Boasting proportions that seemingly defy logic, the beguiling kangaroo can be found in the wild in many parts of Victoria, including areas close to Melbourne.
The kanga tale
The red kangaroo has the distinction of being the world's largest surviving marsupial and can grow to two metres tall and weigh 90 kilograms. The kangaroo's long tail is mainly used to control the balance when moving at slow speeds. The short forelegs are handy for food intake, and also in combat (the legend of the Boxing Kangaroo had to come from somewhere). Kangaroos are vegetarians, existing on grasses, nuts, seeds and leaves. Joeys emerge from their mothers pouches and bound into the world at around nine months; on average, kangaroos live for around six years in the wild, or well over 20 years in captivity.
Where to spot 'roos
Victoria's fertile landscape is more receptive to the smaller eastern grey kangaroo, which is shy and retiring by nature. You'll also spot wallabies around the state.
In the Great Ocean Road, you can play a memorable game of golf alongside relaxing kangaroos in the natural bush setting of Anglesea Golf Club. Meet roaming kangaroos in Tower Hill State Game Reserve, which sits inside an extinct volcano and is where you can also walk with wildlife under the stars.
Notch up a magical moment at dusk from your campsite in the Grampians or in Gippsland's Wilson's Promontory National Park, watching a mob of eastern grey kangaroos graze and bound off in unison when startled.
Close to Melbourne, kangaroos can be seen in the You Yang Ranges, and even in the Yarra and Dandenong ranges.
The Melbourne Zoo's Australia enclosure features kangaroos lolling in a replica of their natural habitat, while Healesville Sanctuary boasts a mob of red kangaroos.
Remember to take care and keep an eye on the roadside at twilight when driving in the bush, as a collision with a vehicle is capable of killing a kangaroo and harming the car and its occupants.