people swimming with whale shark in the ocean

Top 10 Wildlife Tours Reviewed: Discover the Wild Side of Western Australia

As a proud resident of Western Australia, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the breathtaking beauty and diversity of our wildlife. From the white sandy beaches where you can spot playful dolphins to the vast, rugged outback, home to emus, WA is a treasure trove for nature lovers. My family and I have enjoyed countless adventures across this magnificent state, and I want to share these experiences with you.

Drawing from my adventures and thorough research, I’ve curated a guide to the best wildlife tours in WA. These aren’t just any tours; they’re journeys that respect and celebrate the natural habitats of our animal friends.

This post may contain affiliate links (of companies I book through). This means I may receive a small commission if you book through them. You can read the disclaimer for more information.

my picks
close up of australian sealion on interaction tour in jurien bay

Wildlife Tours Western Australia

Short for time? Head straight to our booking page to view recommended tours with prices & availability.

I’ve handpicked a selection of wildlife tours that stand out for their breathtaking encounters and their commitment to conservation and ethical practices. Each of these tours offers a unique window into the lives of WA’s most fascinating creatures, promising memories that you’ll carry long after your journey ends. Here are my top recommendations for wildlife tours across this stunning state:

1. Ningaloo Reef Marine Safari, Exmouth

What You’ll See: Swimming alongside the gentle giants of the sea, the whale sharks, is an experience that words can barely do justice. The Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage site, is also home to manta rays, turtles, and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish.

Duration and Best Time to Go: These tours run from March to July, aligning with the whale shark migration in Exmouth. Plan to spend a whole day at sea to soak in the vast beauty of Ningaloo.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Beyond the thrill of swimming with whale sharks, the tour operators are deeply committed to the preservation of these magnificent creatures and the reef itself. The respect for marine life is palpable, making it an ethically rewarding experience.

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whale shark close up

2. Rottnest Island

What You’ll See: The adorable quokka, often dubbed “the world’s happiest animal,” is the star of this island. Rottnest Island’s scenic beauty and relaxed atmosphere complement your quest to snap a selfie with these friendly creatures.

Duration and Best Time to Go: Spring and autumn offer the most pleasant weather for exploration. Summer is best for snorkelling.

What Makes This Tour Unique: It’s a rare opportunity to get up close with quokkas in their natural habitat.

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close up of quokka smiling perth

3. Kimberley Wilderness Adventures

What You’ll See: The Kimberley region offers an awe-inspiring backdrop for spotting crocodiles, birdlife, and unique flora. The ancient landscapes, including gorges and waterfalls, add to the dramatic wildlife encounters.

Duration and Best Time to Go: Opt for a multi-day tour during the dry season (May to October) for the best access to remote areas and comfortable travel conditions.

What Makes This Tour Unique: The Kimberley is one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth. This tour offers a deep dive into its cultural history, guided by those who know it best, including Aboriginal guides sharing ancient stories and knowledge.

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4. Mandurah Dolphin and Scenic Canal Cruise

What You’ll See: Mandurah’s waterways are bustling with playful dolphins, and this cruise offers a front-row seat to these enchanting creatures in their natural habitat. Gliding through the scenic canals and estuaries, you’ll also enjoy views of luxurious waterfront homes and diverse birdlife.

Duration and Best Time to Go: The cruises are generally 1-2 hours long, making for a perfect half-day outing. Dolphin sightings are frequent year-round, but the warmer months (October to March) tend to offer more active dolphin behaviour and pleasant cruising weather.

What Makes This Tour Unique: The Mandurah Dolphin Cruise isn’t just about spotting dolphins. It’s a serene journey through the waterways of one of Western Australia’s most charming coastal towns. The experience is peaceful and exhilarating, as the dolphins often come close to the boats, showing off their playful nature. Plus, the cruise offers insightful commentary on the area’s ecology and history, enriching your understanding of Mandurah’s natural and cultural heritage.

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a boat called dancing dolphin cruising through the water

5. Bremer Bay Orca Experience

What You’ll See: The Bremer Bay Orca Experience is a breathtaking adventure into the pristine waters off the southern coast of Western Australia, where you’ll have the chance to witness the awe-inspiring orca, also known as killer whales, in their natural environment. This region is a renowned hotspot for orca activity, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe these majestic creatures as they hunt, socialise, and navigate the deep blue.

Duration and Best Time to Go: This tour is highly seasonal, operating from January to April, peak season for orca sightings in the Bremer Canyon. It’s a full-day expedition, starting early in the morning to maximise your time on the water and the chance of encounters.

What Makes This Tour Unique: The Bremer Bay Orca Experience is more than just a wildlife tour; it’s an immersive journey into the world of one of the ocean’s most formidable predators. The Bremer Canyon hosts abundant marine life drawn by the deep-sea canyons’ nutrient-rich upwellings. Alongside orcas, you’re likely to spot sperm whales, pilot whales, and a variety of seabirds, making every trip an unpredictable and thrilling ecological discovery.

