The cleansing fragrance of eucalypts in the koala enclosure is a pleasant relief after the whiffy odour of bird poo, though that’s a small price to pay for their cheerful chorus that echos among the trees at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Unfortunately, it’s illegal to hold a koala in NSW – much to the dismay of many tourists, but at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney’s Doonside, they make it easy to get up close and personal with a koala whose butt is safely wedged in a branch as it munches on fresh eucalypt leaves – you can even give it a pat. All day, every day. And you can take your own photos.
Featherdale has come a long way from its origins as a chicken farm. Now the seven acre site sits like a green oasis in the middle of suburbia, completely surrounded by houses. It was those residents, among others, who saved the park from redevelopment in 1975, something we can all be grateful for. There’s nothing like the excitement of little (and not-so-little) kids feeding their first kangaroo or finding a tawny frogmouth sitting on a branch at their eye-level.
The award-winning park (also a finalist in the 2011 Great Sydney Tourism Awards – you can vote for the Peoples Choice Award here) brings storybook Aussie animals to life – like jabirus, brolgas and emus. You can scratch a wombat’s back, feed the kangaroos, and hold a lizard. Watch out for peacocks who randomly flash their dazzling feathers, and don’t miss fairy penguin feeding time as they mob the fish-filled esky.
During the July school holidays you can meet the seven gorgeous little dingo pups, born mid-May, before they are relocated to other parks around Australia. Look out for the numerous albino animals too.