Quokkas earn recognition in Australia


United Kingdom Google search data revealed Top 10 most popular animals Down Under.


Photo: Hideaki/Adobe Stock

A quokka is seen on Rottnest Island near Perth, Australia.

Given Australia’s vast and unique biodiversity, Audley Travel—a tour operator based in the United Kingdom—set out to discover which Australian animals are most popular among travelers. To do this, Audley analyzed United Kingdom Google search data and unveiled the 10 endemic wildlife species most sought after for encounters in Australia.1 These results ranged from the iconic koala to the enigmatic Tasmanian devil. However, quokkas emerged as the winners.

Explaining the allure of quokkas in a news release, Tom Pegram, an Australia senior specialist at Audley, noted their charm. “Quokkas are always popular with visitors to Australia as their facial expression often resembles a grin and their inquisitive nature makes them engaging to watch—and easy to photograph. They're no bigger than a housecat, and their petite size adds to their adorableness."1

Quokkas can be found in the southwestern region of Australia, with Rottnest Island set off the coast of Perth. Pegram has recommended the area as one of the best locations to find them. “You'll see them in their natural habitat here, scurrying about or snoozing in the shade—while quokkas are nocturnal by nature, the lack of predators on Rottnest Island means they're out and about more in the daytime,” he said in the release.1

Koalas, who are commonly associated with Australian wildlife, came in 2nd place for popularity in the investigation. However, Pegram advised against encounter activities such as koala cuddling, emphasizing the importance of taking their welfare into account. "With their doe-like eyes and fluffy ears, koalas never fail to make me smile when I see them," Pegram said. "We advise against any experiences that involve hugging koalas, which can be detrimental to their welfare. Instead, head to Kangaroo Island in South Australia to see them behave naturally in the wild."

Claiming 5th place on the list, kangaroos can also be observed at the titular island.1 Meanwhile, wombats ranked 3rd in UK Google searches. These marsupials are celebrated for their swiftness, almost rivaling the speed of Usain Bolt, an 8-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter who is regarded by many as the greatest sprinter in history.1,2

“As wombats are primarily nocturnal, one of the best ways to see them is first thing in the morning, when they're sleepy and moving at a slower pace," explained Pegram. "Stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge on Tasmania and you might get a chance to see one wandering the trails at the crack of dawn while you head down for breakfast."

The complete list of the top 10 Australian wildlife relative to United Kingdom Google searches is as follows1:

  1. Quokka
  2. Koala
  3. Wombat
  4. Platypus
  5. Kangaroo
  6. Tasmanian Devil
  7. Emu
  8. Cassowary
  9. Echidna
  10. Wallaby

Australia’s biodiversity

According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Australia is a pivotal player in global biodiversity, recognized as one of the planet's most significant nations in this regard, making conservation efforts important. It is part of a small subset comprising only 17 'megadiverse' nations and hosts a greater diversity of species than any other developed country. As mentioned by the AWC, 87% of its mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs, and 45% of its bird species are home exclusively to Australia, emphasizing the unique and irreplaceable nature of its biodiversity.3


  1. New research from Audley Travel experts reveals quokka are the most popular Australian animal. News release. Audley Travel. May 30, 2024. Accessed May 30, 2024. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-from-audley-travel-experts-reveals-quokka-are-the-most-popular-australian-animal-302159258.html
  2. Usain Bolt. International Olympic Commmittee. Accessed May 30, 2024. https://olympics.com/en/athletes/usain-bolt
  3. Wildlife. Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Accessed May 30, 2024. https://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/#:~:text=Most%20of%20Australia's%20wildlife%20is,are%20found%20only%20in%20Australia.
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