Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Australia
Those of you who follow my Sandwich Blog know that I spent some time eating through Adelaide and Brisbane. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I made it a point to visit a couple wildlife reserves while in Australia. While in Adelaide, I had a choice between the very close Adelaide Zoo or the Cleland Wildlife park just outside the city. I ultimately decided on Cleland and hopped on a bus. From the Central Market area of the city, it took about 40 minutes on the Metro with a quick ten minute stop at the Mount Lofty Summit:
The bus is probably the cheapest way to get there and the Wildlife park has it’s own bus stop: ‘Stop 27 – Cleland Wildlife Park. There are a handful of buses leaving the park back to the city, so be sure to take that into account. Don’t forget that there is a free bus that goes throughout central Adelaide, so you can use that to find the best place to get picked up.
Cleland Wildlife Park info
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5 PM everyday (except Christmas). Entry stops at 4:30 PM
- Adult admission: $25 AUS
- Child (4-15 years old): $12 AUS
- Family (2 adults, 2 kids or 1 adult, 3 kids): $60 — If you have more children, it’s a %50 discount on each child admission after that
- Adult Package (10 or more): $21 AUD per person
Things to do at Cleland
Cleland Wildlife Park’s open spaces make for a much more interactive experience than Lonepine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. There is a small indoor area where you can look at rodents and snakes indigenous to South Australia but the real charm of Cleland lies along it’s walking path. The park is deceptively big so plan your time accordingly, especially if you plan on feeding animals and taking pictures. Be sure to pick up a bag of feed at the front desk for $3! There are also experiences you can book to enhance your experience at the park:
Meet and hold a koala
For $30 AUS, you can hold a koala and take pictures with it. The window to hold them is between 2pm – 3:30pm and it can change in the interest of the koala’s health. Try to get in and do it, but if you can’t, there’s plenty of other things at the park to enjoy. Don’t want to spend $30? You can also take a photo with a koala, free of charge
This is open 11am – 12pm and 2pm-4pm daily. I took full advantage of the free koala close-up:
That Koala isn’t taking any of my BS, but I’m sure he won’t be as disgusted by your behavior as he is with mine.
Meet the Birds
Normally I curse birds because they seem to have impeccable aim when it comes to pooping on my car (and me on occasion, usually when I’m walking out of a KFC); but one of the most interesting experiences at Cleland is walking through its many bird habitats. A lot of the birds can also be fed, so save some feed for them!
Breakfast with the Birds
For $90 AUD, you can book breakfast with the birds. Come before the park opens (8 a.m.) and experience the birds at their most vocal with a guide. Food is provided from the Cleland Cafe. There are some conditions that apply (for example, it’s a minimum of 2 people for this). You can find more info on the Cleland Park website.
From 12pm-1pm you have the opportunity to hold one of the many reptiles in the park. I didn’t get a chance to do this, but it is one of the cheaper experiences at the park. Like the Koala Hold, you get a printed photo with the experience. It’s $15 AUD for the hold with a printed photo and $25 AUD for a photo on a USB drive.
Walk the Park
You don’t have to pay for any extra experiences to enjoy Cleland, I didn’t, and I had a great time (I make it a point to wake up at 1 in the afternoon so everything was over when I got there). The only thing that I suggest you buy is the bag of feed for the animals in the park (it’s cheap). It was raining when I walked the park and it was almost empty-NOTE: if you happen to go in to summer be sure to invest in some good sunscreen; the UV rays are powerful in Australia and you’re outside most of the time.-
One of my favorite experiences was feeding the kangaroos and wallabies in the park, I even think I bonded with some of them.
The rain poured on and off while I walked the pathways, when it got bad I ran under this roof and found a friend. She was obviously suspicious of me (Probably because of my American Accent); but we bonded over a mutual appreciation of food.
For the Record, that animal feed was reminiscent of an old dried risotto I found in my fridge one night. Don’t ask me how I know that. I spent a lot of time with my new friend, talking about life and getting “leg day” workout tips. When she got bored of me, she left, and I moved on. Not all the animals at Cleland are my friends though, This one made it awkward when I got insulted by one of his jokes.
Look at him. Trying to act like he didn’t say all that stuff. Way to make it awkward, Kangaroo.
Despite the stern conversation I had with my furry colleague, we both left salty at each other. Other than that, the whole park was an absolute blast. If you’re visiting Adelaide it’s a must when you’re not drinking down all the great wine in South Australia. You can also check out the Adelaide zoo for some animal experiences, but it is a little more expensive.
While you’re there, be sure to check out Adelaide’s China town and the Central Market, your stomach will thank you.