Wildlife tourism introduces the traveler to animals in their native habitats. Separated by the Bass Strait from Australia, Tasmania is home to a vast richness of wildlife in pristine locales. How can you visit the area while practicing wildlife protection?
Wineglass Bay Cruises: Guided Water Access to the Freycinet Coast
P.O. Box 229 (end of Jetty Road) in Coles Bay, Tasmania
(03) 6257 0355
Cruises start at 10 a.m. or 9 a.m., depending on the season
Costs range from $85 to $130
What sets apart Wineglass Bay Cruises from other coastal cruise operators is the company’s relationship with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Since wildlife protection must be an integral part of wildlife tourism in Tasmania, opting for a tour operator who knows how to let you see all the sights without disturbing the habitats only makes sense. These morning cruises offer the possibilities of sighting fur seals, dolphins, sea eagles, and migrating whales.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary: Guided Night Access to Tasmania’s Wildlife
593 Briggs Road in Brighton, Tasmania
(03) 6268 1184
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; nighttime tours by arrangement
Tickets cost $57 for a family of four or $22 per adult and $9 per child
If you are taking children with you, consider a visit to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. It is not a zoo but a rehabilitation facility for sick and injured wildlife. Daytime tours begin at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; they offer behind-the-scenes access to animals in residence. Tasmanian devils, wombats, kangaroos, and koalas are just some of the wildlife you can see. It is a little known fact that the sanctuary also schedules nighttime tours, which allow enclosure access to usually nocturnal animals. Spend $149 per ticket and visit with the animals up close and personal.
Huon Bush Retreats Invites a Stay
P.O. Box 168 (300 Browns Road) in Huonville, Tasmania
(03) 6264 2233
Costs vary by accommodation from $145 to $395 per night
Rent a studio cabin, cliff-top cabin, or deluxe tepee. Walk the property during a three- to four-hour hike. Unpack your binoculars and wait — patiently — for wallabies and possums. Huon Bush Retreats is one of the Tasmania hotels that received the Nyrstar Environment and Sustainability Award and can claim to be not just carbon-positive, but also carbon-neutral.
Inala Birding and Wildlife Tours of Bruny Island
320 Cloudy Bay Road in Bruny Island, Tasmania
Costs vary by arrangement
Let a biologist guide you on foot through the flora and fauna of Bruny Island. See endangered birds, Adventure Bay, Cape Bruny, and learn about ongoing conservation efforts. This is a physically demanding tour; adults and older children best undertake it without preschoolers or toddlers in tow.
A Word on Wildlife Tourism
Weather in Tasmania is sometimes difficult to predict; carrying a rain shell and bringing along an extra jacket on excursions is always a good idea. Wildlife tourism is a big business for Tasmania, and the presence of numerous tour operators leads to competition for tourist dollars. Always opt for tour operators who work hand in hand with wildlife protection agencies. Follow the directions given and never veer off a path, pick a flower, or try to pick up an animal — no matter how tame or cute it is. Consider your health carefully; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge visitors to Australia to get routine vaccinations and shots for Hepatitis B and possibly for Japanese encephalitis. Discuss with your doctor if you should get the rabies vaccination — while you might not plan to get up close and personal with bats, you never know what will actually happen.