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03 Mar 2017

BY Matt Hampton

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10 of the best Gold Coast wildlife experiences

Australia’s Gold Coast, which hosts Corroboree 2017 this year, is a wildlife lover’s dream. Here are 10 creatures to see and experiences to recommend in one of Australia’s top beach destinations

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From humpbacks to glow worms: 10 of the Gold Coast's best wildlife experiences

1. Snorkel with turtles at Cook Island

1. Snorkel with turtles at Cook Island

If swimming alongside sea turtles is high on your bucket list, then a trip to Cook Island with Watersports Guru is for you. Just a short boat trip from the southern Gold Coast, Cook Island is perfect for divers and snorkelers of all experience levels. What’s more, it is the one place in Australia where you are guaranteed to see a range of species of turtles. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter dolphins or whales too. The tour is limited to nine people at a time to guarantee an intimate experience, so pre-book online.

2. Snap a selfie with Skippy

Ever since Taylor Swift famously snapped herself with a kangaroo, people have been flooding to

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to do the same. Kangaroos have been the perfect models thanks to their holding gaze and inquisitive nature. Not convinced? Check out #kangarooselfie.

3. Go surfing with dolphins

Catch a wave with the most beloved creatures of the ocean. Dolphins are often spotted dropping in on surfers, particularly when big swell hits the Gold Coast. Although not guaranteed, it makes for a pretty incredible story and we think that’s reason enough to get out on your board.

See more surfing with dolphins here: qthotelsandresorts.com

4. Watch Humpback whales

Each year, from June to November, around 20,000 humpback whales pass the iconic beaches of the Gold Coast along the Humpback Highway, bound for the warmer waters of North Queensland. There are some great onshore lookouts to admire these gentle giants from a distance. Or, if you’re seeking a more intimate encounter with the largest living mammals on Earth, board a vessel for a tour with any one of the Coast’s top operators.

5. Go birding

5. Go birding

Bird watching (‘birding’ to those in the know) is the latest obscure hobby to enjoy cult status. Fortunately for the Gold Coast, the nearby World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park is home to Australia’s largest collection of sub-tropical birds, making it a birder’s dream. A visit to Lamington by eagle-eyed naturalists could result in sighting of the rare Alberts Bowerbird which is not found anywhere else on earth, the Paradise Rifle, Rufous Scrubbird or even the Regent Bowerbird.

6. Get a bird's eye view of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital treats more than 8,000 sick, injured and orphaned wildlife patients every year, making it one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world. Visitors to the Sanctuary can get a bird’s eye view of the vets in action through the floor to ceiling windows.

See x-rays and ultrasounds and experience veterinary procedures taking place from a surgeon’s point of view by a camera mounted on the surgical light. Each admission into the park goes towards helping fund the not-for-profit animal hospital.

7. Become a Sea World Rescue Ranger

Rescue Rangers experience an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Sea World’s resident rescued animals. Get up close and personal with rescued seals, turtles and so much more, as you learn about the threats to marine life and what you can do to help protect them in the future.

8. Saddle up

8. Saddle up

Located in a 2,500 acre working cattle property in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland, Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails sees guests exploring the spectacular valley on horseback, stopping along the way for tea and damper, even offering a unique glamping experience by the Nerang River.

9. Get a glow on

9. Get a glow on

Only in Australia could a worm be spectacular enough to merit a special journey. Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park is nature at its absolute best and a great place to see the famous Australian glow worms. Located within Springbrook National Park, Natural Bridge makes for a brilliant day trip, but it’s after sunset that the natural rock formation really comes to life. Magical glow worms can be seen dotting the rock formation and on summer nights, luminous fireflies and fungi can also be seen.

10. Be a ranger for the day

Inspire the next generation of wildlife watchers enabling them to become a ranger for a day at Heritage-listed David Fleay Wildlife Park. The ‘Junior Rangers’ receive an access all areas pass, getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s amazing native wildlife, learning how to protect native animals and rolling up their sleeves to experience animal husbandry. The park plays an important role in demonstrating the conservation initiatives of David Fleay, who established the property in 1951.

 

 

Inspired to visit Australia's Gold Coast? Find out more about Corroboree West 2017 - Tourism Australia's mega familiarisation trip hosted by Destination Gold Coast and beyond.

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