Australia and New Zealand are both on my bucket list of places that I absolutely must visit before I die. New Zealand has always been more about the amazing mountainous spaces and the whole fact that Lord of the Rings was filmed there. But New Zealand is home to some amazingly interesting creatures that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Australia was always on my bucket list specifically because of the animals. Even though Australia is home to some of the deadliest creatures in the whole world, they also have some of the cutest. And these cute animals happen to be something that you can only find in Australia, which is quite unfair. They seem to be hogging the number of cute animals. Should they be spread out across the world a little more and give some of us on the opposite side of the world a chance to see them without having to travel so far? Although I suppose that the super cute animals balance out the super deadly ones...okay, maybe it is fair.
So get ready for a list that is going to make you want to start booking flights right now so that you can head to these countries and see all of these wonderful native animals. Also, fun fact: I could not get an Australian accent out of my head the entire time I was writing this, so throw a shrimp on the barbie with me and head through this list.
30 new zealand - Yellow-eyed penguin
This species of penguin is actually one of the rarest in the entire world, and they are native to New Zealand only. The yellow-eyed penguin has actually seen a pretty drastic decrease in their numbers lately due entirely to the fact that humans have been disrupting their habitats. So even though it’s super cool that they are super rare and penguins, in general, are adorbs, so of course we want to see them, just let these yellow-eyed cuties live peacefully and leave them and their homes alone.
29 australia - Western Quoll
These adorable creatures actually look like adorable little sweethearts but are actually carnivorous and eat anything that is tinier. The most prominent feature of the Quoll is the spots on its coat, which basically makes it look like a squirrel and Bambi mixed together. The spots actually help them when they're hunting in the moonlight to help keep them invisible...or at least as invisible as you can get when you're hunting outside for tiny creatures.
28 new zealand - Lesser Short-tailed Bat
Bats are especially interesting in New Zealand because they are the only mammal in New Zealand that are actually native to there. So any other mammal that inhabits New Zealand was at one point or another throughout history brought over there to be bred and kept there. So just think about being the one to discover New Zealand—this beautiful mountainous place filled with bats and no other cute mammals. Well, at least someone saw the potential and decided to inhabit it.
27 australia - Koala
Koalas look cute and cuddly, like an adorable stuffed animal that you sleep with and pretend that you totally don't sleep with when your friends come over. You prop it on a shelf or the bed like it's art. Koalas not only look cute, but they smell good because they eat so much Eucalypti that they end up smelling like it. Like me and Cheetos when I spend a Saturday watching Netflix and end up sweating Cheetos and ice cream out of my pores.
26 new zealand - Tui
The tui is one of the more common species of birds in New Zealand and can be found pretty much anywhere where there are forested areas nearby. They are mostly blackbirds and have two very distinctive feathers under their necks, kind of like a beard. They also usually have two streaks of blue in with their black feathers. Their most distinct feature, however, is their call, which is very loud and robotic sounding, and you’ll often hear them before seeing them.
25 australia - Kangaroo
Kangaroos are the most interesting creature because they can at the same time look super cute and cuddly and also like they would take you behind an alley and seriously mess you up if you looked at them the wrong way for too long. Interestingly, on land, they use both of their legs together to hop around but in the water, they can actually kick their legs individually to swim through the waters. They're the largest marsupial, and I would tell you about their adorable pouches where they keep their young, but literally, everyone knows about that.
24 new zealand - The Hooker’s Sea Lion
While they have an insanely odd name, these sea lions are the most endangered sea lions in the whole world. The males of this species of sea lion are dark brown to blackish-brown and then have a mane that is lighter in color that reaches down to their shoulders. The female sea lions are grey and their bellies are a light color. Their pups are born with a thick covering of dark hair but eventually lose it as they get older.
23 australia - Platypus
The platypus is like an odd joke. It has the bill of a duck, the tail of a beaver, it has webbed feet and fur like an otter. Oh, and they lay eggs. It's basically an animal that is going through a mid-life crisis where it no longer knows what it is or who it wants to be. They're pretty darn cute too. Of course, I have always been a really big fan of them ever since watching Phineas and Ferb with Perry the Platypus.
22 new zealand - Morepork/ruru
I can’t decide which of this owl’s two names I like better. Morepork is basically what you say when you go to a bbq party and they’re serving ribs and their other name, Ruru just sounds insanely adorable. It’s New Zealand’s only remaining native owl, which I guess makes it a good thing that it’s such a cute owl. If they were only going to have one native type of owl left you would hope that it would be a cute one and this certainly is a cute one.
