Black and white illustration of Rachel O'Leary's headshot
Written by
Rachel O'Leary

Published on: August 29th, 2019

Last modified: April 19th, 2024

Australian safaris explore some of the most epic natural spaces and fascinating wildlife on the planet. There’s snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef, captivating endemic species in Tasmania, cute koalas on the Ocean Road and fascinating cultural heritage at Uluru and in the Outback.

Much like taking a safari in Africa, Australia offers a stunning collection of safari lodges. Stay in luxury tree houses nestled in the glistening canopy of the Daintree Forest or get back to nature in safari-style tents in Kakadu National Park on an exclusive safari with legendary guide, Sab Lord.

We’ve asked our experts to collate their ultimate guide on where to go on safari in Australia and where you can find certain species - the perfect guide for first timers, seasoned safari goers or those choosing between Africa or Australia. We’ll list our favourite locations and let you know why we think they’re so special.

Safari Destinations in Australia

1. Uluru and the Outback

The classic Australian safari destination, Uluru and the Outback is a land of vast arid landscapes, wild animals, spiritual energy and unique heritage. Experience extraordinary luxury at Longitude 131° where walls made entirely of glass deliver epic views of the mighty Uluru – for views of Kata Tjuta as well, be sure to opt for the Dune Pavilion suite. At night watch Uluru change from bright red to deep purple, embodying the undeniable energy running through the heart of the Northern Territory.

Ayers Rock, Uluru Australia, at sunset

The Australian Outback is a great place to spot many of Australia’s best loved creatures from kangaroos to the magnificent thorny devil and many other reptile and bird species. Along with natural wonders and wildlife, Aboriginal guides thoughtfully explaining Dreamtime, exposes a side to Australia only few visitors get to discover. A wonderful mix of cultures, landscapes and history, the Outback is a must-visit safari destination for anyone wanting to visit ethereal Australia.

2. Tasmania

Widely known for its vast expanse of unspoiled wilderness and diverse landscapes, Tasmania is home to 19 national parks teeming with wildlife from forest-dwellers to sea life. It’s also a place of tremendously stylish hotels; stay in an art gallery and museum with villas designed in sharp triangular shapes at MONA Pavilions or in boutique luxury in the historic Islington Hotel at Hobart.

This independent island cares about sustainability, suiting today’s conscious traveller. Saffire Freycinet, a contemporary hotel that cleverly embraces its natural surroundings, acts as refuge for older Tasmanian Devils, and leads conservation efforts in the region. Tasmanian Devils are the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials, weighing up to 12 kilograms and travel as far as 16 kilometres to find food such as wallabies, reptiles and small mammals.

Exterior view of Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania, Australia at sunrise

3. The Great Barrier Reef

One of the world’s great natural wonders, the  awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. Home to over 3000 individual reef systems and an incredible wealth of biodiversity with 30 species of cetaceans, more than 1500 types of fish and the graceful dugong  – it’s a nature lover’s paradise.  Any snorkelling or diving enthusiast must explore this underwater marvel.

dugong-calf-red-sea

Rising ocean temperatures have put the reef in peril, meaning sustainable travel is now vital. Luckily there’s a myriad of ways you can discover the reef responsibly. Stay in the sustainably designed, contemporary Lizard Island, situated inside the national park and be submerged in the natural world. On the idyllic white-sand Haggerston Island, fringed with palms and dotted with Papua New Guinea-style huts, there’s a genuine connection to nature – and the entire island can be privately booked, for those seeking complete privacy.

4. Kakadu National Park

Australia’s Northern Territory, known as the Top End, is one of the world’s great wildernesses, accessible from the little tropical city of Darwin. Enormous expanses (it’s six times bigger than the UK) of pristine landscapes are filled with wildlife, ancient culture, captivating recent history and more than 80 national parks. 

kakdu-national-park-darwin

Kakadu National Park is home to Bamurru Plains, set in its own private reserve and on our list of top sustainable lodges in the world. Buffalo, wallabies, crocodiles and much more can be discovered on exhilarating quad bike and airboat safaris, led by expert naturalist guides. For the ultimate Australian safari experience set out with legendary guide Sab Lord from Lords Camp in Arnhem Land. Benefit from his decades of experience on an epic expedition (longer itineraries can last up to two weeks) of wildlife viewing, wild swimming and genuine cultural experiences. 

5. Kangaroo Island

Ten thousand years ago a section of land in southern Australia was cut off from the mainland by rising waters and Archaeological proof humans ceased. Kangaroo Island became a remote wildlife haven, virtually untouched until the 19th century. Diverse, windswept and made up of rolling hills, craggy cliffs, amber grasslands, white-sand beaches, and protected by several nature reserves and sustainable hotels. Home to a massive list of wildlife including platypuses, possums and, unsurprisingly, Kangaroos.

Southern Ocean Lodge, due to reopen in the latter part of 2023, offers an elegant place to stay while exploring the wilds of the island. Safari excursions take you to the coast to look for seals, into Flinders Chase National Park where you can spot koalas and wallabies and onto the water where dancing dolphins play. There’s beehives, wine and foodie tours and unmissable cultural excursions too.

A family of seals at Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island

6. The Daintree Rainforest

Australia’s Daintree Rainforest is a verdant, lush rainforest used as the inspiration for the landscapes in the blockbuster movie Avatar, and it’s not hard to see why – it’s breathtaking. For a stylish, modern and totally luxurious treehouse, look no further than Silky Oaks. With the social areas open to the meandering mossman river below there’s a strong connection to nature- a truly immersive experience.

A River flows through Daintree Rainforest, Australia

Adventure seekers can trek through the jungle, soar through the forest canopy on a zip-line, go on wildlife walks or kayaking trips – keeping a look out for crocodiles and green possums. Home to a quarter of Australia’s frog population, one of the world’s largest butterfly colonies and an incredible 122 rare and endangered species, the Daintree Rainforest is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts who are seeking some of the more obscure animals such as Boyd’s Forest Dragon or the striking Southern Cassowary.

Photograph of saltwater crocodile taken in Queensland, Australia. This photograph was taken in the afternoon with full frame camera and G telephoto lens.

7. Great Ocean Road

For epic views and the chance to spot wildlife in multiple locations, be sure to include the Great Ocean Road on your Australian safari. Stretching between Torquay and Allansford, this Australian National Heritage site offers plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities and unforgettable views. From rainforests and rivers to rugged coastline and ancient volcanoes, there’s a variety of wildlife habitats to discover.

Stay at Lake House Daylesford, a stunning lakefront retreat, nestled within olive groves and dappled forests. From here, travel to Ballarat Wildlife Park to experience private ranger-guided wildlife tours. Also in the region is the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where there’s a chance to meet emus, koalas and lizards. Visiting between May and September means ocean safari opportunities as the southern right whales come close to shore, or go swimming with dolphins at Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula.

A Koala sitting in a tree in a National Park near Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

 

Embark on an Australian Safari Adventure

Locking eyes with a majestic kangaroo, marvelling at the graceful movements of dolphins or seeking the thrill of exploring ancient landscapes: Australia's diverse ecosystems offer something truly special for every adventurer.

Where to Stay While on Safari in Australia

Discover Australia's Best Safari Spots