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Zooboy28 in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by zooboy28, 25 Mar 2013.

  1. Sunbear12

    Sunbear12 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for reminding me about the lyrebird aviary electus parrot. I used to love visiting that while I waited for my lunch at the cafe.

    Also I agree about the peaceful area that used to exist it was wonderful to escape with the hoofstock in that corner of the zoo. You can still experince this to some extent where the maras are now.

    On the dramatic price rise I think it was insane as to see 2 new animals the price went from around $20 to $35 at least somebody now found some sense and dropped it to $31.50.
    I once did some math using figures from the presidents message in a Zoo Times magazine. I worked out that between 2001 and the pandas arrival the zoos operating expenses had gone up $13 million to 21 million dollars. I thought that was absolutely insane.
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Remaining Adelaide Attractions

    This post summarises the other (wildlife-related) attractions we visited in Adelaide, on multiple days.

    Adelaide Botanical Gardens: The gardens are located just north of the CBD and are very nice – the highlight being a stunning Madagascan collection. This represents lemur habitat much more accurately than any of the country’s zoos do (even Taronga). A new area, featuring a large wetland display is under construction and looks like it will be a very interesting feature. Among the plantings were a good number of birds, including various waterfowl and parrots. The Adelaide Zoo is adjacent to the gardens, just past a massive grey-headed flying-fox colony.

    South Australian Museum: This is the State museum, and is located in the CBD. Entry is free. It is not particularly large, but its five floors house some very nice exhibits, including the world’s largest Aboriginal culture collection, a small Ancient Egypt display, and a whole lot about natural history. The ‘World Mammals’ exhibit is one of the first encountered, and is quite interesting, full of old, mostly badly-stuffed, specimens (many from Adelaide Zoo) grouped biogeographically. The South Australian biodiversity gallery is huge, and very well done, with the collection including representatives of almost everything that lives in the state (including a couple of the species I am working on!). I don’t think there were any live exhibits, although there could have been some invertebrates.

    Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens: These gardens are located near the summit of Mount Lofty, which overlooks the city from the Adelaide Hills. The site is very steep, but houses a beautiful collection, which we only saw a small part of. The steepest part is a series of gullies, each housing a different group of plants – rhododendrons, magnolias, ferns – or plants from different regions – South America, Western Asia, South-East Asia. As well as the stunning gardens, there were also a large number of birds present, although most were fairly common species.

    Port River Dolphin Trail: North of the Adelaide CBD is Port Adelaide, through which the Port River (really an estuary) runs. The port area is rather historic, and features a number of beautiful old buildings, as well as the start of the Port River Dolphin Trail (brochures with map available from the information centre here). This is one of the best places to see the resident Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. The driving trail then takes you out to Garden Island, where a long pier runs along the mangrove shore, with views over the water and mangroves, allowing for great bird watching, and (theoretically) good dolphin viewing. The trail also takes you to the coast, where there are some stunning beaches, but we unfortunately didn’t spot any dolphins anywhere.

    Overall, Adelaide is a really beautiful city, and I think nicer than both Melbourne and Sydney.
     
  3. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Adelaide is a large country town. :D It's too hot too regularly for me, and international events (like tennis, musicals, rock superstars etc) often give it a miss. It's too quiet! Nice to visit, but I wouldn't like to live there.
     
  4. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

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    (Not zoo related) Zooboy, did you also go to the outskirts of Adelaide such as the Barossa Valley, Hahndorf (German village), etc? I have always heard that Adelaide was a 'boring' city with not much to do but you make it sound like a nice place to visit.
     
  5. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if you went inside the modernistic glass house, but last time they had pittas and maybe other birds at liberty within it, also some invert exhibits as well.

    Also I rather liked an old building that housed a 19th century exhibit on the "uses of plants". A throw back to a time when everything had to have a material use to humans if it was to be seen as having any value at all.
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think its too quiet for me, and I could always just visit Melbourne if there was a big act I did want to see. I think large country town probably suits me more than sprawling metropolis. The city is beautiful and green, and it seems like there are many more green spaces than in Melbourne and Sydney. The temperature would be a problem though.
     
