If you come to Adelaide and have a few days to spare, make sure that Cleland Wildlife Park makes an appearance on your itinerary. Cleland is certainly not as large as the Adelaide Zoo, and due to the obvious difference in funding between the two zoos, this is also maybe not as “advanced” as the main city zoo. However, it makes up for all this through the actions of its staff.
The staff (and volunteers) here really know how to help you make the most of your trip. Whether they are helping up find a specific animal, leading an animal talk or doing something like the koala encounter, it’s incredible how knowledgable and friendly they are at each and every turn! The staff here are to be applauded for helping all their visitors have an awesome day with their animals.
So of course the stars of the show are the animals, and with a doubt the biggest draw for them here are the koalas… and make sure you keep an eye out for the wild ones which some times make their way in to the park grounds! There are certain times of the day (depending on the temperature) where you can get involved with holding the koalas or getting your photo taken by one. This is a great experience and for many people (especially older people sorting out their bucket list items), a very emotional one too… I saw more than just a couple of people leave the koalas crying!
However Australian zoos are more than just koalas… Here they also have some adorable young dingos, monitor lizards, an amazing collection of venomous snakes, wombats, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and more. For me however one of the biggest treats was also one of the smallest animals, and probably the least rare (or certainly not amongst the most rare)… the enigmatic little potoroo! These things run around all over the place, and I believe they were never actually put there by the zoo, but are in fact wild ones accustomed to being around the visitors… and why? FOOD!
Make sure you get some kangaroo food when you arrive. This is great for feeding the kangaroos of course, but the cute little potoroos will hand feed from you as well, which was an amazing thing to do – for really no extra cost!
The Park Itself
This is a government funded park, so it’s not very rich as it were, however the resources are used really well, to keep the park looking generally in very good condition. It is certainly extremely clean and well maintained, with nothing really standing out where you feel like that needs changing.
It is a little bit confusing to get around as some of the paths head quite far away from various other parts of the park, but once you get your head around it, theres not too much trouble getting around and its not so big either that you can really get lost!
There is a pretty decent sized restaurant in the entrance area next to the gift shop. If you have time, I really recommend eating here. It’s not overly expensive, but most importantly it is absolutely delicious! They do some really tasty but also healthy options from wraps to salads, as well as some pretty nice chips! One thing I really recommend is their selection of cookies… I believe it’s all made at the park, or at least made fresh for the park – the cookies certainly tasted fresh!
Overall this is a great little park where you can experience the best which Australia has to offer.