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Janine Duffy
Echidna Walkabout Tours

One of the most surprising discoveries about Melbourne is that it is surrounded by breathtaking natural attractions and a litany of Australia's most fascinating creatures. Janine Duffy from Echidna Walkabout – Wildlife and Nature Tours is happy to give you the down-low on where to go.

Firstly, 'Melbourne and Victoria have the best wildlife scene in Australia, and one of the best in the world. We have all the icons: Kangaroos, koalas, wombats, platypus, echidnas, cockatoos, kookaburras, emus, penguins.' 

Janine's also keen to promote the lesser-known characters of the Aussie bush that can be found close to Melbourne, like the enigmatic lyrebird, the goanna/lace monitor, the enormous wedge-tailed eagle, grey-headed flying-foxes, plus 33 species of parrot and 143 species of butterfly.

It doesn't stop there, either. 'In the sea we have the blue whale, the largest creature that has ever lived, plus dolphins, seals, orcas, albatrosses, sea-dragons and sea-horses!'

Melbourne and Victoria are unique in being home to creatures of the tropical seas, Antarctic species, animals from the desert, and those from the cool rainforests. The state's compact size means you can see the diverse animals in their varied habitats in as little as half a day, and many can be seen in Melbourne's city centre or on an organised day trip.

Janine's favourite animals

Janine Duffy would like to introduce you to some very special local identities:

Echidna, Grampians, Victoria, Australia

Short-beaked echidnas

'Our company's mascot is a spiny creature with a pointy snout and beautiful big brown eyes. They look a little like hedgehogs at first, but the spines are thicker.'

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Kangaroos at Halls Gap, Grampians, Victoria, Australia

Kangaroos

'An experience not to be missed is sneaking up on a wild mob of kangaroos and watching the way mothers interact with their babies.'

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Koala, Kennet River, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Koalas

"The Koala is my soul-mate. They are cheeky and mischievous, and I love that! I've spent half my life researching koalas and I am more fascinated by them every day."

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Janine's wildlife hotspots

Janine Duffy spots wonderful wildlife as far afield as East Gippsland and Melbourne:

Mallacoota, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

East Gippsland

'Start at Orbost and go east to Mallacoota - you will be exploring Australia's richest wildlife region. East Gippsland has half Australia's birds and 60 per cent of Australia's large mammals, plus it's a tranquil, beautiful place with few people and lots of wilderness.'

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Koalas at Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne

'Within two hours you can see most of our famous Aussie creatures.'

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Tips from the experts

'There's something special about meeting a wild koala that has a name and has been researched since it was a baby in the You Yangs Regional Park,' Janine enthuses. It's also a joy to see wild brushtail possums in city parks, and to watch hundreds of rainbow lorikeets converge on their roost tree at sunset. The ultimate is 'sneaking up on a wild mob of kangaroos and watching the way mothers interact with their babies.'

According to Janine, the best way to see all this is to go out with her! 'Travelling with a wildlife specialist/naturalist guide is the best way to not only see the wildlife, but understand them and sometimes get close to them.'

Janine's biggest insider tip for discovering Melbourne's nature and wildlife is to buck the trend and come in winter.

'Winter is a great time to be here! It's not really cold, and our wildlife is more active in winter than in summer. Try to get up early and go for walks, wherever you are staying (even in the city). Most of our wildlife is crepuscular - dawn and dusk active - so you'll see more in the hours when everyone else is having breakfast or dinner!'

Finally, Janine insists that you 'take a sandwich anywhere you go! You don't want to stop looking at amazing wildlife just to eat!'

Wildlife Tours

Join Janine and her team of animal lovers on a wildlife spotting adventure:

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Koalas and kangaroos eco-tour

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Interact with koalas and kangaroos in their natural habitats on this full day, fully inclusive eco-tour led by an experienced wildlife guide.

Great Ocean Road. This wild mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos came hopping out of the Bush towards us, and stopped suddenly when they saw us.

Great Ocean Road

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

See Great Ocean Road wildlife in the wild with an experienced guide; staying in boutique accommodation in iconic spots like the Twelve Apostles.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Wildlife conservation journey

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Connect with nature on this four day, fully inclusive small group journey into the wildlife-rich forests of south-east Australia's coastal wilderness.

Photography on beautiful Mallacoota Beach

Croajingolong Journey

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Take your time to spot wildlife and explore the secret spots of this coastal wilderness, wandering along remote beaches and through gum-tree forests.

Tour Guide Graham Clarke, on the sand dunes at Mungo.

Mungo Outback Journey

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Travel expansive red dirt plains dotted with kangaroos and emus, and climb sand dunes and learn about Aboriginal culture in the Victorian outback.

Wildlife & zoos

Make some new furry friends

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