  7. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I spent a day exploring the Barossa Valley, which was really nice. We stopped at lots of small towns (and a few wineries, olive places, a farmer's market, fair, etc.), which was really nice. Stunning old buildings out there, and everyone was really friendly. We spent literally an hour at the olive place, talking with the owner and trying stuff, and I don't even like olives! We also drove round the Adelaide Hills a bit, which was all very nice country.

    There were also lots of great food places in the city, my favourite was a Thibetan/Nepalese restaurant, which was pretty interesting, never had that sort of food before!

    There was also heaps of stuff we could have done but didn't, including Kangaroo Island, and exploring that region down there, and visiting Cleland Wildlife Park and Humbug Scrub Sanctuary. There really are a lot of wildlife attractions in that area really.
     
  8. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I did go inside the big conservatory, but I think it had been changed recently, there were signs up saying that entry was now free and some sort of empty reception area. I saw no birds or live displays in there, or signs for any animals. That would have been cool though.

    We skipped the Museum of Economic Botany - I'm guessing that was what you meant? It was in a beautiful old building.
     
  9. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Yes the Museum of Economic Botany - a real throwback.

    It has been 2 years since I was last there - obviously things have changed. Sad the live exhibits have disappeared. No doubt a cost cutting exercise, as I doubt they made much on admission to the conservatory when they did charge.
     
  10. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Are conforming and giving gold coin donations now? :p
     
  11. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    What? I didn't pay anything. ..
     
  12. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Hahah. I know I know! :p
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day Two Hundred and Forty-seven:

    5/11/2013. Today we had to drive the 750km from Adelaide back to Melbourne, as well as visit one of the largest zoos in Australia – at least in area. This, of course, was Monarto Zoo, conveniently located near the road we were travelling, about an hour from Adelaide. Monarto is one of Australia’s three open range zoos, and is run by Zoos South Australia, who also run Adelaide Zoo. We arrived ten minutes before the zoo opened.

    The entry system for Monarto Zoo is rather complex. Basically, you drive in, through a quarantine gate that is only open when something is driving through it. And on the other side of the gate is the ticket booth, so only one vehicle can go in at a time. Fortunately this doesn’t take very long for cars, and there were only three cars ahead of us. Unfortunately this takes very long for buses of school kids, of which there were three that arrived after us, but got to go in first. So despite arriving before opening, we didn’t actually get in until 30 minutes after opening. We did get in free though, again with our Zoos Victoria memberships.

    We then drove down to the visitor’s centre, from which we could explore much of the zoo on foot, and the rest via safari buses. We set off on foot and saw the three enclosures nearest the visitors centre – meerkats, yellow-footed rock wallabies and chimpanzees, as well as wild shinglebacks all over the place. I agree with all the praise that has been heaped on the chimp exhibit, it’s certainly the best I’ve ever seen!

    The day was already very warm, over 30C, so we set off to down the ridge track, which gave views of many of the zoo’s ungulate exhibits, although many of the inhabitants were tricky to spot, and always distant (although also usually in large herds, which was great). After a half hour walk we arrived at the waterhole, which has a Tasmanian devil enclosure. On arrival, we were flagged down by some keepers in a 4WD who said to wait at the building to be picked up by a coming bus, as some dangerous animals had escaped.

    That’s actually what they said. Before racing off in a cloud of dust.

    Another couple were also waiting at the building, and when the minibus arrived we were stuffed in the back, with a party of primary school kids in the front singing wheels on the bus. We were then whisked back to the visitors centre, passing several 4WDs with armed keepers heading in the opposite direction. The van driver mentioned that the escaped animals were in fact lions. We waited half an hour in the visitor’s centre, along with the other hundred or so visitors, before whoever was in charge announced that it had been a drill, and that we all had done really well.

    After that we boarded a safari bus that took us around the entire park loop, which was actually really good. We got great views of the giraffe (who looked inside the bus), the lion cubs, and reasonable views of the rest of the zoos (mostly African) hoofstock and carnivores. One of the most surprising things for me was the African wild dog/spotted hyena exhibits, which were immediately adjacent to each other, separated only by a single mesh fence. Do many/any other modern zoos have different large carnivore species so close to each other? I haven’t seen this before.

