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Gumbuya Park - a review

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Astrobird, 17 Jul 2015.

  1. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Feb 2013
    Posts:
    189
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Gumbuya Park is situated to the east of Melbourne, on the main freeway that heads to the Gippsland region, approx. 1 hour from Melbourne CBD. It was started in the 70’s as a commercial Pheasant Farm, and then opened to the public in the early 80’s as a tourist park with a display of pheasants and a few other birds and animals, plus several amusement rides. Out the front of the property, visible from the highway is a huge statue of a Golden Pheasant. Recently restored after vandals blew part of it off with explosives, the newly painted pheasant is possibly one of the best of Australia’s “Big” statues.
    Thru out the 80’s & 90’s, the amusement rides such as the toboggan rides, mini golf, bumper cars, water slides etc were possibly the main attraction to the park, with the animals and birds being something to occupy the parents whilst the kids ran wild. However in recent times, the animal side of the park has undergone a makeover, with an incredible increase in the number of native birds and animals on display and several new enclosures added.
    Gumbuya Park is set in a lovely natural bushland setting, I believe they have over 100 acres in total, but the actual area that visitors see is considerably less than that. Visitors pay at the gatehouse (where you are greeted by a female Ecelectus parrot who is happy to come into your car to greet you and have a cuddle) before driving further into the park. The park is well set up for large numbers of people, with facilities for conferences, weddings and school groups, and many picnic or bbq areas set amongst the trees. A feature of the park is the use of the old pheasant sheds, with some of them being used as covered picnic areas, conference rooms, an aboriginal museum (one of the most complete in the country) and one shed is now a covered mini golf area. The animal areas surround these sheds, with the café, playground and amusement rides being situated further down the hill.
    Starting from the carpark beside the “J” shed, there are the 2 aviary style enclosures for Spotted Quoll, an interesting triangle roofed enclosure for water dragons and long necked turtles, and then 2 more aviary enclosures for Grey Headed Flying Fox. Beside these is a large open enclosure for the Koala. These were not visible on the day I visited, but one end of the enclosure is a large shed where the Koala “experiences” take place, and I assume they were in there as the door was open and I could see fresh gum branches inside the shed.
    Visitors can then take a walk around and thru the kangaroo and emu paddocks, until you reach the 2 dingo enclosures. The first has a group of 3 Alpine dingos in 3 colours, white, Black & Tan and the std orange colour, and the second enclosure has a pair of Tropical dingos, both orange coloured. The dingos are taken out on walks around the park, and I met the 3 Alpine dingos on their walk, and they were very friendly and please to be patted etc.
    Beside the dingos is a 5 sided aviary, with the central shelter walls painted in bright coloured murals. Obviously an old aviary, it is furnished with lots of fresh branches and is adequate size, but looks very dated. These aviaries had Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella X 1, Quaker Parrot X 1, Cockatiels in many colours, a trio of Red Jungle Fowl, a young (uncoloured) Golden Pheasant cock, a pair of Silver Pheasant hens and a pair of pied Indian Peafowl.
    The Aviary walk is next – a collection of large enclosures that used to only hold pheasants, but in recent years, they have refurbished the aviaries by raising the roof (which looks a little tacky, as they have used a different wire at the top of the walls) and they removed many of the trees and creepers that used to grow up thru the top of the aviaries. I think they must have also removed some walls, as I remember more aviaries on previous visits. On the down side for me, is the reduction in pheasant species – they now only display Golden (both normal and the Dark throated mutation) Lady Amherst’s, Silver & Reeves’s Pheasant, but on previous visits they also had Ring necked Pheasants in several colours and subspecies, Nepal Kalij and Swinhoes Pheasant. Now they have added many native birds (see the full list below) I did enjoy seeing Galahs in a large planted aviary with Cape Barren Geese and Red Jungle Fowl, and a group of 5 or 6 male & 1 female Ecelectus Parrots with Mountain Shell Ducks, Plumed Whistling Ducks & Guinea Fowl. Other combinations included King Parrots & Reeves’s Pheasants, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Mountain Shell Duck, Guinea Pigs, Alexandrine and Indian Ring Necked Parrots, Red tailed Black Cockatoos & Chuckar Partridge, Green Peacock with a pair of Nankeen Kestrel, and the large walk thru aviary had Indian Peafowl, Guinea Fowl, Muscovy Ducks & a pair of Cape Barren Geese that were making a nest.
    One of the sheds has an excellent museum of Aboriginal artefact and 2 simple cages for Mountain Pygmy Possum. I couldn’t see them as they were all hibernating on the nest boxes, but the keepers said they had 7 or 8 in each cage. The café also has a few home style reptile enclosures for pythons, lizards and frogs, and the keepers also brought out a large Carpet python for a walk & talk session.
    I highly recommend Gumbuya Park - we had a large family get together there, and there were excellent facilities for our large group, a lovely setting and a very nice collection of animals. There were plenty of rides and amusements for the kids and adults who were that way inclined, and at $18 per adult, $9 per child (rides $6 ea) I thought it was reasonably priced for a full days entertainment. I would like to see them go into more exotic animals and birds, but as it is, they have a very rounded collection of natives.
     
