Where to see emus near Melbourne – check out our guide to Australia’s iconic flightless birds.

Emus are up there with kangaroos and koalas when it comes to iconic Australian animals. Many visitors who come to Australia are hoping to catch a glimpse of these strange looking birds. For anyone planning a trip to Melbourne, it is possible to enjoy the highlights of the city and see emus as well. 

By taking a day trip from Melbourne you can view emus in their natural environment. However, in the wild it is best not to approach emus as they can be aggressive if provoked. It’s best to view them from a distance and you can do this in a couple of national parks near Melbourne. 

If you would like to get up close to an emu on your visit to Melbourne, it is possible to do this at Moonlit Sanctuary. Here they have an emu which has been raised in captivity and can be viewed in it’s natural surrounds.  

Where to see emus near Melbourne

Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park

It’s possible to see emus in their natural environment in the Grampians / Gariwerd National Park. This is a nature-lovers tour as emus and native birds are bountiful in the region.You can also view kangaroos and wallabies.

On our Grampians tour from Melbourne you can step out on the walking trails to soak it all in The Grampians are home to some spectacular waterfalls, bushland,  tall eucalyptus trees and even areas of rainforest. You can view MacKenzie Falls flowing all year round and wildflowers blooming in Spring.

Traditionally known as Gariwerd, this region is home to many significant and ancient Aboriginal rock art paintings. Take in the views of this magnificent landscape from one of the many viewpoints. The Grand Canyon, Boroka Lookout and Reeds Lookout are all excellent places to explore the national park. 

Where is the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park?

The Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park is located west of Melbourne. It is an almost 3 hour drive from the city along the Western Highway and Grampians Way. 

Visit the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park on our Grampians Day Trip from Melbourne. Discover the walks, waterfalls and wildlife on our one day tour of this incredible national park. 

Wilsons Promontory National Park

View emus in the wild at the Wilsons Promontory National Park. This area is at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Emus, wallabies, wombats and kangaroos are just some of the wildlife that call the Prom home – along with many native Australian birds. Take a stroll on the Wildlife Wall to discover many of these animals. 

On our day tour from Melbourne you can explore the many walking trails to take in magnificent views and pristine beaches. Squeaky Beach has white quartz sand that squeaks beneath your feet as you walk. Plus a walk along the coastal trails gives you wonderful panoramic views of the beaches and offshore islands. 

Where is the Wilsons Promontory National Park?

Wilsons Promontory National Park is located south east of Melbourne in the Gippsland region. It is approximately 2.5 hours drive from the city through some beautiful rural areas.  

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

At Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park you can see their resident emu up close. The sanctuary is home to many native animals that have been bred in captivity or rescued from the wild. The team at Moonlit do some fantastic conservation work and are dedicated to the protection of many native Australian animals. You can visit the wildlife park on two of our tours:

Phillip Island Day Tour

Visit Moonlit Sanctuary on our ultimate Melbourne wildlife tour. Our Phillip Island Tour is the best way to meet Australian wildlife up close. Capture your magic moment hand-feeding a kangaroo, cuddle up to a koala, and watch as thousands of Little Penguins waddle right past your feet. This tour from Melbourne visits the Brighton Bathing Boxes, Moonlit Sanctuary conservation park and the nightly Penguin Parade.

Puffing Billy + Penguins 

For a day of iconic Melbourne experiences, take our Puffing Billy, wildlife and penguins tour. Ride on a century-old steam train – Puffing Billy – through the Dandenong rainforest. Meet and feed some of Australia’s iconic, native wildlife, at Moonlit Sanctuary – including kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. Finish the day with a visit to Phillip Island for spectacular coastal views and watching the resident Little Penguins waddle to shore in the nightly Penguin Parade.

Emu facts

Australia’s famous birds, the emu is the second-largest living bird in the world after the ostrich. Emus cannot fly, but to compensate they can run very fast. They can grow up to 1.75 metres tall. Males weigh about 50-55 kgs, while females weigh about 60kgs. 

Emu’s do have small wings – relative to the size of its body. But their long, powerful legs are what allow them to run at speeds of up to 50km per hour. 

Emu’s also have unique eyes. They have dual eyelids which they use for blinking and for preventing sand and dust entering their eyes. Their eyesight, in addition to their hearing, is what allows them to detect threats even at great distances. 

On each foot the emu’s have three forward-facing toes. These allow them to grip the ground and thrust forward while running. It also means they have a powerful kick to deter predators. 

These unique birds are found primarily in Australia, but can also be found in New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, and the Philippines.

The emus have an interesting courtship and breeding process. They have a pouch in their throat which they use to make grunting noises during courtship. The booming noise can be heard up to 2km away. 

Emu pairs can stay together for up to five months, after which females lay large, green eggs. The males then incubate the eggs for about eight weeks. During this time they won’t eat, drink, defecate, or leave the nest. They therefore can lose up to a third of their body weight while incubating eggs.

When the eggs hatch, the chicks can walk just minutes later and can leave the nest at about three days old. However, they will usually stay with their father for about 18 months.

What to see these interesting birds during your visit to Melbourne? Join us on a Go West Tour!


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au