Learn Why Cleland Wildlife Park is the Best Zoo in Australia

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

If you want to hold a koala or feed kangaroos then you should do this at the best zoo in Australia, which is Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide, South Australia.

The best zoo in Australia is Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

How to get to the best zoo in Australia - Cleland Wildlife Park

Cleland Wildlife Park is located just 20 minutes away from downtown Adelaide. Wait, "where is Adelaide?" you might be asking yourself.

Adelaide is the biggest city in South Australia. South Australia is where you'll find half of the country's wine production too.

As you take the scenic drive on the M1 highway from downtown Adelaide you'll head towards Mount Lofty. This panoramic mountain is also where Cleland Wildlife Park is located.

If you have time, I recommend that you also check out the Mount Lofty Summit because the views are amazingly good.

Cleland Wildlife Park entrance. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Parking and entry

One of the first things I noticed after parking in the parking lot was the lack of crowds like you might see if you visit the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Less people means more time with the animals!

The entry fee is $25.50 Australian Dollars for adults. For a more detailed listing of fees, please go here. You'll also notice that you can purchase memberships too.

Buy some feed for the kangaroos! (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

After you pay your entry fee, you'll be given a park map and you can also purchase some food, which is packaged in a brown paper bag. I encourage you to purchase a bag so you can feed the kangaroos!

You'll also notice that the entrance to the park is also a gift store, you can wait until after you walk around to shop for souvenirs and gifts. Keep your hands and arms free because you'll need them.

A map of Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide, South Australia. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Once you're inside

Once you're inside Cleland Wildlife Park, open up your map so you can orientate yourself. There's also a bigger map and directions that will point you to the various animals.

You'll be able to see Bettongs, Emus, Wombats, Lorikeets, Tasmanian Devils, Potoroos, wetland birds, Dingoes, forest aviaries, reptiles, Koala's, Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies, and of course kangaroos (Western Grey Kangaroos and Red Kangaroos).

My wife and I wanted to go see the kangaroos first so that's where we headed.

Cleland Wildlife Park has many kangaroos for you to interact with. I say interact because you can actually walk among the various kangaroos in their segregated sections.

A mother Western Grey Kangaroo and her baby in her pouch. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

The Western Grey Kangaroos and Red Kangaroos

If you live in the United States, then you know that the zoo's there are very protective of their animals. You will be challenged to find a zoo where you can actually walk around with animals. That's why Cleland Wildlife Park is the best zoo in Australia because they allow you to do this without supervision!

The friendliest of the kangaroos were the Western Grey Kangaroos. These little guys are shy at first, but once they know you have some feed they will hop right towards you. I think out of all of the types of kangaroos at Cleland Wildlife Park, these were friendliest and most numerous.

You'll see many adults and juveniles hopping around. As you can see in the video above, you'll notice one of these juveniles inside the mother's pouch with either their head or legs sticking out. It's one of the coolest things I've seen.

You'll also see some emus sharing the same open space as the Western Grey Kangaroos. Once they know you have feed, they will walk towards you. Just put some feed into your hand and watch them peck away. It's so cool to feed these beautiful animals!

A very muscular male Red Kangaroo. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

The Red Kangaroos are the bigger of the two kangaroos. They are as big as a human being and very, very muscular. With that being said, you can still wander into their open space to feed them and pet them. The Red Kangaroos weren't as active as the Western Grey Kangaroos, but they are still fun to hang out with and admire.

My wife Nancy petting a koala at Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide, South Australia. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

The koala experience

Besides the kangaroos, the koala experience is probably the other popular attraction. According to the Cleland Wildlife Park website the park, "is one of the few places in Australia where you can get right up close to, and even hold, a koala."

As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, there aren't many people at this park, so that's great news for you if you plan on holding and taking a picture with a koala. There is no additional cost to do this.

If you want to hold a koala, please keep in mind that it's first come, first served with limited space. The daily (Monday to Saturday) koala holding schedule is from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. If you visit during Sundays or holidays there is an additional session between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM.

My wife and I loved holding a koala! We only stood in line for about 20 minutes and there were only about 20 people in line. When it's your turn to hold the kangaroo, the zoo keeper will give you some background information about the koala including it's sex and name. You'll then each get a chance to take photos with your smartphones to share with your friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.

Australia's other unique animals at Cleland Wildlife Park

You'll spend a good amount of time at the best zoo in Australia because not only will you hold koalas and feed kangaroos, but you also get to see some of Australia's other unique marsupials like the rabbit-sized Potoroo, the short-legged Wombat, the dog-like Dingo and the Tasmanian Devil.

Although, not as plentiful as the Australian kangaroos or koalas you'll sporadically encounter the various habitats of these other unique animals. Many are shy and reclusive, but if you have some patience you'll be able to see them and admire them.

Towards the end of the day before you exit Cleland Wildlife Park, you'll have a chance to explore the reptile section of the best zoo in Australia.

Before you go you'll have a chance to purchase some souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family at the Cleland Wildlife Park gift shop.

Have you ever been to Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide? If so, do you agree that it's the best zoo in Australia? Please share your thoughts and reviews below!


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About Digital Nomad Foodie

Digital Nomad Foodie is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area.  He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army and has lived all over the world.  In addition to blogging, he is also a digital nomad working in healthcare.  He writes about his experiences and recommendations in various locations around the world.  His photos and reviews have helped over 79 million people learn about local & exotic destinations plus delicious food and can be seen on InstagramGoogle Maps and Yelp.


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