Travel forums are peppered with variations of the question, “Where can I see kangaroos in Melbourne?” In this post I tell you one spot in Victoria you are almost guaranteed to see wild kangaroos.
So you’ve booked your trip to Melbourne, and you’re hoping to see some of Australia’s iconic wildlife, including our famous kangaroos. Let’s get one thing on the table straightaway for the benefit of overseas visitors – contrary to popular myths about our city, you are not going to see any kangaroos bouncing along Collins Street or boxing passers-by in the Bourke Street mall.
If you’re going to stay within the city confines, you can see kangaroos at the zoo – The Melbourne Zoo’s Australia enclosure features mobs of Eastern Grey and Island kangaroos in a replica ‘natural’ habitat. Slightly further afield, Werribee Open Range Zoo (30 mins drive from the city centre) has a mob of Eastern Greys, or about 80 mins from the CBD, Healesville Sanctuary has an enclosure full of Red Kangaroos.
But for the memorable moment experience of an ‘in the wild’ experience, you’re probably going to have to be prepared to travel outside the city. There are certainly some parks and open spaces within the wider metropolitan area where you could find kangaroos, but my pick for an almost guaranteed wildlife experience is to add The Grampians to your itinerary. (Of course, there’s no such thing as definitely guaranteed when it comes to wild animals…but there is so much wildlife in the Grampians, you would either be extremely unlucky, or have your eyes glues to your smartphone, not to encounter any.)
The small town of Halls Gap is about three hours drive north-west from Melbourne, and is the central town for visiting the Grampians region. It’s located at the base of a valley, between escarpments of the Grampians National Park, so is the perfect spot for the wildlife of the park to wander down to when it takes their fancy.
In the town itself, the myth about Australian kangaroos is actually true…they ARE bouncing around the town centre. We found a particularly tame mob on the grass oval next to the caravan park that didn’t seem to be at all bothered by human attention.
Many of the females had joeys (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. Some of these joeys were quite old and watching the antics of these over-sized toddlers diving head-first back into the safety of their mothers’ pouches was hilarious.
You should keep in mind, that these are wild kangaroos, and give them some space regardless of how tame they may seem. And it’s never a good idea to feed native animals human food scraps such as bread or crackers. Just stand back and observe as they go about their day and marvel at the incredible engineering of their back legs and tails.
Generally, the best time to see kangaroos is early morning or dusk, but the town mob was out and about all day long. If you’re wanting spectacular photos though, the golden hours of dawn and dusk make for the best photos of our bounding friends.
Back at our accommodation (Halls Gap Valley Lodges), a mob of kangaroos grazed constantly on the open lawn behind our villa, joined at times by emus, deer, kookaburras, rabbits and a flock of cheeky sulphur crested cockatoos.
During dinner at the The Views Restaurant, my dining companion was a friendly ‘roo who obviously hadn’t read the menu…
For a kangaroo experience, I can’t recommend Halls Gap too highly. But it’s not just the kangaroos, the Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) is home to a wide range of Victoria’s wildlife that you can easily encounter in their natural habitat.
Halls Gap in The Grampians – three hours drive from Melbourne
What kangaroo-spotting locations do you recommend?
Want to save this post to refer to later? Pin the image below to Pinterest!