Where to find Australia's best loved animals on the Central Coast

two tourists amongst free ranging kangaroo and wallaby
two tourists amongst free ranging kangaroo and wallaby
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, Calga
Koalas - Kangaroos - Wallabies - Emus - Wombats - Possums - Kookaburras - Blue Tongue Lizards - Goannas

This isn’t your usual tourist attraction! Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is a working wildlife sanctuary run by a passionate team who believe conservation is best achieved through education, and they are currently pursuing official ECO Certification with Ecotourism Australia.

Make sure you join one of the many informative talks or tours included in your entry fee to learn not only about the wild animals living among the 180 acres of natural bushland, but also to learn about the historic and powerful and protected sacred Aboriginal Sites nearby, including sandstone engravings dated over 4,000 years old.

All of the animals living at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park are either rescued, endangered, orphaned, unreleasable, disabled, retired or generally vulnerable. This Heritage Listed bushland at Calga is a safe place for the hundreds of resident animals and, as the sanctuary is privately owned, they receive no funding and rely solely on sponsors, donations and volunteers to continue their work of conservation and education.

The free roaming Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Wallabies and even Emus will make your visit a day to remember as the animals wander around the surrounding scrub and meet you calmly as you explore the walking trails. They’d love to share your lunch with you, but the BYO picnic areas are smartly located in a fenced off area, that you only need to share with guinea pigs and rabbits! 

Bring the whole family to this rustic Aussie bush experience! You’ll leave with your camera roll and memory bank filled to the brim.

Location: 1 Darkinjung Road, cnr Peats Ridge Road, Calga, NSW 2250, Australia

two tourists with ranger among free range roos in bush setting
Credit: James Horan
two tourists with free range emu n bush setting
Credit: James Horan
Terrigal Ocean Tours (ECO Certified), Terrigal
Humpback Whales - Common Dolphins - Bottlenose Dolphins - Seals - Penguins - Birds

There's no better feeling than seeing the world’s largest mammal in their natural habitat. And there is no better way to experience this than with Terrigal Ocean Tours, an ECO Certified marine tour business based on the NSW Central Coast. 

Their one-of-a-kind, eco-conscious boat trips are designed to educate locals and visitors on the beautiful ocean and its inhabitants, with sustainable marine conservation at the forefront of everything they do.

Get the best views possible of migrating whales, pods of dolphins and even colonies of seals, all while knowing you are keeping a safe distance and are not interfering with the wildlife in any negative way.

Trips are available from May to November, with paths of Broken Bay and Hardy’s Bay to join the migration, also known locally as Humpback Highway

Terrigal Ocean Tours is a family-run business and ECO Certified with Ecotourism Australia, with the aim of making a positive impact to local tourism. No visit to the Central Coast is complete without a boat tour with Skipper Andrew and his passionate team. Our fingers are crossed that you’ll witness a breaching Humpback!

Location: Terrigal Boat Ramp, Terrigal NSW, 2260, Australia

whale tail breaching
Credit: Isaac Tseng
whale tail breaching with boat tourists taking photos from afar
Credit: Isaac Tseng
Australian Reptile Park, Somersby
Koalas - Kangaroos - Wallabies - Dingoes - Quokkas - Echidnas - Tasmanian Devils - Crocodiles - Wombats - Snakes - Spiders - Platypus - Kookaburras - Cockatoos - Cassowary

The multi-award winning Australian Reptile Park was first opened in 1958 by Eric Worrell, the Steve Irwin equivalent for New South Wales. After one relocation in 1996, a devastating fire in 2000, and being the birthplace of Australia’s first ‘big thing’ on the map - Ploddy the Dinosaur - the Reptile Park has countless stories to tell. But what stories will you leave with?

The deafening snap of Elvis the crocodile, a local icon, during one of his daily live feeds..

Or what you learn from Ranger Mick and his 30+ years’ experience of working at the Australian Reptile Park...

Or the infinite anecdotes of 73 year old Hugo the Galapagos tortoise, who’s still in his prime...

Or how you got up close and personal with an Inland Taipan, the most venomous snake in the world!

Remarkably, the Australian Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia committed to saving lives with a venom milking program in place for the past 50+ years, saving over 300 lives each year as the sole supplier of a variety of venoms, which is used for all snake and Funnel-web anti-venom in Australia!

Encapsulated within a natural bush setting across an impressive 22 acres, the Australian Reptile Park is filled with more than 40 species of native and exotic reptiles, plus a legion of mammals, amphibians, spiders and birds. They are also passionate about their conservation work and are currently pursuing ECO Certification with Ecotourism Australia, and are a 2023 Gold Winning Major Tourist Attraction in the NSW Tourism Awards! No matter your age, you’ll have the time of your life here in Somersby, just minutes off the M1.

Location: Pacific Hwy, Somersby NSW, 2250, Australia

ranger milking snake for antivenom
Tim Faulkner with a baby reptile.
Credit: James Horan
ranger patting giant galapagos tortoise called Huge
Tim Faulkner with Hugo, the boss
Credit: James Horan
ranger feeding lorrikeets
Credit: James Horan
More local eco-friendly experiences
Pelicans - Alpacas - Llamas - Port Jackson Sharks - Sealife

If you’d like to learn more about the variety of wildlife we have here on the Central Coast, you can explore more animal encounters by booking some of local eco-friendly experiences with:

  • Pelican Time at The Entrance to meet these iconic coastal birds with a trained wildlife rescuer - cost is free
  • Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (ECO Certified experience) to see Dave the Port Jackson shark and hundreds of marine artefacts.
  • Iris Lodge Alpacas (ECO Certified experience) to have breakfast with friendly farmlife surrounded by native birds on a sustainable farm.


This article was originally authored in collaboration with A World Unfiltered and the Destination Central Coast team, as part of growing the region's Ecotourism community. To maintain accuracy, some editorial changes may have been made since publication.