Explore the natural wonders in and around Canberra to find Australian native animals like koalas, kangaroos and the elusive platypus, or meet the friendly residents in our zoos.

Around town

Don’t be surprised if you encounter a kangaroo while simply driving or walking around Canberra. They’re proud local residents and share our nature parks, reserves and residential suburbs. Try a round of golf at Federal Golf Club or take a hike to get up close with these native icons.

Canberra Nature Park, which is made up of 33 different hills, wetlands and grassland reserves around town, is home to exquisite birdlife, lizards and marsupials. Keep an eye out for wombats, possums and echidna. And be sure to try a twilight visit for a completely different array of fauna.

Take a walk, cycle or Segway around Lake Burley Griffin, and you’ll see plenty of waterbirds, including swans and ducks, soaking up the relaxed vibe. Throw in a fishing line to try your luck at catching a Murray cod or redfin.

Amongst 94 forests of trees, you’ll discover animals sharing the botanic beauty of the National Arboretum Canberra. Search for local birds on a guided tour, or explore the tree sanctuary via well sign-posted walks of varying lengths and terrain.

Not far away, take a stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. These native, themed gardens attract beautiful birds, possums, water dragons, swamp wallaby, echidna and of course, eastern grey kangaroos.

The kangaroos love Lake Burley Griffin almost as much as the locals do

Into the hills

About 40 minutes’ drive from Canberra’s city, you’ll enter the wonders of Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Within these natural surrounds, you can explore for hours or days, and be lucky enough to spot platypus, koalas, possums, reptiles, kangaroos, waterbirds, emus and wallaroos.

Organise a nature and wildlife tour so you can learn more about these amazing animals and their habitats.

Tidbinbilla even runs breeding programs to help with wildlife protection. They are supporting endangered species such as the northern corroboree frog, brush-tailed rock-wallaby and the eastern bettong.

A girl looking at a koala in a tree
If you’re lucky the koalas in Eucalypt Forest at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve will be awake!

At the zoos

The National Zoo and Aquarium packs a wildlife punch! Not only can you meet native Australian animals, many exotic species from around the world also live at the zoo. Meet a dingo, wombat, meerkat, white rhino, red panda or a Sumatran tiger, plus many others. The zoo even offers close encounters with some of the favourite residents – including hand-feeding if you’re brave enough.

Head north to Gold Creek Village to meet 50 different species of reptiles and frogs at Canberra Reptile Zoo. See a blue-tongue lizard, turtle, snake or goanna. Then wander across the road to encounter more than 500 birds at Canberra Walk In Aviary. This feathered wonderland features parrots, finches, doves and quail from Australia and around the world.

A completely different way to encounter the locals at Jamala Wildlife Lodge at the National Zoo and Aquarium