Kangaroos and koalas...
That's the first thing most people think of when you mention Australia, right?
We couldn't travel all the way to Australia and not meet some of the country's most well known furry residents. Ava had seen kangaroos and koalas on many occasions before our move to California, but for Lola and Mathilde these marsupials were just something they'd seen in books or on tv. So, during our time in our home city of Adelaide we headed to the hills and visited Cleland Wildlife Park.
Cleland Wildlife Park has been a firm favorite with South Australian families and visitors for decades. Most of my friends back home have a photo of themselves patting a kangaroo there as a baby or toddler. There's one of my mum holding me next to a kangaroo when I was a baby in an old photo album. I really wish I'd thought to make a copy of it while we were at my parents' house so I could share it with this post.
Cleland is a great place for an up close animal experience. Rather than being behind a fence like in a zoo, the kangaroos and wallabies here are in a large field area that visitors can walk around in along side of the animals. Visitors are free to pat the animals in this area which includes emus as well as the kangaroos and wallabies.
Inquisitive potoroos (which look like a mini kangaroo crossed with a mouse) scurry around all throughout the park approaching visitors in the hope that they'll have food. We didn't have any food for them but they still came up to sniff our hands.
Cape Barren geese also walk around freely, much to the delight of Mathilde who kept screaming "Duck, duck, duck!" while pointing with her pointing finger!
The more dangerous animals (Tasmanian devils and dingoes) are kept in secure enclosures for the safety of visitors. The Tasmanian devils were hiding when we visited this time, however when we visited a few years back we saw them during feeding time and trust me, you don't want to be near a hungry devil!
The koalas are also kept in a secure enclosure, but in this case it's for their safety rather than ours. Visitors can get up close to pat a koala and pose for photos with it throughout the day.
Cleland Wildlife Park is such a wonderful place to visit if you're in Adelaide. The Adelaide Hills are lovely at any time of year but I especially enjoy visiting during Autumn or Winter when everything is green and lush.
For more information about visiting Cleland Wildlife Park visit their website here.