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  #1
Nowra Wildlife Park
Old 03-11-2009

Nowra Wildlife Park is a small fauna park a few hours south of Sydney. I had never been before, and got the opportunity to go yesterday. The route I took was through Mossvale, Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley (very scenic) and I came back by way of Wollongong.

The day started nice and sunny but as I left Kangaroo Valley and passed over Cambewarra Mountain the sun disappeared behind clouds and it stayed that way for the whole visit (Cambewarra Lookout was covered in fog the whole day too). Later in the evening I learnt that the heavy clouds were only on the coast, and when I got back home I found the house quite hot as it had been in the sun all day!

What this means, though, is that all my photos were a bit dull because of the cloud cover. However, it also means there were no shadows so exposures are more even. Most of what I am about to review is illustrated in the photos I have uploaded to the gallery. http://www.zoochat.com/gallery/nowra-wildlife-park/

The Nowra Wildlife Park is situated on the northern shores of the Shoalhaven River. Actually, the park is wedged between the river and a large rock formation/ridge that runs parallel to the river, the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago. The formation isn’t really large enough to call a cliff-face or escarpment, but it is quite high and provides a very scenic, if not spectacular, backdrop. The river also provides some expansive views. Because of this, the park is only about 100 metres wide, but around 500 metres long (those figures are my rough guesstimates – I could be quite wrong!). Also, there are lots of large rocks and enormous boulders sticking out of the ground, some bigger than my two-story house! Many of the exhibits, cages and enclosures have been built around the smaller rocks and boulders to provide some natural furniture or a really solid back-wall to an enclosure. And there is a very high slippery slide running off the top of a large boulder for the kids to get a thrill.

There are two bushwalks through the park at the base of the rock-wall leading through some thick vegetation. The first is called the Hanging Rock Walk because it starts under a very large rock overhang; the second is called the Rainforest Walk and encompasses the rainforest but also crawling through caves formed by fallen boulders. Just after commencing the Rainforest Walk is a sign stating that the tall trees nearby are Giant Stinging Trees – don’t touch the leaves!!!!!

Because this is a fauna park they have the usual natives and very few exotics. The only exotic mammals I saw were Common Marmosets (and some domestics, including Camels), and the only foreign lizard was a green iguana.

The Reptile House was just inside the main entrance. It had six enclosures, which were of adequate size for the animals they were exhibiting:
  • Eastern Bearded Dragons (juveniles);
  • Jungle Carpet Python;
  • Fierce Snake;
  • Frilled Lizard, Centralian Bluetongues and Green Tree Frog;
  • Freshwater Crocodile (juvenile);
  • Broadheaded Snake.

There was also a Carpet Python used in the Reptile Show/Photo Opportunity.

Outside enclosures housed some Eastern Bluetongues and Lace Monitors. The Monitors had a decent sized enclosure with some shrubs and a small tree. The tree had evidence on the trunk of the lizards climbing it.

A large Saltwater Crocodile named John was in a separate enclosure which, although adequate for the animal, I felt was a bit small. Admittedly, it would cost quite a bit to build a decent exhibit, but they have the room and it would be a good drawcard. They just need the funds.

Not faraway I saw Robo-Croc – a metal mechanical crocodile head used in demonstrations to show the power in a crocodile’s jaws. They usually feed it a metal can, or garbage bin or something similar.

There are several small aviaries in the park. These look to be some of the oldest enclosures in the park, but they are still adequate for what they do (and, being a cloudy day, they probably looked even less attractive than normal). One mixed species cage held a pair of Crimson and a pair of Eastern Rosellas, a pair of Sulphur Crests and a pair of Major Mitchells, some Indian Ringnecks, a pair of Brush Turleys, a pied peafowl with no tail, a few galahs, several guinea pigs and several rabbits.

Other aviaries housed Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Bush Thick-knees, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Eclectus Parrots, Emerald Dove, Common Bronzewing and Wonga Pigeon. A sign said there were Sun Conures in with the Green iguana, but I never saw them. A Lorikeet Aviary had Rainbow, Red-collared, Musk and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, and a pair of Masked Plovers on the floor. There was a large yard behind the camel yard with Ostrich, a yard at the base of the rock-face with Cassowary, Emu in the Kangaroo Walkthrough and some Emu Chicks in a small pen of their own. There was also a duck pond with several varieties of domestic ducks, geese and a single Red Junglefowl. Blue Peafowl and Helmeted Guineafowl were free-ranging.

