While some places are littered with garbage, Australia is littered with wildlife parks. Seriously. Everywhere you go, you’ll turn a corner and “BAM!” – another wildlife park just hit you in the face. Or you’ll walk down a street and take a wrong step and “AHH SHIT!” – you just got wildlife park all over your shoe. Wildlife parks are to Australia was Starbucks is to Seattle – at least 2 per corner.
I visited Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary while in Tasmania (it was one of the many that we passed by on our road trip), and my experience there learning about the Australian animals and getting to actually interact with them was something that a big zoo or tacky tourist trap of a wildlife park in the city just couldn’t offer. When Della & Eric came to visit, I thought it would be nice to find something similar. Jessica & Guy came in with a great solution: Featherdale!
Featherdale Wildlife Park sits in the outer suburbs of Sydney – about an hour drive from the city centre. While it wasn’t nearly as intimate or as educational as Bonorong was, it was a lot larger and had nearly every Aussie animal you can think of. It was the perfect place to take out of town visitors and might have to have a permanent place on my tour guide itinerary.
There was just so much, I don’t even know where to begin. But I guess I’ll begin with one of our iconic animals: the koala.
They had dozens of koalas! And I even saw a koala breastfeeding! And I got a video of the koala breastfeeding! And I was going to post it but then I thought that you might think that was creepy. So I won’t post it. Geez.
Looking for something that does less sleeping and more hopping? Let’s start small. You wouldn’t believe what they had – my favourite Aussie animal – OMG – tiny little quokkas!!!
I blogged about these little charmers after I saw them on Rottnest Island near Perth. There were also slightly larger pademelons:
And of course wallabies of all different shapes, sizes, and even some with crazy patterns and colorings.
We even got to feed the lil buggers… though they weren’t all that eager. It must have been a busy day…
The hoppers got bigger and bigger as we rounded the park. And then I saw it. The kangaroos of all kangaroos: the ALBINO kangaroo!
And I got to feed him and I got to pet him and god came down from the heavens and shone his rays of light on this holy experience!
Then, there were the birds. Lots of birds. Starting small with a whole heap of kookaburras:
But then jumping dramatically in size to this meter high pelican. Fuck that’s sorta scary. It could probably pick up a small whale with that beak.
For something even scarier, try the cassowary:
The park has more cassowaries than I could count. There had to have been three dozen or so. I’m not even sure there are that many in the wild – insane! Now the only thing bigger than a cassowary is this very long-necked emu.
I think he wants to tell me something.
There a petting zoo area where I ran into these creatures:
And there were also fluffy chickens. Super fluffy chickens. I don’t know why. But they must have just come out of the washer and dryer.
And it was Jessica’s lifelong dream to hold one of the fluffy chickens and pose for a photo. And so it was done. And she was just glowing for the rest of the day!
The park also had a bunch of other staple Australian animals: Tasmanian devils, snakes, bats, little penguins, and the world’s saddest looking wombat. I felt bad for it. They also had displays for echidnas and bilbies, but we couldn’t spot them in their enclosures. Really the only thing they were missing was a platypus. This park (nearly) had it all!
And you know what else it had? It had a peacock.
Because every zoo or wildlife park has to have a peacock. It must be some sort of international requirement.