Travelling with children in Australia is very easy and an absolute joy. One of the highlights for my daughters has been the opportunity to get up close with the local fauna, both with farm animals and with wildlife so different from what we have in Europe.

Leaving the more alarming ones aside for now, here are a few of the more affable species of Australian wildlife.

kids and animals in Australia

Alex found a connection with this gorgeous little koala bear first time we were in New South Wales

Kids and animals in Australia

Everywhere in Australia, kangaroos abound – and some don’t mind being petted. But some tire of the constant attention. In Steve Irwin’s wonderful Australia Zoo, a grumpy roo pushed Cat away and left her with a scratch mark on her forehead.

How many toddlers – outside of Australia – can add a Skippy scratch to their CV?

This pretty girl was not the culprit!

In Victoria, in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne, these crimson rosella parrots were practically tame.

And back in New South Wales, this beauty named Pippa lives in Bateman’s Bay. Alex has all kinds of animal allergies, but not to wombats she was glad to note.

I think the spiny anteater – more correctly known as an echidna – is charming in its own way, but best kept at a certain distance perhaps.

On Phillip Island (also in Victoria), fairy penguins come out of the ocean and walk up to their nests on shore every night as they have for thousands of years. A tourist attraction very much worth seeing. Photography is not allowed as the flash disturbs the little ones and tourists can’t seem to control their cameras.

Have you had close encounters with Australian wildlife?