21 australia - Echidna
Much like the very confused platypus that is in the middle of a midlife crisis, the echidna is in a similar boat, although perhaps it's not quite as confused. It has spikes like a porcupine, a bird's beak, and a pouch, much like a kangaroo. Oh, and it also lays eggs. They look super cute, if not a little standoffish at first, but I bet this little guy is more bark than it is bite. Although, I guess it comes from Australia, so who knows.
20 New Zealand - Kiwi Bird
The Kiwi is the one bird that is most known and most beloved when it comes to New Zealand Birds. While they might be most known, they’re not going to be easily spotted if you take a trip to New Zealand. They live in forested areas, so you’re going to have to seek them out to actually find them. These cutie pies are flightless birds, meaning that they cannot fly. They look odd too, as if someone drew a bird and forgot to give it wings.
19 australia - Numbat
You'll know you're looking at a numbat when you see a little creature with reddish-brownish fur with white stripes on the back. These little cuties have a comically long and sticky tongue so that they can eat ants, termites, and insects which makes them a lot similar to an anteater but they are actually a marsupial. Because they're so little they spend a lot of their time actually hiding out of sight and away from the many, many predators that are around.
18 new zealand - Little blue penguins
Get ready for the awws to happen. Little blue penguins are appropriately named because they are only 25 centimeters tall, which, to give you perspective, a standard ruler is 30.5 centimeters. So, yeah they are super small which makes them super cute, and that is saying something because penguins are pretty darn cute in general to begin with. These tiny waddlers used to be quite common everywhere, but predators have forced them to be located farther offshore.
17 australia - Dingo
Dingoes may look like an adorable doggo, but they actually don't bark, they howl like a wolf. But they are a little bit like dogs in the fact that they hide their food by burying it in the ground and then digging it up later. They raise their pups as a group, which is really sweet, but what may not be so sweet is the fact that some dominant females will kill pups from other females as a sign of "I'm more alpha than you".
16 new zealand - Hector’s Dolphin
In keeping with adorably small animals, New Zealand is home to the world’s smallest breed of dolphin called Hector’s dolphins. They only grow to be 4.9 feet long, have stocky bodies, and only weigh around 130 pounds. This means that they are basically the equivalent of a tiny Italian Nonna who is sweet as pie but can pack a real wallop if she sees you’re not eating enough. You’ll be able to spot them from their tiny stature but also their oddly rounded dorsal fin.
15 australia - Brolga
This large and tall bird has a very interesting dating life. These birds are one of the few animals in the world that mate for life, but getting that mate is no easy task. They actually put on quite the production to win the heart of their sweetie pie, involving graceful and majestic dancing. They also stand in front of one another and throw grass in the air with their beaks. They will then proceed to flap their winds, bob up and down and jump around. And all I get from a potential suitor is a "hey, what's up" text.
14 new zealand - Kereru
Now this is a bird that you would be likely to see if you head over to New Zealand for a trip some day. These birds have stunning green feathers on its head and a white “vest” looking pattern on it. They are not a quiet and shy bird though. They’re like that guy at the gym who wants everyone to know that he is lifting serious weights with every grunt and yell. The Kereru makes a loud sound with its wings that will echo throughout the bush.
13 australia - Flying fox
Despite the name making them sound like a fox that flies, the flying fox is actually a bat. They are one of the more cuter species of bats, in my opinion. They eat fruit, flowers and leaves, which means a lot of people get annoyed with the fact that they eat from their fruit trees. Also, the whole fruit-eating thing means that these bats do not have the one skills that most people associate with bats, which is echolocation. Since their main source of food (fruits and plants) don't move, they never had to have high frequency sounds to act as sonar for them.
12 new zealand - Kea
The Kea is a type of parrot and is actually the only kind of parrot in the world that can be found in alpine regions. These troublemakers might be fun to see but they will wreak havoc on your car. Yes, these pretty parrots are known to “dismantle” vehicles. So while they might be nice to see, you’re probably best to hope to see them in the air rather than up close where you and your car is.
