As we were driving back to Adelaide from the popular coastal town of Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula we saw Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Almost every other time we have been to Victor Harbor this same scenario has occurred. “Look”, one of us would say, “there’s Urimbirra. We should call in there some time!” This time the response was “we have time, lets do it now!”
Where is Urimbirra Wildlife Park
Located just north of Victor Harbor, approximately 80km from the centre of Adelaide, Urimbirra Wildlife Park is hard to miss with a great big sign on the corner.
About Urimbirra Wildlife Park
Urimbirra Wildlife Park is a privately run open range reserve. It’s only a small little park, but that is a lot of the appeal as it is not at all crowded. We were there late in the afternoon on a clear winters day and there would have been no more than thirty people in the park. This meant the opportunity to interact with the animals without queues or hurrying to allow other a turn. It was also nice to see that the animals weren’t overwhelmed by the number of people around.
The setting of the park is quite open, with large, leafy enclosures, many just like fields for the visitors to walk through. There is also a walk through aviary for some of the birds too. I was actually surprised at the lack of tall intrusive fencing, and we did have a discussion wondering how the kangaroos didn’t wander off, but I guess their life mustn’t be too bad if they stick around.
Overall I quite enjoyed this visit. Of course native Australian animals are not new or unusual to me, but I liked being able to interact with some and get quite close to others without the crowds. Entry fees are inexpensive, and only an hour or so is needed to wander through the park and enjoy the animals at a leisurely pace. It surely must also be the cheapest wildlife park to get close to koalas in Australia – or at least if there is a cheaper one, I am not aware of it. I recommend this as a great budget option to see Australian native animals, and you should not miss it if your are already visiting Victor Harbor.
The Urimbirra Animals
Almost all of the animals at Urimbirra Wildlife Park are Australian natives. You will find all the popular, larger animals such as kangaroos, koalas, emus, wombats, dingoes and echidnas.
The kangaroos were spread throughout the property and were happy to come up to visitors to interact and be hand fed. Some of them were quite large compared to the kangaroos I have seen in other wildlife parks. We were lucky enough to see a joey (baby kangaroo) hopping around, looking like he was just learning how to use his legs.
We saw five koalas. Three of them were in the enclosure where people were invited in to pat them (I will talk more about this later) and two were in another nearby enclosure. They were all being their usual cute selves, curled up in balls looking adorable.
The wombats were hiding in their holes, and the dingo was playing hide and seek with us though the long grass as he poked his head up to check us out before stretching out in the sun again.
We saw two emu, and they both came straight over to us! I’ve grown up with emus, and I know they are not always friendly, so they seemed quite intimidating as they made a beeline for me. It works out they like to be hand fed, so they were just coming to see if we had any food.
Echidna are my favourites, and I just loved watching one little guy sticking his nose into lots of nooks and crannies along a fence line looking for bugs to eat.
You will also find many species of birds, lizards and snakes. Some of my favourites were the kookaburra, tawny frogmouth and of course the colourful and noisy parrots – most of whom were not residents of the park just frequent visitors after a meal.
There are also some common farm animals such as sheep and alpacas, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. We saw two of the cutest young lambs frolicking happily until mum told them to behave! There were peafowl wandering around two, commonly perching on the rooftops of the other enclosures with just their long tails hanging over the edge.
All up there are over 400 animals so see at Urimbirra Wildlife Park.
Urimbirra Wildlife Experiences
One of the benefits of coming to Urimbirra Wildlife Park rather than going to some of the other, larger parks in the area are that you can get up close and personal with some of the animals for absolutely no extra cost (other than some animal food).
All day you can hand feed the kangaroos and emus. The kangaroos just love the attention and will happily come up to you for food. While you are close to them, see if you can spot the two different species that live within the park. The park also encourages you to try to get the best selfie you can with the kangaroos while you are feeding them, and share it with the #kangarooselfie hashtag.
The main attraction though is the opportunity to pat the koalas. Three times a day, at 11am, 2pm and 4pm, visitors can enter the koala enclosure and pat the koalas. During our visit there were about thirty people patting and taking photos with the koalas. As I said above, the enclosure had three koalas in it, but one of them decided to stay up high, happily snoozing while all of the activity happened below him. Probably about half of the visitors were from overseas, and it was lovely to see how excited they were to get so close to the koalas. Some of the kids were a bit rowdy, but mostly everyone played by the rules, took turns, and had a pleasant experience.
Because we were there at 4pm, we were also able to see the snake handling session. A carpet python is brought out so that it can be touched too. Neither the snake nor the koals are actually held, but it is possibly to get right next to them for photos.
Urimbirra Wildlife Park Prices & Opening Hours
Urimbirra is open every day (including public holidays) from 10am to 5pm.
Entry fees are: adults $14, students & seniors $10, children (4-14 years) $7
Bags of animal food are available from the shop on entry for $1 per bag.
Looking for more to do in South Australia? These might give you some ideas
Experiencing the South Australian Steam Train Rides
Things to do in Adelaide
A Day at Monarto Zoo
Want even more? – I have created a Facebook Group to answer any questions you may have about travel in South Australia. We can help with any queries you have, make further suggestions and provide the latest information. Click here to join now.
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.