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Where to See Native Animals in the Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges

See & Do

Discover the best places to see Australian native animals and bird life in the Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges.

Where am I guaranteed to see animals and birdlife?

Guaranteed sightings of almost all your favourite animals can be enjoyed at Healesville Sanctuary. Wander tranquil tracks and see iconic Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos, platypus, dingoes, wombats, emus and more. Discover majestic birds of prey and magnificent parrots in the spectacular Spirits of The Sky bird show.

Where can I find beautiful rarities and endangered species?

These natives are a little bit shy and rely on us to keep the environment healthy for them. Check out some of these places:

  • Leadbeater possum – Yellingbo Conservation Reserve - restricted access, but keep an eye out for special events.
  • Powerful owls – trees in quiet places in Mt Evelyn, at dusk and into nighttime and Birdsland Reserve.
  • Platypus - Yarra River in Warburton or Warrandyte State Park.

Where can I find native animals and bird life in their natural habitat?

Out and about anywhere in the Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges, there’s always a chance of spotting a kangaroo, a lyrebird or a wombat. Drive carefully and keep your eyes open (and don’t forget to look up too – that’s where the koalas will be). Here's some places we suggest:

Kangaroos in the Vineyard and on the Golf Course:

Kangaroos and wallabies love the wide open spaces of golf courses. The grass is literally greener and there is plenty of space for long hops with friends. Dusk is the best time to spot these marsupials who also love to hop in a vineyard just for fun.

Where can I find birds?

Birds love these cool climate-sheltered areas, and many species will share common space. Tiptoe and look for tell-tale signs of activity on the forest floor any time of day.

  • Rainforest Gallery, Warburton – natives including finches, kookaburras, lyrebirds and more
  • Murrindindi Scenic Reserve – all types
  • Olinda Creek, Lilydale – all types
  • Native ducks and friends love to gather at the Yarra River behind Warburton, at Emerald Park Lake and other moving waterways.
  • Kookaburras can typically be found just about everywhere, even at the pub!

Where can I see koalas?

Often elusive, koalas can be spotted asleep in their gum trees during the day but will be more active during the night.

  • The Kinglake area is best for koala spotting as many have been released to find new homes in this area in recent years
  • Warrandyte near the Yarra River – take a walk along the river bank and listen for their characteristic growling sound

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