11 australia - Quokka
The Quokka is easily the cutest and friendliest looking animal in all of Australia. This little guy looks like he would come up and give you a big hug if he were to see you looking sad on the street. It just so happens that not only do they look friendly, but they actually are friendly too. It's not just a case of resting nice face. They're about the size of a domestic cat, which means that they are the perfect petting size.
10 new zealand - Tuatara
The tuatara is actually the last surviving Sphenodontia species (which is basically a type of reptile that made it out through the dinosaur age over a couple hundred million years ago). So when you think about it, the tuatara is the most boss reptile living. This little guy prefers cooler temperatures. And although they are usually bred in captivity (because they are such a scientific marvel due to the whole surviving past dinosaurs things) you can also find them on offshore islands.
9 Australia - Bandicoot
These nocturnal cuties eat both meat and plants and there are 20 different species of them. They look like the cross between a bunny and a mouse and I want one. Although since it comes from Australia and looks cute it would probably bite my head off because their cute animals seem to also be capable of much harm. Side note, I love that its name is just as adorable sounding as it looks.
8 new zealand - Hamilton’s Frog
Apparently in New Zealand they like to name types of creatures after people. This frog actually doesn’t croak, so it’s basically the ninjas of frogs. In fact they’re so ninja that they’re also super camouflaged and sometimes remain motionless for very long periods of time. So the likelihood of someone seeing one of these ninja frogs is very slim. They’re also endangered and there are only a few hundred left on Stephen’s island. But don’t worry! Scientists are on it and are trying to help the species.
7 australia - Tasmanian Devil
These fierce creatures are actually a lot cuter than their cartoon counterparts, but they certainly do live up to the attitude that the wild and mean Looney Toon portrays. Real Tasmanian Devils hiss, scream and growl and their aggression is not just a show either! Their aggression comes in handy because they can even take down a smaller sized kangaroo, which is saying something. They're like a tiny, aggressive chihuahua that cannot seem to tell the fact that they're small, except that the Tasmanian Devil actually has the strength to back all of the show.
6 new zealand - Chevron Skink
Of course, if you’re thinking of creatures that are home to New Zealand only, the chevron skink is one of them. It is the longest lizard in New Zealand, but is quite the magician. The chevron skink has only had around 500 sightings recorded of it, which makes it quite the elusive reptile, which means that you’re not very likely to see one if you take a trip to New Zealand. The pattern on these guys is actually quite pretty, if not made to blend in with their surroundings.
5 australia - Honeyeater
There are many different types of the honeyeaters, although their one distinguishing quality is the fact that they are all so small in size. They are incredibly fast flyers and are a vital part of the environment around them because they help to pollinate the flowers as they fly around feeding from flower to flower. When it's breeding time, these adorable birds build little nests that are actually in the shape of a cup. They make sure that these nests are extra strong by using spider webs to help with the binding.
4 New Zealand - new zealand Fantail
These friendly birds are known to fly right up to people, which makes them either eerily fearless (try not to think about the movie “Birds”) or super cute and friendly. Judging based solely on looks alone, these birds look friendly. They’re also a hearty bird that thrives pretty much anywhere, which means that you will definitely be likely to see them if you travel to wonderful New Zealand. It is aptly named for its tail that can look like a splayed out hand fan.
3 australia - Wallaby
A wallaby is basically just a mini version of the kangaroo. They range from 30cms to one meter. They're also much lighter than a kangaroo (which makes sense since they're smaller). Their legs are also much different than a kangaroo. Kangaroos have long legs that launch them fast across open fields, whereas a wallaby has more dense legs to help them navigate dense forest areas. Lastly, the wallaby has a shinier and glossier coat.
2 New Zealand - new zealand Fur Seal
These cutie pies were once hunted for their meat but for fear of extinction, they became a protected species. These seals are quite nosy and have been known to wander into people's backyards in New Zealand, which is both adorable and hilarious. As someone who wanders herself, I have a feeling that I would be good friends with this species if I were to live in New Zealand. They just seem absolutely friendly and curious which are great characteristics in animals, in my opinion.
1 australia - Wombat
Okay please take a moment to note how ADORABLY cute the wombat in the picture is. SO cute. Okay, now back to the wombat, it has short legs, a muscular body, and a stubby tail. It's much like the guys in my high school who played football. Although it looks quite beefy and strong, it actually feeds on grass, herbs, bark and roots. They're also similar to computer game nerds where they sleep all day and finally emerge during the night.
References: Australia, Panique, KiwisForKiwi, BackPackerGuide