Wombats are another of Australia's unique wild animals, and we were desperate to see one almost as soon as we arrived in the country. They are not so easy to find as kangaroos, but if you know the right places to look you will find them.
They are generally very shy in the wild, apart from on Maria Island where they wander right up to you without a care in the world. Elsewhere, if you keep your distance you should have no trouble observing them for a while.
They tend to be easiest to spot at dawn or dusk, again apart from in Tasmania, where the cool weather means you can see them at any time of day.
Here are our top tips for the best places to find wombats in the wild.
Where to see wombats in the wild in Tasmania: Maria Island
It's not a case of if you will see wombats in Maria Island, it's a case of just how many! The cool Tassie temperatures make it an excellent place to see wombats as they even come out during the day.
We don't think there's anywhere in the whole country that is as wonderful as Maria Island to find wombats in the wild.
For the best wombat watching experience we would recommend staying overnight. You can camp or stay in the old penitentiary, which makes for a really atmospheric place to spend the night!
You will see wombats everywhere on the island, we stopped counting after we got to 50! We saw the majority around the penitentiary and camping ground but also saw many on the walking trails to Bishop and Clerk and the Painted Cliffs.
Prepare for cuteness overload, particularly when you see the mothers and joeys!
Getting there: The only way to get to Maria Island is by ferry from Triabunna. These run fairly regularly.
Where we stayed: On the island we stayed at the Penitentary, but you can also camp. We also stayed at Triabunna Cabin & Caravan Park in Triabunna. It was comfortable with a kitchen, but relatively basic and good value.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Cradle Mountain is our second best tip for finding wombats in the wild in Tasmania. There are many different places to see them in the area and, as with Maria Island, the cool temperatures meant we saw them in the day time, as well as the evening.
We saw the highest concentration of wombats on the very beginning of the Overland Track, on the board walk, just a few minutes walk from Ronny's Car Park. We saw five within five minutes on this track.
We also saw them around Dove Lake car park and on the drive back to the visitors centre. Maximum sightings were definitely by Ronny's car park though.
Getting there: Cradle Mountain is a 2 hour drive from Launceston and a 4 hour drive from Hobart.
Where we stayed: We loved Highlanders in Cradle Mountain. They provide really cosy rooms with a kitchen, roaring fire and privacy in the Aussie Bush. Perfect for any trip to Cradle Mountain.
Where to see wombats in the wild close to Sydney: Bundanoon, NSW
If you want to be almost guaranteed to see wombats in the wild then head to Bundanoon, around 2.5 hours drive from Sydney. It's a cute little town in the Southern Highlands, with plenty of walking and cycling trails.
We saw around ten wombats in the one weekend we were there. I am sure you can find them in lots of areas but we saw them every night on Garland Road.
There are so many wombats in this area that locals complain of them burrowing under the foundations of their houses!
You'll see plenty of wombat holes if you go out bushwalking in the area too.
While you're visiting you should also check out the glow worm dell. It's a wonderful experience because you can just go by yourself, no tour or entrance fee needed here. We decided to go at around 11.30pm hoping to have it all to ourselves and we weren't disappointed!
They light up the cliff side and it's a truly magical experience. We could walk from our B&B to the glow worm dell but if you are staying elsewhere you can park at the top of William Street and walk from there.
Getting there: Bundanoon is a 2 hour drive south of Sydney.
Where we stayed: The best place to stay is Yallambee Guest House and this may just be one of the best we've ever stayed in. The rooms are comfortable and nice, but the highlight is the incredible food. Bronwyn & David make incredible breakfasts and bake some of the best food we've ever tried. It is so good, we invited our friends in a neighbouring guesthouse to stay for breakfast and it was a highlight of Bundanoon!
Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Kangaroo Valley was the first place we saw a wombat in the wild, so it was extra special to us. There's every chance that driving around the area from late afternoon you'll spy one or two in the fields or in the bush along the roads.
However, your best chance to see them here would be at Bendeela campsite (Bendeela Road). Have a look around dusk or early in the morning and you should be very likely to see at least one, if not several gorgeous wombats.
Kangaroo Valley is only around 2-2.5 hours drive from Sydney and is one of our favourite weekend destinations.
Getting there: Kangaroo Valley is not far from Bundanoon and about 2-3 hours south of Sydney.
Where we stayed: Yallambee Guest house (read the section above for why). It may not be in Kangaroo Valley, but it is well worth staying in!
Sleepy Burrows, NSW
So this is a bonus option for you. If spotting all these wombats in the wild made you want to get even closer to these quirky characters, then Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary is the most wonderful opportunity to do so. All the wombats have been rescued from abuse, or car injuries etc and are being given a second chance at life.
This was a highlight of five years living in Australia for us. The sanctuary is run from Donna, the founders home, so you cannot just turn up, you must send an email to organise a suitable visit time first.
The experience was one we will never forget. Moments after we stepped through the door we were being head butted by an adorable little character called Basil, and the fun continued from there.
You will meet lots of joeys and if you're lucky have the opportunity to give them their milk. It's all about play time and you'll find they all have individual personalities and love in particular having their bottoms scratched!
There are also adult wombats which live outside, unfortunately on our visit it was almost monsoon style rain, so we didn't get to meet them. Hopefully next time!
The sanctuary receives no government funding and is run entirely by donations. You contribute $100 per person to visit, and know it all goes directly to the wombat care.
Where to see wombats in the wild in Victoria: Wilson's Promontory
We love The Prom (as it's affectionately known) and no trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia as well as excellent walking trails.
It's a great place to see many of Australia's iconic animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus and of course wombats. We saw them around Norman Beach, in the bush beside the walking trail. Tidal river camp ground is also an excellent spot, and we've heard of campers seeing vast numbers in one evening there.
Getting there: Wilson's Prom is a 3 hour drive from Melbourne
Where we stayed: Promhill Cabins is a no-frills choice, that's really good value. It is clean and has a kitchen to cook your own food. However, it is a little distance from the middle of the National Park, but is still a decent option.
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