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Urimbirra Wildlife Park A timeless country experience

Discussion in 'Australia' started by saline, 5 Apr 2010.

  1. saline

    saline New Member

    26 Mar 2010
    trying to escape
    Urimbirra is an old-fashioned family-owned country wildlife park - with that sort of unpretentious, casual spirit which is pretty much lost in this era of servicing the shareholder.

    Its' name is of Aboriginal origin - meaning "take care of". And that is the spirit of the place. A lot of the animals have been rescued.

    It is set on the outskirts of the fast-expanding resort town of Victor Harbor - a sprawl of lovely bushland, of towering eucalpyts and lakes, with a large population of kangaroos and wallabies.

    Pellets for handfeeding are a cheap addition to the $12 ticket price. Soon one is surrounded by doe-eyed 'roos holding one's hand and enthusiastically nibbling up the food. Some of the roos are more enthusiastic than others, so it is good to keep one's children close. There's at least one sink out in the park - and one might just want to wash the kangaroo spit from the hand.

    I take a lot of Americans to Urimbirra - but I am not sure who loves the experience more.

    Regular koala feeding sessions have the koalas enthusiastically swinging down from their high snoozing spots to be the centre of a queue of photo ops. The keepers stand back, patiently smiling, rather like proud parents. One may stroke the koalas but there is no holding them these days.

    Assorted feeding sessions are spread out through the day. I have never hung around for the croc feeding, although I gather it is quite an attraction.

    I'd rather gaze at the fruit bats. Sadly, their caging prevents one from getting really good photos - but they are intriguing to watch as they hang about upside down wrapping and rewrapping themselves in their wings.

    There is a good nocturnal house, lots of reptiles and a snake-handling session daily. A very contented and handsome pack of healthy dingos lolls and strolls in their own park in the park and there are a couple of wombat sets, one with a glass window into the burrow - and even a new, baby wombat who is hand-reared and friendly.

    I've been thrilled to see the echidnas are out and about in their enclosure and so fascinating to scrutinise up close - being such odd little monotremes.

    I am glad to report the emus are well and truly are fenced off these days - apart from one old fella who is rather antisocial but at least co-operatively demonstrated the emu "bonk" call when I was describing it to my guests.

    Many of Urumbirra's animals have been rescue creatures so they are protected rather than enclosed. The old bird house, for instance, is just that - home to old parrots who have outlived their owners. They are a chatty "hello cocky" group and I have noticed sadly the way one or two of them seems to connect with grey-haired women, as if looking for their old compansions. Oddly, they accompanied in the enclosure by a bush turkey and her massive nesting mound.

    Urimbirra also has a walk-through bird enclosure, too - full of vivid lorikeets and other parrots and doves.

    Cages here and there hold kookaburras, owls and spotted quolls... There is a massive old eagle. I'd like to know his story.

    It is very pleasant to walk through the park along a meandering trail among the vast old gum trees which are a-screech with flocks of wild sulphur crested cocktatoos and corellas. Rosellas pipe and flit aloft along with lorikeets, crows and the incomparable carolling magpies.

    Ducks and peacocks, black swans, spoonbills, Cape Barren geese and assorted visiting water birds abound.

    And there is one grand pelican - a huge old fellow who makes it instantly clear that the Australian pelican is, indeed, the biggest pelican in the world.

    The Park shop is full of better-than-average gifts and souvenirs. The conveniences are good. And the picnic areas seem pleasant and popular for children's birthday parites. There is a cafe which, on Friday and Saturday nights turns into a stunning and immensely popular restaurant specialising in classic, old-fashioned English fare - three-course set-price dinners. It is heavily booked by the locals.

    My Twittering from one of those dinners prompted this review. I was subqeuently accused of writing an advertisement for Urimbirra and I'm afraid I was so affronted, I took the review down. But Simon charmed me back - and, frankly, Urimburra deserves the notice.
    It is a very sweet nature park.
    Last edited: 5 Apr 2010
  2. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands 15+ year member Premium Member

    20 Oct 2008
    Thanks for the review!

    I was at Urumbirra a few weeks ago and will be writing my own review of the park in a couple of weeks. And while my review won't have the same style as yours, it certainly won't contradict your review.

    Welcome to the site!


  3. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member 20+ year member

    18 Oct 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks so much for the review Saline.

    I was hoping to get down to Urimbirra back at Christmas time when I was visiting family back in SA, but unfortunately we ran out of time (and the fact that my camera was broken left me rather depressed about the thought of visiting zoos!).

    I hope you don't mind that I restored the photos you had originally uploaded to the photo gallery - thanks!
  4. Meaghan Edwards

    Meaghan Edwards Well-Known Member

    20 Mar 2008
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Sounds like a lovely place! If I ever do get to go to Australia, I might just check it out :)
  5. Electus Parrot

    Electus Parrot Well-Known Member

    10 Feb 2008
    Adelaide, SA
    Went there on Sunday, have been many times before (due to my parents owning a shack down that way) it is always a very nice day out.