Cleland Conservation Park conserves a vital area of bushland in the Adelaide Hills, SA. The park features Cleland Wildlife Park, Mount Lofty Summit, and Waterfall Gully. The Mister and I were keen to see Australia's iconic wildlife during our visit & Cleland offers a really authentic, interactive experience in a beautiful & natural environment.
The wildlife park is a beautiful wide open space with room for the animals to roam. I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit terrified of being completely exposed to animals wandering freely, the Kangaroos are large and powerful and I was fully aware that a pissed off 'roo would not be fun to be around. We bought some food from the shop for a small fee as we entered the park and very slowly, carefully and quietly approached a small group of Kangaroos who were lazing in the sunshine. Sitting still with food in our hands, they eventually made their way over to us and fed from our hands. Some were not at all shy about coming over to say hello, others were a little more cautious.
I was completely in awe of just how beautiful the Kangaroos were. I could have sat and watched them all day. I left the Mister to it when it came to feeding the Emus. I am petrified of birds (and winged things in general really) and so a bird that is basically the same size as me was just not happening. I kept a safe distance back and let him carry on with feeding them himself - however after it pecked his hand and made him jump out of his skin, the Mister wasn't quite so keen to feed them either.
There was so much to see, we could easily have spent the entire day there with a picnic. As well as the Kangaroos (several species of) and Emus we got to see an Echidna, Dingo, Rock Wallaby, Pelicans and Koalas as well as a Tasmanian Devil. It was amazing to see them all up close and to be able to touch them after having only ever seen them on TV before, it was such an awesome experience for me and all I could think while I was there was how much my children would love it & how I want to take them to see it all, too.
You are free to wander around the park at your leisure, but Cleland also offers guided day tours of the park in addition to Koala and Reptile petting and holding experiences, wild shows, and night walks. There is a cafe and gift shop on site, and plenty of space for a picnic. The gift shop offers an extensive range of Australian souvenirs, and all manner of books, toys and trinkets - we came home with a toy Kangaroo, Emu & Koala!
Admission was $22 per adult, with child tickets (4-15) priced at $11. You can purchase family tickets for 2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children for $50, with additional children then charged at 50% of the child rate. Concessionary tickets are also available.
I braved touching the snake and lizard that were out in the reptile house, but declined the invitation to hold them as I wasn't feeling quite that brave, neither was the Mister who took these photos from a safe distance. Handling experiences for both the reptiles ($15) and the Koalas ($30) are available at an additional cost to the park admission fees.
The Mister and I both shared lots of photos of our visit to Cleland Wildlife Park on Instagram, feel free to check out our holiday hashtag #ShepsDownUnder to see more pictures of our day out, as well as snaps from the rest of our adventures 'Down Under'.