By Stacey Leasca
October 08, 2019
Stephen Barker/Shutterstock

If there’s one group of people you should listen to about wildlife tourism it’s the Irwins.

Though Steve Irwin tragically died in 2006, his children Robert and Bindi are continuing his legacy of protecting and advocating for animals all over the world. And that includes their work to promote responsible wildlife travel, too. Ahead of the new season of their show, "Crikey! It's the Irwins," the family sat down with USA Today to share a few of their tips for seeing animals along your travels, as well as a few of their favorite animal-friendly outfitters.

Swim With Humpback Whales in Australia

According to the Irwin family, it’s totally possible to see massive humpback whales up close in their natural ocean habitat. All you need to do is travel with Sunreef Mooloolaba, the first charter company to bring guests to whales in Australia. The charters begin with a short ride out to the ocean; Once the whales are spotted the boat is put in neutral and guests are allowed to enter the water. Then, it’s up to the whales to swim over, rather than the humans swimming to them. Beyond its responsible practices, USA Today notes, the company is coordinating with University of the Sunshine Coast to research the whales. The family also recommends swimming with whales at Lady Elliot Island, a small eco-resort off the coast.

Pick a Safari Experience That Leaves the Animals at Peace

While there are a number of excellent safari outfitters spread across the African continent, the Irwins told USA Today one of their personal favorites is Pondoro Game Lodge in the Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa. The company brings safari-goers as close as they can get to wildlife while still respecting their space. And, it doesn’t hurt that the safari is ultra-luxurious. According to the Irwins, the Cheetah Outreach program in South Africa is a top-notch educational experience that should also be considered.

Head to a National Park

The celebrity family says a visit to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania is a must-do. The national park, located in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, is the starting point for the six-day journey on the Overland Track — though, it may be worth staying longer in the region. This experience will also get you near some critters, according to Chandler Powell, Bindi’s fiance, "You wake up and have a wombat in your window.” Looking to stay? Try Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge for an unparalleled wildlife experience.

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