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Softfoot Marsupial Sanctuary Softfoot Sanctuary Review

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Sunbear12, 9 Jan 2019.

  1. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    14 Feb 2012
    Softfoot Marsupial Sanctuary

    Softfoot Marsupial Sanctuary is a facility located in the Hindmarsh Valley in South Australia roughly an hour from the capital city of Adelaide. On Sunday I went and visited for their nocturnal tour which is the only way to see the collection of animals they currently hold.

    Softfoot as I shall henceforth refer to it is not a new facility. Animals have been kept on the site for over 10 years, but it was only earlier this year that they begun offering tours to the public. The site is primarily an alpaca farm. The property totals 600 acres. The majority of there animals are held in large predator proof enclosures and there is also what they refer to as an intensive breeding facility.

    So on to the tour. At present it begins at around 8.30pm though this changes to match sunset across the year. Arriving at the farm you go up a driveway to a small building which serves as the visitor centre. Once inside you are meet by your guide. Mine was a friendly young gentleman named Barnaby who did amazing job especially considering it was his first tour.

    One thing I really appreciated was that as you arrive you are offered a drink from a rather extensive selection including coffee, soft drink and house made wine along with a selection of biscuits. While not life-changing it was nice to see a high level of service especially as the park is rather out of the way (ie. It took me 2 hours to drive there so I was quite thirsty). It is also not a cheap tour coming in at $75 for the 2 hours.

    Following your drink, the guide takes you out to put on a helmet and get in to the all-terrain buggy’s in which you take the tour. Each buggy seats 5 people comfortably and as such each group of 5 gets your own guide though they can have up to 20 people on the tour between their 4 buggy’s.

    As it was not yet dark (its currently getting dark just after 9pm in Adelaide) our guide offered to take us down to see the alpacas before going to see the marsupials. The farm currently runs around 200 head of alpaca but at times has run up to 2000.

    Leaving the alpaca paddock it was still not dark so we were taken up to the latest development. This is a 52-acre predator proof paddock which currently in the final stages of being prepared for the release in to it of a range of macropods. This will be a rather exciting addition that should get softfoot a bit more notice with some exciting species planned to be housed as this area is developed further with some more smaller enclosures planned within

    From here we went down to visit the wetlands which have been built by the owners. For a man-made wetland this space was quite large consisting of 2 lakes joined by a man-made river. It has been stocked with a range of cod, turtles etc. and a range of bird species have made it home.

    After this we were taken to the first part of the typical nocturnal tour. This was the billabong sanctuary. This space is 15 acres and is surrounded with a high fence with a floppy top to keep out predators which is helped along by 2 high voltage electric wires. Once inside we quickly saw some brush tailed bettongs, Tasmanian pademelons, tammar wallabies and long nosed potoroo. We went for a short walk through the area to view more of the animals before getting back on the buggy to go to the intensive breeding area.

    On the way we passed 2 multi-acre enclosures which were housing groups of tiger quolls at the time.

    The intensive breeding facility is home to a range of smaller marsupial species which the facility is working to breed. The first portion is a 6-metre-tall roughly domed structure. This is separated internally and has 3 enclosures for tiger quoll down one side and 4 enclosures for groups of squirrel and sugar gliders along with some Southern brown bandicoots. To begin with the tour guide feed the quolls providing a good view of them. This is also where koalas which the park has rescued are housed while undergoing pre-release care.

    At the end of this area is a large aviary in which guests are taken. This is home to roughly 15 squirrel gliders, a group of ringtail possums and many southern brown bandicoot. In this enclosure you are given some almonds which you can feed to the possums and bandicoots.

    Next to the domed structure a second row of aviaries has been built which includes another group of enclosures (roughly 6 I didn’t count exactly). In this row we were taken to see the brushtail possum pair which have recently had a baby and then an elderly quoll. Interestingly at the time the brushtail possums had a goose living with them which was recently found in the bedroom of an apartment in the Adelaide CBD.

    Leaving here you are taken to visit the alpaca shearing shed and the farm’s great hall which are both interesting buildings before finally going back up to the visitor centre where you are once again offered a drink and some finger food while you can browse the gift shop.

    In the end our tour ran over taking 3 hours but that was fine. It was a highly enjoyable experience even though there was very few species it is an interesting facility laid out in a way that is unique amongst the 30 or so facilities I have toured across Australia. It also has lots of potential and no shortage of room to grow and it will be interesting to watch it continue to grow in the coming years. If you are in the area I certainly recommend a visit.
  2. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member 10+ year member Premium Member

    29 Oct 2013
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Thanks for the review- sounds like an interesting place!:)