Cleland Wildlife Park-An Adelaide Animal Experience
Many of you may have realized koalas are my favorite. But, it is not just the koala. I am wild about wildlife. I have been since a child. Koalas, along with the other amazing Australian wildlife, have been my inspiration for years. It is no wonder that the animals of Australia rank high for travelers top reasons to visit, and Australia does not disappoint with nearly every imaginable encounter you can think of. Truly, no matter which state or territory you decide to visit, you will be able to include a wildlife experience in your itinerary.
Upon my most recent visit Down Under to Adelaide, I had the pleasure of introducing my son to my love of the Australian wildlife. Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, which is "wildly" know for it's wildlife experiences. With this visit, I made sure that our first full day in the state would be filled with an experience he wouldn't forget.
We were staying in the heart of Adelaide near Cleland Wildlife Park. Being close to the city center, the park can be reached by public transport or even a cab. We decided to opt for having the hotel desk call us a cab. A note to the wise, be sure your cab driver actually knows his own city before leaving the hotel. Our ride over to the park was a bit like an episode from "The Amazing Race" where the driver says, "Yes, I know where that is.", and then you find yourself pulling up to the wrong park. After that, you find he clearly has no clue where he is going. Fortunately, I keep a global data plan on my phone and was able to call up maps and guide the cab driver to our destination.
The park is open daily from 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (with the exception of Christmas). What makes the wildlife parks in Australia a bit more unique than the familiar American zoo is the up close and personal encounters you get to have with the wildlife. Imagine yourself in a giant kid zoo. Different educational and close encounters are scheduled throughout the day. The park has an eatery and gift shop as well. When buying your ticket (which runs about $22 AUD), you can pick up a map along with food for the animals.
Our first stop was to head to the kangaroos. We were there during spring and got to see so many little joeys in their mom's pouches. My son was amazed at how close you could get with them. You could even lay or sit beside them. It was like pulling teeth to have him move onto the next area where the wallabies were, because he was so intrigued by all the little joeys popping their heads out He had great fun taking selfies and making videos on the Go-Pro. Nearby the wallabies were the wombats. Now these guys you were not able to feed, but the enclosures still made for great viewing. They even had white ones.
After a good hour or more feeding the kangaroos and wallabies, we finally moved on to explore the rest of the park with birds galore, reptiles, and the koalas as the main attraction. South Australia is one of the remaining states in Australia that still allows a "cuddle with a koala". Of course, I couldn't wait. I could never get enough koala cuddles in my lifetime. What was really the best for me was to see my son's delight and watch him fall in love with my passion as well. The cuddle was a grand experience as we got to hold an adult male. Having only cuddled young ones of 1-3 yrs, this guy was a hefty fellow, but loved it all the same.
We worked our way back through the park and stopped for some lunch before heading back to the kangaroos, which proved to be one of my son's favorites. With still one bag of food left, we couldn't let it go to waste. We spent nearly six hours at the park that day. With souvenirs for his friends in hand, we had the ladies at the entry call us a cab for the ride back to the hotel. Luckily, it was a much shorter trip this time. If you ask either of us, we would definitely recommend a day trip from Adelaide to this wonderful nature reserve.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, and WI. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide ride of leisure vacation planning.