  2. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Feb 2013
    Posts:
    189
    Location:
    Melbourne
    List of animals on display

    Tiger Quoll (2)
    Koala (2)
    Grey Headed Flying Fox (4)
    Kangaroo Island Kangaroo (5 or 6)
    Red Kangaroo (1 or 2)
    Eastern Grey Kangaroo (80+)
    Alpine Dingo (3)
    Tropical Dingo (2)
    Guinea Pig
    Wombat
    Tammar Wallaby – Albino
    Brush Tailed Possum – Albino
    Mountain Pygmy Possum
    Alpaca
    Sheep
    Ponies
    Emu
    Galah
    Black Swan
    Domestic Geese
    Domestic Ducks
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Red Collared Lorikeet
    Musk Lorikeet (mutation form)
    Mountain Shell Duck
    Alexandrine Parrot
    Bush Bronze wing Pidgeon
    Eastern Rosella
    Cockatiel
    Red Jungle Fowl
    Indian Peafowl
    Silver Pheasant
    Quaker Parrot
    Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (15+)
    Major Mitchell Cockatoo (6+)
    Little Corella
    Long Billed Corella
    Chuckar Partridge
    Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
    Indian Ring Necked Parrot
    Guinea Fowl
    Golden Pheasant – Dark Throated mutation & Normal
    Plumed Whistling Ducks
    Ecelectus Parrots
    King Parrot
    Reeves’s Pheasant
    Cape Barron Geese
    Red Tailed Black Cockatoo
    Gang Gang Cockatoo
    Muscovy Duck
    Tawny Frog Mouth
    Domestic Turkey
    Silky & Frizzled Chooks/hens
    Nankeen Kestrel
    Green Peacock
    Barn Owl
    Boobook Owl
    Diamond Python
    Carpet Python
    Eastern Water Dragon
    Gippsland Water Dragon
    Green Tree Frog
    =62 species
     
  3. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    129
    Location:
    Canberra, ACT
    Thanks for this review - I have often driven past this place but have never been in. I am rather shocked at them having the pygmy possums - I assume this is part of the breeding program? I guess this means they are the only collection to hold them apart from Healesville (unless the Reptile Park still has them?), and it seems kind of an odd choice. Still, best of luck to them.
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,607
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Gumbuya is a ZAA member and involved in the mountain pygmy possum programme (and I think it is the only other zoo apart from Healesville to hold the species).

    Thanks for the review astrobird, I hadn't heard of this place until now, so shall add it to my zoos to visit list.
     
  5. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Feb 2013
    Posts:
    189
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I've visited Gumbuya a few times over the years and this last time was probably my favourite visit. I actually purchased some pheasants from them once as well. It really is a great place to meet up with extended family, with great facilities in a lovely setting. I recommend a visit for anyone going past or in the general area.
     
  6. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    1,808
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria, Aust
    Gumbuya Park,
    Is now on the market to be sold as a ongoing business.
     
  7. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    646
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Has been sold to a consortium lead by the CEO of Jayco Caravans Gary Ryan.

    Gumbuya Park in for major facelift