Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Excellent Adventure Down Under

Featherdale Wildlife Park

FINALLY! We had a day for adventure, and I wanted to see Australian animals. There are 2 places we could go that showcase Australia’s animal life: Taronga Zoo or the Featherdale Wildlife Park. We’d heard and read that the wildlife park allowed a more intimate and closeup view, so that’s how we decided to go there. It’s about an hour or so train ride from Sydney. These are commuter trains we take, and they have their own story to tell; yes, that means I have another blog I want to write!! So many blogs….but let’s get back to Featherdale. The link is here: 

but here is a brief history from that site:

“Established on 7 acres of land originally purchased by Charles and Marjorie Wigg in 1953, Featherdale has evolved from a poultry farm into one of the best privately owned wildlife parks in Australia. The Wigg’s son-in-law, Bruce Kubbere, studied Australian fauna from early childhood and with his vision and encouragement, Featherdale opened to the public as a wildlife park in 1972.  In the early years Bruce, and his wife Margaret, operated a plant nursery in conjunction with the Wildlife Park. Beautiful Australian native trees and plants now line the walkways and landscape the enclosures as a legacy of the park’s history.  Featherdale’s future was threatened in 1975 with plans to use the property for a housing commission development. The then Premier, Sir Robert Askin, was presented with thousands of signed petitions, most of which were signed on behalf of local residents who stressed “the importance of Featherdale Wildlife Park” to district school children. Fortunately, the government rescinded its original decision and the park was saved.”
It's very small, but that makes it an easy day for walking around. I, for one, am glad they saved it!
Interestingly, this park is in the middle of a neighborhood in a community called Doonside. Literally in the neighborhood. This is the street view from outside the park:
I can only imagine how much fun it must be to live near here. They have lots of birds/fowl, which include cockatoos, parrots, kookaburras, owls, storks, emus, peacocks, and eagles. If you’ve ever had parrots and/or cockatoos, you will know that they have their noisy times, usually early morning and evening. Owls, of course, talk in the evening. I haven’t heard a kookaburra yet live, but what I’ve heard online when I investigated their call is LOUD. I personally love birds and all their various vocal talents, so I mean it when I say it must be great fun to live in this neighborhood. It must be a symphony of bird calls when they all start up! I can't forget the penguins either!! Yes, penguins! The cutest little penguins! They are known as Little Blue Penguins, Blue Penguins, or Fairy Penguins, and are common around the southern coast of Australia and in New Zealand. Here are some pictures so you can see some of what we saw, but there are so many varieties of birds, I can’t possibly post them all. I never knew there was a black cockatoo! So many beautiful birds here….


albino kookaburra
black cockatoo



little blue penguins
The kangaroos were lots of fun. The first thing we noted was that they were small, so small, I thought we were looking at wallabies. I’m no expert, so I finally looked them up on the internet and sure enough, kangaroos come in all sizes. Wallabies tend to be on the small side, but I guess one way way to tell the difference is by their heads. A kangaroo’s face/snout is longer. I found this info from a website called “How Stuff Works”.

Kangaroos can also get to be quite large, whereas wallabies stay on the small side. Good thing they keep small ones at Featherdale, because they’re just out, hopping next to you! Great fun, kind of exciting.. but I don’t think I’d like to meet one that was 8’ tall like that! The kangaroos at Featherdale are used to visitors, so it’s easy to reach down and pet one. The hardest thing is getting the children out of your way so you can get in close!!

Then, there were the koalas. That’s what you’ve mostly been waiting to see, yes? Well, us too! We were there on a warm day and of course, koalas are nocturnal, so here’s mostly what we saw:
And the ones we did see? Asleep. I mean really, really ASLEEP.

I wish I could sleep like that! One of the most fun things at Featherdale is that you can also pet the koala! So we did! The koala could’ve cared less. At least he didn’t wake up and bite me! I really wanted to scoop him up and give him a big cuddle, but I resisted (besides, you should see the claws on this guy!). And I really wanted to stand there and pet him for a long time, but there were other people in line, so a quick pet is all we got.  And yes, his fur is kinda soft. I want to go back and pet him again!


We wandered over to see the dingos, but guess what! Asleep. Couldn’t see a thing. We did see this tho:
I have no idea what that is, but its cute little butt was just all we could see.

We went to the reptile house and saw snakes and lizards (of course!) But my favorite sight was this little guy who was outside the reptile house. I couldn’t decide if he was trying to get in or just happy to be out!
And then, there was this:

That little wall around him just didn’t seem tall enough or strong enough. Luckily, he looked well-fed and sleepy, and totally uninterested in any of us staring at him. This guy gave me the willies.

All in all, it was a really nice day. A little warm so most of the animals were asleep, but still a great way to get up close and personal with kangaroos and koalas, certainly something I’m not likely to experience anywhere else. And I still want to go to the zoo, too. J


1 comment:

  1. What a wondeful story!! I never knew that a kookaburra was a bird!! Thanks for letting us in on that strange world! : )) Lola