Good resources for the biodiversity of eastern australia?

sorry if this isn’t the best place for asking, but i don’t know as many australian naturalists so i don’t know who i would ask privately lol.

at the end of july i’ll be visiting australia for the first time! i live in the united states, which is quite the distance away. i am beyond excited to see some of the awesome biodiversity of australia, especially because precious few of even the common animals can be found here in the states. the problem is, i’m not super familiar with the species i might see, and i would love to know at least a bit about them!

i know the most iconic species (eg. a koala, everyone knows what a koala looks like) of course and i am vaguely familiar with some of the reptiles because everyone that spends any time learning about reptiles will encounter information about australian species (y’all have some of the coolest!) but overall i am much more familiar with american species.

i’ll be along the east coast for most of the time (sydney, brisbane, townsville, paluma) and then a few days in aukland, new zealand. are there any books/etc that i could look at that might help me learn more about the species i might encounter? i am most interested in animals but i find many types of life interesting.

some nature-focused highlights of the trip include hiking in the wet tropics of queensland and snorkeling at the great barrier reef, if anyone has some favorite things i might see there!

i’m not looking to make myself an expert in a month, just wondering if any of y’all could guide me to resources with good information (or just have overall tips for travelling… i’ve never been on a trip like this!) so that i can be better prepared for the things i might see while exploring :)


Why not start with explore search on iNat with chosen month to see species with the biggest probability of sighting?


As someone who has spent my whole life on the east coast of Australia, I was going to suggest pretty much what Marina did. Do an “Explore” for each area you will be visiting, for the time of year, and see what other people have observed.

Don’t get your hopes up of seeing a wild koala. It took me over 40 years to see one in the wild. Visit a wildlife park. Also, don’t forget July is winter here, so you might not see lots of reptiles (this doesn’t apply in the tropics, of course).

It sounds like a great trip! Don’t forget to look the opposite way for traffic when crossing the road.


that’s a good idea, no idea why i didn’t think of that myself! i will definitely go do that :)

i didn’t think i would see one, it was just an example of an australian creature everyone knows. if i walk past one somehow i will take a picture for you lol

the winter/summer swap definitely threw me for a loop when i first started looking into the trip! luckily y’all’s winters (in the areas i’ll be going, at least) are nice and mild. it’s been a lovely (sarcasm) 95-100f/35-38c for a bit here, so i’ll be glad for the cooler weather! you’re unfortunately right that less reptiles will be out, but i’m hoping i still see a few—even very common species will be cool because they will be new for me :)

thank you!

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I’ll look forward to seeing your “beginner’s luck” koala observations!


@snake_smeuse feel free to send me a message and I can tell you places to visit, people to contact etc. Depending on when you’re in Sydney I’d be happy to take you on a bushwalk.


Hmmm… since Eucalyptus is invasive in California, how about koalas for biocontrol?

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Try the Atlas of Living Australia.

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They are a bit picky about which species they will eat. I don’t know if you have the right species there!

The main invasive species of eucalypt in the California is Eucalyptus globulus, a species that koalas are quite fond of. This why the Los Angeles zoo was the first one outside of Australia to display koalas. They already had well established feed trees

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Welcome to my country! If you are in Queensland, I would suggest going a little bit further west to the large Canarvon National Park. Spectacular scenery with sandstone cliffs and gorges, abundant wildlife and some important indigenous Australian rock art sites. Bring a jacket, the altitude makes it cool in winter even though it is close to the tropic of Capricorn. Also Fraser Island (K’gari) is quite accessible from Maryborough or Bundaberg. Gets a lot of visitors but is worth a look. The World’s largest sand island has spectacular lakes and forests and you are practically guaranteed of seeing dingoes in the wild. Lots of tour companies will take you there for a day trip or longer.

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thank you for the offer! for this first trip i’m going with a group because planning it by myself seemed so overwhelming but i definitely plan on returning to australia at some point, and that time i will plan the events myself because i’ll understand the process a little more. maybe i’ll take you up on your offer then :)

great idea, i’ll be sure to put a few koalas in my bag for the plane ride out. i’m sure customs won’t mind just a few

wonderful, thank you!

thank you so much for the tips, i will definitely keep them in mind for future trips to australia :) we’ve got lots of fun stuff planned for this trip but when i go again sometime in the future i’d love to make it more nature-focused and perhaps go further west

Shame you’re not coming further South, I’d be happy to show you around my area.

As for koalas, our place is full of them :)

By the way, with the reptiles, the further North you go at this time of year the better your chances.

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thank you, good to know!

@vireya beginner’s luck koalas (aka i went somewhere w a lot of koalas lol) as requested!


Oh, wow! Well done!

I hope you are having a great time on your trip.


:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: Are they wild?

yes! i saw four koalas (one of them was a baby with its mother but it poked its head out). i also saw at least two platypuses which i think are more impressive but the koalas were easier to watch because they don’t do much of anything lol


:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth: So cool to see in the wild such iconic animals!

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Platypuses! I have never seen a wild one. I once saw “something” plop into a river just as I looked that way, which I like to think was a platypus. But that’s the closest I’ve come.