    The bus dropped us back at the visitor’s centre, but we didn’t have time to go back to the waterhole and explore the rest of the zoo on foot – I think seeing the giraffe exhibit from the boardwalk, and getting up to the rhino and cheetah exhibits would have been great, but we didn’t have time (due to the 1.5 hours wasted on slow entry and the drill). So we left at about 12.30, and spent the next nine hours driving home after our first trip to South Australia. On the way our car’s odometer ticked over to 200,000 km.

    Overall, Monarto is a beautiful zoo, which does its exhibits brilliantly. Sadly there are only a few, with only 23 species on display. Signage (at the four enclosures you view on foot only) is extremely good, definitely world-class. The zoo would probably be better with more enclosures near the visitor’s centre to give people more to look at before getting on the buses, hopefully these will come in time. It would also be good to have an Asian hoofstock part of the zoo, ideally with some new species (I’m thinking elephants would be good).
     
  14. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Nice review. The thing I enjoyed most about the walks was the native wildlife you see. I saw my first wild Diamond Firetails here.

    :p

    Hix
     
  15. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Hix. I enjoyed the walks, but it was a bit too warm for me that day, and we didn't see many birds (except the really common stuff). Weren't really looking to be honest. We did see lots of shinglebacks though, which are the most ridiculous lizards, and very fun to watch. There were a couple chasing each other around, which was very funny to watch.
     
  16. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Day Two Hundred and Seventy-eight

    6/12/2013. My first ever actual conference that I spoke at was the 52nd Australian Society for Limnology conference held at the University of Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (which is the capital of Australia, carved into the state of New South Wales). Canberra is one of those cities that was designed rather than evolved, so its layout is easy to navigate. Among the city’s attractions are the National Gallery, Parliament and the National Zoo & Aquarium, all of which I visited with some other students on our last day before we drove back to Melbourne.

    The National Zoo & Aquarium has only been open fifteen years (started in 1998), but is one of the larger privately owned zoos in Australia, and appears to be currently undergoing significant expansion. We arrived just before opening, but were allowed in anyway, after paying the rather high $31 entry fee for students ($38 for adults). I think this is too high for the attraction we visited, although it may have been justified had the aquarium been open.

    Due to its young age, the zoo doesn’t have a large accumulation of species, but the ~45 species that were on display had generally large, good to excellent enclosures, with no poor quality exhibits present. The most interesting enclosure was for the snow leopards. This was a large, well-planted cage, with a visitor’s boardwalk running across a gully with cage either side and below. I think this was good for both visitors and cats.

    The main species at the zoo are the carnivores, with a great number on display – snow leopards, lions, Sumatran tigers, cougars, cheetah, sun bears, Eurasian brown bears and dingoes, as well as four species of small carnivores – in fact, I think this zoo has more carnivore species (12) than any other zoo in Australia! Unless you count pinnipeds, which of course you would, in which case it comes third. Still these are all displayed well, either across moats or through glass, or from a very elevated boardwalk for the tigers.

    The other areas of the zoo include some nice enclosures for primates, a small African plains exhibit with a giraffe and two zebra (due for massive expansion in the near future), a small Australian section with common species (including a very nice little penguin enclosure), and that’s it. So it’s not a huge zoo, but what is there is nice. Currently under construction are a series of lodges, which look interesting, and the African expansion and a siamang exhibit are planned. I would have liked to seen the aquarium, so I’ll definitely be back to explore that when it re-opens.
     
  17. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Nope.

    :p

    Hix
     
  18. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Haha, alright. Is it pretty small? Any good species? It still hasn't reopened. What do you think of the National Zoo?
     
  19. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    We did an animal feeding tour a few years ago at National Zoo and loved it! We fed a tiger, a lion, cougars, a brown bear, elands, giraffes, otters, and probably a few others.
     
  20. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    It's a nice little zoo for Canberra. But when you have a name like "National Zoo", it sounds more like a government run facility, and you would expect much more native wildlife.

    The aquarium is OK, but nothing outstanding. The Snow Leopard enclosure is the best enclosure in the park, although it's damned hard to see the occupants!

    And you should have seen some eland with the giraffes and zebras.

    :p

    Hix