What sets this tour apart is the commitment to research and conservation. Many operators collaborate with marine scientists, contributing valuable data and insights to support the understanding and protection of orcas and their habitat. Guests leave with memories of breathtaking encounters and a deeper appreciation for the importance of marine conservation. Read my full Bremer Bay Orca Cruise Review for more information.

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close up of a wild orca near bremer bay on a whale watching tour

6. Swim with Dolphins in Rockingham

What You’ll See: The pristine waters of Rockingham serve as a backdrop for one of the most intimate wildlife encounters you can experience – swimming with wild dolphins. These friendly and curious creatures often approach swimmers, offering a magical and unforgettable experience.

Duration and Best Time to Go: Half-day tours are available, with the warmer months (October to March) providing the most comfortable water temperatures for swimming.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Swimming with dolphins in Rockingham is an ethical and respectful way to interact with these intelligent marine mammals. The tour operators are committed to the well-being of the dolphins, ensuring that interactions are on the animals’ terms. This responsible approach allows for genuine connections between humans and dolphins, fostering a deeper appreciation for marine life and the importance of ocean conservation.

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7. Snorkel with Sea Lions in Jurien Bay

What You’ll See: Jurien Bay’s turquoise waters are home to the Australian sea lion, one of the most playful marine creatures. These ‘puppies of the sea’ are known for their curious and sociable nature, often approaching snorkelers for a closer look or a playful swim.

Duration and Best Time to Go: This half-day tour operates year-round, with the best weather conditions, typically from October to April.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Snorkelling with sea lions in Jurien Bay is a heartwarming, joy-filled adventure that brings you face-to-face with these endearing animals. The tour offers a magical experience and contributes to the awareness and conservation of Australian sea lions, highlighting the importance of protecting these unique creatures and their habitat.

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australian sealion in the ocean

8. Manta Ray Snorkelling Adventure in Coral Bay

What You’ll See: The pristine waters of Coral Bay serve as a backdrop for an unforgettable encounter with the gentle giants of the sea, the manta rays. These graceful creatures, with wingspans of up to 7 meters, glide elegantly through the water, often close to snorkelers. The clear, calm waters also offer a chance to see a variety of other marine life, including turtles, reef sharks, and an array of colourful fish.

Duration and Best Time to Go: This half-day tour is available year-round, thanks to Coral Bay’s favourable weather and water conditions. Manta rays are seen throughout the year, but the peak season for sightings is from May to November.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Snorkelling with manta rays in Coral Bay is not just an adventure; it’s an educational experience that brings you into the world of these majestic sea creatures without disturbing their natural behaviours. The tours are led by experienced guides who provide fascinating insights into the biology and conservation of manta rays. Using respectful snorkelling practices ensures the protection of the marine environment, making it a sustainable way to enjoy one of nature’s most incredible experiences.

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close up of large manta ray in the ocean with a white belly

9. Whale Watching in the South West

What You’ll See: The south west of Western Australia is a prime location for whale watching, with humpback whales, southern right whales, and occasionally blue whales spotted in these waters.

Duration and Best Time to Go: The whale watching season in the south west runs from June to early December, with peak sightings typically between August and November. This period aligns with the whales’ migration patterns as they travel to warmer waters to breed and give birth.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Many South West whale watching tours are led by marine experts who share fascinating insights into the lives of these whales, enhancing the experience with their knowledge. Additionally, the commitment to minimal environmental impact and the promotion of whale conservation make this an eco-friendly adventure.

See Tours Here

aerial view of whale on a whale watch tour in south west wa

10. Whale Watching in Broome

What You’ll See: Broome’s whale-watching tours offer a unique opportunity to witness the majestic humpback whales on their annual migration along the Kimberley coast. These gentle giants are known for their spectacular breaches, tail slaps, and intimate moments shared between mothers and their calves. The pristine waters off Broome provide a stunning backdrop for these encounters, making every sighting a breathtaking experience.

Duration and Best Time to Go: The whale-watching season in Broome runs from July to September, capturing peak migration period for the humpback whales. This is when they travel from the cold southern oceans to the warmer northern waters to breed and give birth, ensuring almost guaranteed sightings during these months.

What Makes This Tour Unique: Broome’s whale watching tours stand out for their intimate and respectful approach to wildlife viewing. Operating in small groups, these tours ensure a personal and unobtrusive experience, allowing closer encounters with the whales. The knowledgeable guides provide insightful commentary on the behaviour and conservation of these magnificent creatures, enriching the experience. Plus, the stunning sunsets of Broome offer a magical backdrop to afternoon tours, combining natural wonders with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Kimberley coast.

people on a catamaran on broome whale watching cruise western australia

Tips for Responsible Wildlife Tourism

Taking wildlife tours in Western Australia or anywhere in the world carries a responsibility. As visitors to these incredible creatures’ natural habitats, we must approach our adventures with respect and mindfulness. Here are some tips to ensure your wildlife tourism experiences are both enriching and responsible:

1. Choose Ethical Tour Operators: Research and select tour operators prioritising conservation and ethical practices. Look for those with strong sustainability policies, support local conservation efforts, and are recognised by environmental organisations. An ethical tour operator will always put the welfare of wildlife and the environment above the desire for close encounters.

2. Keep a Respectful Distance: Always maintain a safe and respectful distance from wildlife. Encroaching too close can stress animals, alter their natural behaviours, and in some cases, provoke them. Use zoom lenses for photography instead of getting too close, and follow the guidelines set by your tour guide.

3. Minimise Environmental Impact: Stick to designated paths and areas to avoid damaging natural habitats. Dispose of trash properly and use eco-friendly sunscreen and insect repellents to prevent water contamination. Every small action counts towards preserving these environments for future generations.

4. No Feeding or Touching Wildlife: Feeding or attempting to touch wild animals can harm their health, behaviour, and survival. It can make them dependent on human interaction for food or make them less wary of potential predators, including humans.

5. Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the wildlife and ecosystems you’ll be visiting. Understanding the challenges they face, such as habitat loss and climate change, can deepen your appreciation and compel you to advocate for conservation efforts. Share your knowledge and experiences with others to spread awareness.

6. Support Conservation Initiatives: Many wildlife tours contribute to conservation projects or research initiatives. By choosing these tours, you’re witnessing the beauty of nature and directly supporting efforts to protect it. Consider donating to local conservation organisations or participating in volunteer opportunities during your travels.

7. Be Patient and Keep Expectations Realistic: Wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed. Animals are unpredictable and will move freely in their natural habitats. Approach each tour with patience and respect for nature’s unpredictability. The experience of being in these wild places, regardless of what you see, is a privilege in itself.

Responsible wildlife tourism is about creating a balance between our desire to explore and the need to preserve the natural world. By following these guidelines, we contribute to the sustainability of wildlife tourism and ensure that future generations can also experience the wonder of encountering the natural world.

loggerhead turtle swimming in the ocean

Planning Your Wildlife Adventure in WA

With its diverse landscapes, ranging from pristine beaches and coral reefs to rugged outback terrain, WA offers many opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. Here’s a guide to help you plan your ultimate wildlife adventure in this stunning part of Australia:

1. Research and Plan Ahead: Start by identifying the types of wildlife experiences you’re interested in. Whether it’s swimming with dolphins, watching whales, or exploring national parks, each activity has a best time of year to visit. Planning ahead ensures you don’t miss out on these seasonal opportunities.

2. Book Tours in Advance: Popular wildlife tours can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. Once you’ve decided on your must-do experiences, book your tours well in advance. This not only secures your spot but also helps in planning the rest of your trip around these dates.

3. Consider Your Impact: Choose eco-friendly accommodations and tour operators that practice sustainable tourism. Staying at eco-lodges or campsites that prioritise environmental conservation can enhance your experience and reduce your footprint.

4. Pack Appropriately: The diverse environments in WA require thoughtful packing. Include sun protection, eco-friendly insect repellent, and appropriate gear for water-based activities. If you’re venturing into the outback or remote areas, ensure you have sufficient supplies and a way to communicate in case of emergency.

5. Respect Local Guidelines: Familiarise yourself with local regulations and cultural norms, especially when visiting protected areas or indigenous lands. This respect for local practices not only enriches your travel experience but also supports community efforts to preserve their heritage and natural resources.

6. Stay Flexible: While planning is essential, staying flexible allows you to make the most of unexpected opportunities or changes due to weather and wildlife movements. Sometimes, the most memorable experiences come from spontaneous decisions to explore a new area or join a last-minute tour.

7. Engage with Local Communities: Take the time to engage with local guides and communities. Their insights and stories add depth to your adventure, providing a richer understanding of the wildlife and landscapes you’re experiencing.

8. Document Responsibly: While capturing photos and videos, remember to do so in a way that doesn’t disturb the wildlife or their habitats. Sharing your experiences can inspire others, but always promote responsible and respectful wildlife tourism practices.

Conclusion

From the enchanting encounters with dolphins in Rockingham to the awe-inspiring sight of humpback whales off the coast of Broome, each adventure provides a window into the incredible diversity of life that calls WA home.

our pick
view from the Taste of the Bays Cruise luxury boat with lunch set out and views of the stunning sandy coastline of geographe bay

Taste of the Bays Cruise

Rating: 5/5⭐️

Tour Length: 4 hours

Enjoy an all-inclusive afternoon and sunset cruise with a half-day, progressive dining experience.

Enjoy complimentary premium drinks as you indulge in an exquisite 7-course meal crafted by a private onboard chef. 

To see all the inclusions, clink the link below to take you direct to South West Cruises website.

calm bay with turquoise ocean and sandy beach with sun shimmering on the water
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