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How to have a meaningful encounter with Tasmania’s wildlife

One third of Tasmania is made up of national parks and the island is home to unique and abundant wildlife. Many of its inhabitants can be found only in Tasmania, such as the Eastern quoll and the red-bellied pademelon. Then there is the famed Tasmanian devil. Though the marsupials have recently been re-introduced to mainland Australia, the only place to see them in the wild is Tasmania.

You may spot wombats while hiking up Cradle Mountain or see whales breach off the cliffs of South Bruny Island, but if you really want to gain an understanding into the habitat and behaviours of Tasmania’s plants and animals, then exploring with a guide is the way to go.

Australian Wildlife Journeys offer a number of ways to get up close to some of Tassie’s residents, always with conservation at the forefront of the experience. Their ethos is that wildlife is best seen in the wild, and each small group tour is run by local operators, offering an intimate way to discover the state’s native flora and fauna.

Tasmania’s Western Wilderness

An example of this is the 5 Day Tasmania’s Western Wilderness experience hosted by Premier Travel. This tour encompasses the incredibly diverse scenery of central and western Tasmania, as well as including some of the state’s most remote towns and villages.

Guided hikes take you past tranquil lakes and up craggy peaks in Cradle Mountain National Park where wombats are commonly seen. At a nearby sanctuary you will encounter Tasmanian devils as well as spotted-tail and Eastern quolls.

Then it’s onto the rugged west coast. In this much less frequented part of Tasmania your guide with take you to the historic harbour town of Strahan, aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway and on walks through lush forest in Tasmania’s oldest national park, Mount Field. Here, you can see some of the tallest flowering trees in the world along with some of Tasmania’s 12 endemic bird species. You can of course visit this wilderness alone, but even the sharpest eye would struggle to match the guides who have been tracking and observing these threatened bird species for many years.

The green rosella is native Tasmanian wildlife
The green rosella is native to Tasmania and Bass Strait islands

Tasmanian Wildlife Encounter

Heading to the other side of the island, you can explore the natural beauty of the east coast, including the bays and peaks of the Freycinet Peninsula and the lichen covered rocks of the Bay of Fires, on the 5 Day Tasmanian Wildlife Encounter.

In Freycinet National Park you will embark on a four-hour Wineglass Bay Cruise. Hidden sea caves, blowholes and waterfalls can be seen amongst the captivating pink granite cliffs. Then spot short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins when passing the remote Schouten Island.

Bicheno is a known spot for admiring little penguins, where they nest and breed in the dunes. Guides will take you to a private property – only accessed by your group – to see the penguins close up at sunset.

Forester Kangaroos in Tasmania wildlife
Forester Kangaroos

The Maria Island Walk & Maria Island Winter Escape

Maria Island is also known as Tasmania’s Noah’s Ark, as a number of endangered species were introduced in the 1960s and 70s. In 1971 it became a national park, and since then its only permanent inhabitants (aside from the animals) are park rangers. Viewing opportunities here include Tasmanian pademelons, Cape Barren geese and Tasmanian devils.  A guided walking holiday allows for a variety of wildlife encounters. Here you can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the guides, who have an excellent eye for spotting the locals, particularly on night walks.

On a four day guided walking tour, you will traverse from north to south, walking through forests, discovering the fascinating history of the World Heritage listed Darlington settlement and swimming at pristine white sand beaches. You can expect to see some of the 100+ species of birds that inhabit the island, along with common wombats, forester kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies and Tasmanian devils, which were introduced in 2012.

From June to August, the three day Maria Island Winter Escape offers the chance to see wombat joeys, as well as the mating rituals of Tasmanian native hens.

The team at The Maria Island Walk assist in several conservation activities, including collecting marine debris off beaches with guests, conducting bird surveys and planting Coast Wattle and Sheoaks at the Four Mile Headland on the island.

Tasmanian wildlife: Wombat roaming on Maria Island
Wombat roaming on Maria Island

Tasmanian Devil Encounter

If meeting a Tasmanian devil is your focus, then the 6 Day Tasmanian Devil Encounter Private Tour is the way to go. Each day there are opportunities to meet the state’s celebrated residents whilst exploring glacial lakes, ancient rainforest and golden sand beaches.

Visiting some of Tasmania’s most loved national parks, including Cradle Mountain, Mole Creek Karst and Narawntapu, your guide will help you track and spot a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and flora.

Every party that books this package receives their own personalised Tassie Devil Adoption package. You can visit your adopted Tassie devil and see how this program assists with breeding, rehabilitation, and reintroduction of this endangered species.

Young Tasmanian Devil
Young Tasmanian Devil © Amira El kheir

Tasmania has some of the world’s cleanest air, so whichever experience you choose, make sure you pause a moment to take some relaxing mediative breaths as you explore the beautiful scenery. Find out more about Tasmania wildlife tours and experiences at Australian Wildlife Journeys.

Lead image: Tasmanian devil © Jess Bonde

This article on Tasmanian wildlife is produced with content supplied by Australian Wildlife Journeys and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter.