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Where to see native animals in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

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

Guaranteed sightings of almost all your favourite animals can be enjoyed at:

  • Healesville Sanctuary – where you can even get up close and personal, watch shows and participate in caring for our natives.
  • Eco tours – take an organised tour into the forest and be shown real animals in their natural habitat. See Ranger Dan’s eco adventures

Beautiful rarities and endangered species

These natives are a little bit shy and rely on us to keep the environment healthy for them

  • 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 night time
  • Platypus in the Yarra River in Warburton, try mornings

In their natural habitat

Out and about anywhere in the Yarra Valley or the 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).

  • Sugarloaf Reservoir – Kangaroos and Wallabies
  • Sherbrooke Forest drive – Wombats and lyrebirds
  • Up Mt Donna Buang Rd to the summit – lyrebirds, wallabies

Kangaroos in the Vineyard and on the Golf course

Roos 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.

  • Yarrambat Golf course
  • Eastern Golf
  • All the vineyards

Special destinations for birds

Birds love these cool climate sheltered areas and many species will share common space. Move quietly 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 the pub!

Koala capers

Often elusive, koala bears 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

Relish the Reptiles

Although most people think snakes when they think reptiles (and summer is the high season for snake activity), there are many other types of reptiles out and about in the region, at any time of the day or year.

  • Lace monitors are regular sightings in the Dandenong Ranges, look up trees too!
  • Blue tongue lizards although shy creatures make this area a happy home contributing to the eco system and keeping an eye on things!