One of things that one must do in Australia (especially if you're here the first time), is to get up close and personal with Australia's native furry friends and other friendly wildlife.
|Walkthrough Map of Cleland Wildlife Park|
The Cleland Wildlife Park (or the Cleland Conservation Park), located 22 km south-east of the Adelaide City centre, South Australia is one of Adelaide's main attraction since 1967. It warms hearts to know that conservation parks like this are making effort to create sustainable environments that harmonize the wildlife ecosystem and giving chance to people to enjoy it now and the near future. Cleland Wildlife Park is open from 9.30am – 5pm daily (entry gates and aviaries close at 4.30pm though). Do plan your trip wisely as the park is not open on Christmas, or days of forecast of catastrophic fire danger.
|The so called hidden no.38, just locate the Beehive Corner Haigh's Chocolate as the most prominent landmark and you should be fine.|
We locked on a tour with Integrity Tours & Charter, where we were taken from Rundle Mall area itself. Our pick up point was located at 38, King William Street on that day at 2pm. We arrived to that street with survivable navigation skill but we somehow couldn't locate no.38. Needless to say, we went on a frantic mode as the clock was ticking down till the last minute of 1.59pm. Somehow, with a little luck, we managed to find a pick up bus stand (but for another tour) and figured that THAT was no.38.
Bro Tips : If you are heading to Cleland via the bus, get to Stop G2 Grenfell St. - North Side, take bus no.864 towards Mount Barker, alight at Stop 16 Adelaide Crafers Highway - North West Side and hike about 1.7km towards Cleland Wildlife Park. You're welcome. :)
Our guide arrived punctually, and we were the only two visitors via the tour that day. After approximately 20 minutes drive from the centre, we passed by Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers and up to park entrance. Entrance fee start from $16 per adult (concession) and $10 for children.
|Animal Food to attract le wild life!|
Bro Tips: : Buy a packet of animal food for a small fee and get the experience of feeding the animals. Do note that outside food may or will be prohibited to protect the dietary and behavioral habit of the animals.
|Finally, a close up experience with a (totally unimpressed) koala :P|
If you arrive at around 2.30 pm, it is recommended that you make your way to the Koala Close-Up first (due to the limited time constrain of 11am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm schedule, koalas have very short waking time span) as people would generally queue in this station only - the rest is roaming free and easy. There should be a koala holding opportunity for $30 but somehow there wasn't this offer that day (for some unexplained reason). Anyhow, the free interaction session with the koala suffice as we still get to take the picture with the koala anyway.
After the koalas you should be able to make your way with the help of the map to venture around the park. The marsupials here are relatively unafraid of human, so gentle petting are more than welcomed. Don't miss the wombats, potoroos, wombats, bettongs, wallabies and the iconic kangaroos.
|Feeding the tame kangaroos|
Bro Tips : Different kangaroos roams in different enclosures, among the types of kangaroos that you can find here include the Red Kangaroos, Western Gray Kangaroos & Kangaroo Island Kangaroos (Yes, you don't actually have to go all the way to Kangaroo Island for this).
|Above : Tasmanian Devil , Below : Dingo|
The dingoes and Tasmanian devil are probably the other furry friends that you might be interested to catch here, though the dingoes were tad too dormant when we were there and the Taz was too active running in circles. Anyhow, it is always fascinating to watch animals in their regular activities.
|Birds of the wet land|
If you fancy aviary or birds in general, do catch some of them at the wetland aviary, swamp lands, and forest aviary for your fair share of native, forest and water birds.
|The porcupine looking echidnas|
Other notable wildlife that you should be able to spot are the emus, elusive echidnas, various snakes, and monitor lizards. Don't worry about approaching these animals if they're out and roaming. Dangerous ones are placed in enclosures with ample warning about approaching them (e.g. the wombat bites, although they're cute, but they bite)
Customized tours are available as well, such as the Cultural Tour of the Yurridla Aboriginal Trail but these tours would be great if you came here without a hitched tour to begin with. Night walk tour would be awesome for nocturnal creature lookouts. Facilities here also include a cafe (for those who wish to get their dosage of coffee, especially during the winter season) and a souvenir shop.
|You'll know you're at the submit when you see this lighthouse|
On the way back to the city, we made a quick stop to Mount Lofty look out point, the highest point of Mount Lofty Ranges with a panoramic view of the city.
Cleland Wildlife Park is a must visit if animal and wildlife intrigues you, especially getting up close and personal with the native animals of Australia, is definitely one great experience in South Australia!