Something every human should do: experience native animals being themselves, unaware of human presence. Making a particular study of unusual wildlife being wild is even more rewarding.
On the northern east coast of Tasmania, for example, you can conduct a little Devil Watching. Using a wallaby carcass purloined from roadkill, a local farmer attracts Tasmanian Devils to a fierce feast, while transfixed humans take cover quietly in a nearby shack.
“I’ve done a spot of Devil Dancing in Tasmania. Before your eyes a roadkill wallaby disappears down the gaping gullets of a pack of the ugly little critters. It’s disgusting, horrific, revolting . . . and utterly enthralling.”
– Tony Wheeler
You’ll see why its spine-chilling screeches, black colour and reputed bad temper led the early European settlers to call it the Devil. Although they’re only the size of a small dog, Tasmanian Devils can sound and look incredibly fierce.
Did you know?
Tasmanian Devils (their diet being mostly carrion) utilise jaws with a biting power equal to a dog four times their size. In this respect, Tassie Devils are similar to hyenas.
How to get there
The Tasmanian Devil Park is a 1-hour drive from Hobart, along the main highway to Port Arthur.
The creatures can also be seen in Narawntapu National Park, Mt. William National Park, and Cradle Mt. National Park. For information on how to get to these parks, please see the web links below.
Best time to go
The Tasmanian Devil Park is open daily (except on 25 December).
If you want to spot them in the wild, a few hour hours after sunset is best.
Website of the Tasmanian Devil Park
Parks & Wildlife Service info on Tasmanian Devils
Narawntapu National Park
Mt William National Park
Cradle Mt – Lake St Clair National Park
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.