Australia has some fantastic animals to boast about, as well as some of the weirdest critters and deadliest species around. A visit downunder is not complete without meeting some of the locals. Of course, ideally visitors would see these animals in the wild. Spend enough time in Australia and you will probably see a lot of the wildlife in its natural surroundings, including the less appealing ones. The cunning Aussies are aware that visitors don’t travel all the way here in the hopes of seeing these animals, they want to definitely see them, so wildlife parks have sprung up across the country.
Most Australian wildlife parks can be relied upon to have kangaroos, koalas, a wombat or two and some birds at least. Most have much more than that though.
Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo is probably the most famous animal park in Australia. It is huge and a visit can easily fill a day. The zoo is home to a plethora of species but is especially famous as the home of the Crocodile Hunter, for it’s crocs. There is a huge arena called the crocoseum, built specifically to enable the zoo to hold crocodile shows to educate the public about these magnificent reptiles. The zoo has countless shops and facilities. You can also have your photo taken cuddling a friendly koala or a snake (whatever floats your boat). There are also animal keepers walking around with small animals, offering more intimate introductions to the animals. Australia Zoo, not only represents most Australian animals, but also houses some species from overseas, such as tigers.
|Terri Irwin tempts a crocodile out of the water at Australia Zoo|
Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth is a low-key place with a very relaxed atmosphere. It is smaller than the animal parks in other cities, with only one small shop and toilet block, but still represents a lot of Australia’s creatures. Kangaroos roam freely through most of the park and will ignore you unless you have a bag of feed. Koalas are more easily disturbed so visiting them is quite carefully controlled. One of the big draws for Caversham is the creatures that thrive in Western Australia’s harsh, dry climate. For example quokkas are only nowadays found in the wild in the South West corner of Australia and on Rottnest Island, off Perth.
|Meeting a wombat|
Cairns Tropical Zoo in Far Northern Queensland is another large establishment that not only showcases native wildlife, but also has a few animals from overseas. They host wildlife shows to enhance the conservation message and offer the chance to feed some of the animals.
|Cuddle a snake anyone?|
Taronga Zoo in Sydney has not only a remarkable location, just by Sydney Harbour, but possibly the most varied collection of wildlife too. As well as the Aussie favourites, Taronga Zoo hosts Asian Elephants, African Giraffe, apes and they also have a marine wildlife display and show. They hold bird shows and talks. Taronga also has shops and offers the chance to be photographed with several animals.
|Hanging with the roos|
There are many wildlife parks in Australia, these are just the ones that I have visited. Have you visited others? What did you think?