Mammal-wise there was the usual – Eastern Grey Kangaroos (and I thought I saw some Westerns), Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies, Wallaroos, Wombats (Common and Southern Hairy-nosed), some Dingos, and the ubiquitous Koala (I say ubiquitous in reference to their presence in zoos and fauna parks in Australia, not to their status in the wild). Domestic species include goats, ponies and dromedaries, the latter of which there was a baby that was publicly bottlefed every few hours.

Although a cloudy day, there was some native birdlife around – Superb Blue Wrens, Yellow Robins, Dollarbirds, Wattlebirds, Galahs, and Black Duck and Chestnut Teal on the River.

As far as the animals go, with the exceptions of the Salty mentioned above, all the enclosures were of adequate size, they all looked healthy, had plenty of food and fresh clean water. Some of the enclosures had no substrate, just a hard packed ground (Emus, camel, goats, ponies) but getting grass to grow with those guys could be very hard. The dingo enclosure, which backed onto the rock-face, had lots of boulders, rocks, gravel and sand – it would have been nice to see some leaf-litter or mulch amongst some of the rocks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So in summary: despite being smaller than many parks I’ve been too, Nowra Wildlife Park has quite a bit of character, due mainly to the natural environment and the large and open picnic spaces. I stayed for almost three hours, something that surprised me as I normally do a small park in about 45 minutes to an hour. Although having some older cages and exhibits, the park is certainly better than some fauna parks I’ve been too and well worth a visit if you’re in the Nowra area.



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  #2
Old 03-11-2009

Thanks for the detailed review Hixy
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  #3
Old 03-11-2009

Thanks for the review. I just checked out their website and I reckon I learnt more from what you've written here then the website.
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  #4
Old 03-11-2009

From the photo is looks really nice, that rock face is pretty amazing! and to have the river so close is great too!
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  #5
Old 03-11-2009

Thanks for the review Hix, and I can add Nowra to my list of previously unheard of small Aussie wildlife parks.
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  #6
Old 04-11-2009

Thanks for the comments, guys. It's a nice little pak and, on a sunny day, would look even better than the photos depict. That rock-face is something else!

Nowra Wildlife Park scenery



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  #7
Old 05-11-2009

Nice review Hix.

NWP is a park that [in my opinion] will go places.

It has been bought in recent years from long time owners, the Stone family, and is in the process of carving out it's own niche in that area, With Symbio to the north and Mogo to the south, that will require some thought and effort. New owner, Nick, is up to the task and has some good ideas for the future. Like all of us, he only needs time and money to make it all happen!

It is a park that DDZ is happy to network with and your review does it credit.

And that location, with the sun shining on the Shoalheven River and those sandstone cliffs behind it gives it a site that none of the rest of us can match.
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  #8
Old 07-11-2009

Is it really only 5 hectares? Any room to expand?
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  #9
Old 07-11-2009

If there is room to expand, it is only further along the river. Having said that, they currenytly have a large expanse of lawn that could be converted into large paddocks (or have a dozen decent sized aviaries constructed, or one really large walkthrough aviary).



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  #10
Old 11-01-2011

I went today and have to agree that it really is a beautiful location!!
Nothing much to add from what's already here except they now also have a pair of water buffalo, some llama and a trio of very very cute echidnas that all come running from the back for a pat when you walk past.

It's a nice park bit of a hike with little ones to get to the bufallo and camels but enough animals eager for feed that the little guy loved his day!
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  #11
Old 11-01-2011

Did you recognise the llama?
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  #12
Old 11-01-2011

I think it left a week or so before I arrived

Last edited by ZYBen; 11-01-2011 at 05:47 PM..
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  #13
Old 11-01-2011

i forgot to mention the strangest mixed speices i have every seen, they had a flightless male wedge tail sharing a paddock with a blind cassowarry. They didnt pay any attention to each other.
 


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