Seeing Great Ocean Road wildlife in June July and August.

Australia is a dry country, and rain is brief and light. Often the ‘rainy season’ is the best time to see Australian wildlife.

Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road tends to have rain during June, July, August & September. It is a fantastic time to travel – the land is humming with life. Most of our wildlife is adapted to dry conditions, so when the good times come (ie. rain) they celebrate!

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Emus are dry country birds, but they love a drink and a bath when it rains! We see wild Emus on the first day of the Great Ocean Road tour.

great ocean road emus drinking in rainy season

Two adult Emus having a drink. Pic by Wildlife Guide Brett Howell

great ocean road emu chicks hatch june july august

Just hatched Emu chicks. Pic by Wildlife Guide Michael Williams

Australian winter: June, July, August & September are the time when Emus have their chicks. They are quite different to the adults – striped, fluffy and very cute.

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Many birds love a bath and will make the most of even tiny puddles on the road. Clean feathers are warm, aerodynamic and pretty feathers – which is important for a bird that needs to fly and impress its mate.

white-winged chough bathing in puddle great ocean road tour

A White-winged Chough bathes in a puddle at Serendip Wetlands. Pic by Wildlife Guide Kirby Leary

great ocean road birds after a bath

White-winged Choughs shaking & preening after a shower. Pic by Wildlife Guide Janine Duffy

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Good rainfall also brings out the wetland birds. We pass many important wetland areas on the Great Ocean Road tour – and when flooded, these are full of life. Spoonbills, ibis, egrets, ducks and swans flock to the rich food on the floodplains of the Gellibrand*, Aire and Curdies Rivers.

*The Princetown Wetlands – Gellibrand Estuary are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia, and home to several significant bird species.

great ocean road birdlife in june july august

Yellow-billed & Royal Spoonbills, Australian White Ibis on the Gellibrand River floodplain. Pic by Wildlife Guide Scott Roberts

Musk Duck great ocean road birds seen june july august

Male Musk Duck. Pic by Wildlife Guide Brett Howell

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Koalas also love to drink – but they don’t stretch down to drink from a waterhole, they lick the trunk of a tree as the rain falls down. Koalas don’t seem to mind the rain, and will simply curl over into a fluffy ball and let the rain slide off their thick, waterproof fur.

Read the details (and see video) of how koalas drink here.

great ocean road koala drinking by licking tree

Female koala KiKi drinking by licking the tree trunk. Pic by Wildlife Guide Janine Duffy

great ocean road wet koala

Even though it rained a bit, this koala’s fur doesn’t seem too saturated! Pic by Wildlife Guide Dan Aston

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Swamp Wallabies love to drink when its been hot and dry. They will even get right into the water, and if the water is deep enough, they are very capable swimmers.

Watch the video and read about how wallabies swim near the Great Ocean Road here.

 

great ocean road wallaby in waterhole

A Swamp Wallaby in a billabong. Pic by Wildlife Guide Martin Maderthaner

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If you are planning to travel to Australia in June, July, August & September don’t be put off by the rainy season. The Australian definition of rain is quite different to many places overseas! Most of our ‘rain’ is showers of 20 minutes or less, and daily totals rarely exceed 10mm.

Rain brings out the best in Great Ocean Road wildlife, and ensures its survival.  The Great Ocean Road tour is 3 days, and runs every Tuesday and Friday, all year round.

Emu chicks love the rain!

Emu chicks enjoying a bath! Pic by Wildlife Guide Michael Williams

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NOTES & REFERENCES:

Gellibrand River Estuary on EstuaryWatch.org : http://www.estuarywatch.org.au/estuary/ccma/50

Learn about the Gellibrand River Estuary in this well-presented document: http://www.ccma.vic.gov.au/admin/file/content2/c7/GELLIBRAND%20RIVER%20ESTUARY%20MANAGEMENT%20PLAN.pdf

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