Where Do Kangaroos Live? This is Their Natural Habitat

Kangaroo at a reservoir
I took this picture in Western Australia's Golden Outback

If you are currently planning a trip across Australia you are probably thinking where do kangaroos live? I had the same question before I left the big city of Sydney to explore Australia's amazing wildlife. I wanted to see as much wildlife like kangaroos and koalas as I can. So I did a little research to answer the question of where do kangaroos live in Australia?

Kangaroos live in a great variety of areas in Australia. They can be found in wet rainforests, grazing at the beach, hoping in wide-open plains, and in the dry centre of Australia. However, there are huge differences between the natural habitat of the red kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, and the antilopine kangaroo. Read this article to learn more about a kangaroo’s natural habitat.

Every child knows where kangaroos come from. Kangaroos are so important to Australia they even put a red kangaroo on their coat of arms, the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia. Click here to see Australia’s Coat of Arms with a kangaroo and emu on the website of Australia’s parliamentary education office.

Australia is one of the largest countries on earth and it offers a great variety of different regions with different climates and natural environments. You can find kangaroos in most areas of Australia but not every species is native to every region.

The following map shows where it is likely to find kangaroos in Australia. It is based on the density of all related species which include kangaroos, wallaroos, and wallabies.

Macropus Species Density
Macropus Species Density
Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Where does a red kangaroo live?

The red kangaroo lives in central Australia but it is also found in western Australia. It lives in dry woodlands, deserts, grassland, but it avoids fertile areas or the rainforests in the north. You will find red kangaroos in open plains but they love some trees around to sit in the shade during hot days to seek shelter. Red kangaroos eat significant amounts of shrubs.

Red kangaroo
Red kangaroos in Australia
Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Where does the eastern grey kangaroo live?

Eastern grey kangaroos can adapt perfectly to their environment and are, therefore, quite common in Australia. The eastern grey kangaroo can be found in large parts of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, but it is also common in parts of South Australia and Tasmania. This means that it is found in eastern Australia. They prefer areas of bushland during the day with open grasslands next to it. In the evening and in the morning you will see eastern grey’s grazing on open grasslands. It is also found in forests, woodlands, low open scrub, and coastal areas.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo Range
Where eastern grey kangaroos live in Australia
Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Where you can find the western grey kangaroo

The western grey kangaroo is native to almost the entire south of Australia. However, you will not find it in the coastal areas of NSW and Victoria. It prefers to live in open forests and woodlands where they can find grasses and leafy shrubs and low trees. If you’re lucky you will find a western grey kangaroo sitting on the beach and enjoying the evening sun.

Western Grey Kangaroo Range
Western grey kangaroos in Australia
Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is where the antilopine kangaroo lives

The antilopine kangaroo, often called antilopine wallaroo or antilopine wallaby, is a kangaroo found in northern Australia. It lives in Northern Territory (the Top End), Western Australia (Kimberley region), and the tropical regions of Queensland (Cape York Peninsula). This kangaroo prefers a tropical environment like open tropical forests, lower hills, grassland and woodlands where eucalypts are common.

Antilopine Kangaroo
Where the antilopine kangaroo lives in Australia
Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], Nrg800 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Where you can find kangaroos

If you’re new to Australia and you have never seen a kangaroo in your entire life you should definitely go for it. You can either go to the zoo (I’ve written this article about that) or find one in the wilderness. I can only recommend finding one in the wilderness.

Kangaroos living in zoos

First, let’s talk about kangaroos in zoos. If don’t have much time it’s probably the best thing to go to a zoo to see as many Australian animals as you can. I would bet that every serious Australian zoo got some kangaroos to look at. If you’re lucky you will also see their babies. Their babies are called joey and they are absolutely adorable.

There are some zoos where you can either feed or pet a kangaroo, I’ve included some places in the article linked before. If you want to feed and pet a kangaroo you should definitely go to a zoo, wildlife farm or kangaroo sanctuary and do that there. This is because you should not feed or pet kangaroos in the wild. Kangaroos have a totally different diet so healthy food for humans can be extremely unhealthy for kangaroos. Let’s take a carrot. It’s healthy for us humans but a kangaroo should not eat it.

Kangaroos living in the wilderness

If you want to see kangaroos in the wilderness, there are a few places I can recommend. Although you can find kangaroos practically everywhere in Australia, there are some places where they are much easier to spot.

Best places where kangaroos live

Based on my own experience, chances are high that you will see kangaroos at Murramarang National Park (NSW), Cape Le Grand National Park (Western Australia), or Cape Hillsborough National Park (Queensland). The best time to see kangaroos is early in the morning at sunrise or in the evening at sunset. I wrote an entire article on this topic. Click here to read about the best place and time to see kangaroos in Australia.

Kangaroos eat mostly grass and leaves from bushes and small trees. Kangaroos and similar species like wallaroos and wallabies are nocturnal so they are most active at night. During this time you will see them grazing.

A summary on where kangaroos live

As you can see, kangaroos are extremely flexible when they’re choosing their habitat. This also means that you can find kangaroos in almost all Australian areas. They live in rainforests, in the desert, and next to the beach. However, not every species lives in every part of Australia.

You can use the maps I included before to know which kangaroo is in front of you. If you want to learn more about different kangaroo species, read my article on the difference between kangaroos, wallabies, and wallaroos. You won’t believe their differences in size, height, fur, social behavior, and habitat.