snakes are also found in the area, along with wombats, pademelons, Tasmanian devils and echidnas. Visit devils@cradle to learn more about the plight of the Tasmanian devil.

7- Bay of Fires

Tasmanian seals
Catch the sea lions and seals at the Bay of Fires for a cool Tasmania wildlife experience. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy

Bay of Fires, in Tasmania’s north east, was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773 when he saw numerous fires of the Aboriginal people along the coast.

Aboriginal middens (shell and bone deposits) can be found in the sand dunes around the area.

In season, pods of dolphins and whales pass by the Bay of Fires and are a spectacular sight to watch from the beach.

8- Maria Island

Tasmanian wombat
Looking for a Tasmanian wombat? Head to Maria Island. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Dominic Zeng

Maria Island is a mountainous island shaped like a figure eight.

The island can be reached either by a boat or a plane from Triabunna, the nearest town. The island is rich in history.

It was a convict settlement during the first half of the 19th century and became a national park in 1972.

Wildlife on the island include bare-nosed wombats, Tasmanian pademelons, eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, Cape Barren geese, Fallow deer and Tasmanian devils frolic among the island’s historic ruins.

9- Tasman Peninsula

The Tasman Peninsula is south-east of Hobart is a beautiful part of the world.

It’s best known for Port Arthur Historic Site and rugged coastline with eye-catching rock formations such as Devils Kitchen, Tasman’s Arch and Blow Hole.

Learn about Tasmanian devil conservation at the Tasmania Devil Conservation Park on the main highway in Taranna.

The Tasman Peninsula is a wonderful place to go hiking. Another memorable way to explore the region is on a boat trip where you’re likely to spot sea lions, seals and dolphins.

The peninsula is also a sanctuary for the endangered Swift Parrot and Forty-spotted Pardalote.

10- Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Tasmania animals

Want to know more about the animals of Tasmania? Meet the denizens of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

1- Tawny frogmouth

tasmania tawny frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth

An adult of unknown age, Archie came to live at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary after being hit by a car. Archie’s wing was damaged, making it impossible for him to survive in the wild. These days, Archie lives with a small group of other tawny’s who have been similarly injured.

2- Baby Eastern Quoll

Tasmania's baby eastern quoll
Tasmania’s baby eastern quoll is a cute animal.

Eastern quolls have been extinct on the mainland since the 20th century and can only be found in Tasmania.

When it’s a little older, this little baby will be sent to Mt Rothwell in Victoria to be part of a reintroduction program.

3- Baby Forester Kangaroo

Forester kangaroos are a subspecies of the Eastern Grey family and only found in Tasmania.

Tasmanian kangaroo
Tasmania’s baby Forester kangaroo

Tasmanian possum
Tasmanian brushtail possum

4- Brushtail possum

Fidget was orphaned after his mother was hit by a car. Due to his light colouring and poor eyesight, Fidget would have been highly vulnerable to attacks from other possums in the wild.

5- Tasmanian tree frog

Tasmanian tree frog
Tasmanian tree frog

Fronk is a part of an important quarantine program keeping the frogs safe from the deadly fungal infection chytridiomycosis, which is decimating frog populations around the world.

The program is also attempting to breed the frogs in captivity and gathering data on this little-known species.

6- Australian wood duck

Australian wood duck
Australian wood duck – one of the cute animals in Tasmania.

This Australian wood duck, Little Man, was found wandering alone without his mum.

Little Man was hand-raised by one of the Bonorong wildlife keepers and then released back into the wild.

7- Tasmanian wombat

This baby wombat was a lucky chap. Max’s mum was one of the many roadkill victims in Tasmania but Max was fortunate to be found and brought to Bonorong to be cared for.

8- Tasmanian devil

where to see tasmania wildlife
Alex & Raali the Tasmanian devil. Photos: Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

Born at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the national captive-bred ‘Insurance Population’, Prince is quite a charmer.

The aim of the program is to safeguard this endangered species against the impact of Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

9- Echidna

echidna in tasmania
This echidna is one of the animals in Tasmania.

Born in the wild, Randall became a victim of a dog attack and needed one of his legs amputated. His injury has made it extremely difficult for him to survive in the wild. Fortunately for Randall, he now lives at Bonorong where he is safe from predators.

10- Sugar glider

Tasmanian sugar gliders
Tasmanian sugar gliders are part of the Tasmania wildlife scene.

There are several sugar gliders at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

Most of them came to live at Bonorong after being injured in the wild, like Lachie who was badly injured in a cat attack and needed several months of recovery.

Sugar gliders are not native to Tasmania and out-compete many native birds and small mammals for food and nesting hollows.

For these reasons, these gliders are not able to be released back to the wild so live safely at Bonorong instead.

Tasmania hotels

Tasmania has a good selection of hotels, cottages, B&B’s and other accommodation options.

Check out hotel prices here

Wildlife in Australia

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Tasmanian wildlife

Tasmanian wildlife