How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this icon­ic park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this one-day itinerary.

Look­ing for some­thing fun to do with the kids this week­end? How about a vis­it to one of South Australia’s most famous nation­al parks – Cle­land Wildlife Park.

Just a short dri­ve up the free­way from Ade­laide, Cle­land is an Ade­laide insti­tu­tion. It’s a place where vis­i­tors can get up-close and per­son­al with some of Australia’s most lov­able wildlife and intrigu­ing reptiles.

To help you plan your vis­it, here are some ideas on how to spend a day in the park:

Before you go

Get your bear­ings and pre­pare for a fun day out for the whole fam­i­ly. The park is locat­ed just 25 min­utes from the Ade­laide CBD, which you can eas­i­ly reach by tak­ing the South East­ern Free­way to the Crafers exit, then fol­low­ing Sum­mit Road to the Cle­land turn-off. There is plen­ty of free parking.

Make sure you wear your walk­ing shoes, and pack a hat and sun­screen. Spread over 35 hectares, the park is prob­a­bly big­ger than you expect – although there is plen­ty to see with­in a short walk of the main entrance too.

Check out the Cle­land web­site to find out every­thing you need to know before your trip. You can even book your expe­ri­ence before you go so you don’t miss out!

When you get there

With the eas­ing of COVID-19 restric­tions, Cle­land has been able to rein­tro­duce many of its most loved expe­ri­ences, includ­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to hold a koala.

There’s even a whole range of new, nev­er offered before’ expe­ri­ences. From birds to snakes and echid­nas, this is your chance to meet some of the less­er known res­i­dents of the park.

Here are our rec­om­men­da­tions to fill your day:


Have break­fast with the birds

If you are a keen twitch­er, you can start your day before the park even opens.

Break­fast with the Birds is an exclu­sive tour with an expe­ri­enced bird keep­er, timed for when the birds are most active.

You’ll be able to feed var­i­ous species of birds, take pho­tographs undis­turbed by oth­er vis­i­tors and while the birds are at their most relaxed, and then enjoy a relaxed break­fast at the Bark­ing Gecko Café.

Top tip: read our sto­ry for all the details on this unique expe­ri­ence, includ­ing which birds you’re like­ly to see: Your guide to Cleland’s exclu­sive bird tour.

Explore the park

After you’ve had your fix of birds and brekkie, grab a map and get exploring!

Cle­land is famous for its lim­it­ed num­ber of enclo­sures, which means many of the ani­mals are roam­ing free.

This is your chance to see, pat, feed and pho­to­graph kan­ga­roos, emus, pota­roos and wal­la­bies in their nat­ur­al habitat.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

The best way to get up close to some of the most icon­ic native ani­mals is to grab a bag of ani­mal food and see who’s hun­gry and want­i­ng to say hi.

Grab a take­away cof­fee from the café and wan­der down to the yel­low foot­ed rock wal­la­by enclosure.

Here you can take in one of the most amaz­ing views of Ade­laide, all the way to the North­ern beach­es and beyond. It’s the per­fect place to sip on your morn­ing cof­fee, while watch­ing the ear­ly morn­ing sun dance off the city land­scape and the water in the distance.

For some­thing tru­ly spe­cial, book one of the park’s ani­mal encoun­ters. You could feed a group of curi­ous echid­nas, get up-close and per­son­al with the park’s res­i­dent cock­a­toos, or expe­ri­ence the thrill of walk­ing amongst the but­ter­flies.


Stop off at the Bark­ing Gecko Café

Cleland’s onsite café is not only filled with a vari­ety of tasty menu items made from local­ly sourced ingre­di­ents, it’s tick­ing all the sus­tain­abil­i­ty box­es as well.

The café achieved zero waste to land­fill for the first time last year, and now ensures all waste from the café is either recy­cled, com­post­ed or divert­ed into Process Engi­neered Fuel (PEF) renew­able ener­gy. So you can fill up and do the right thing by the envi­ron­ment at the same time!


Head along to a keep­er talk

Once you’ve fin­ished lunch, it’s time to plan your after­noon around a vari­ety of free keep­er talks.

They’re all locat­ed with­in a short walk of each oth­er, so start at the din­go enclo­sure (2:30 pm) before walk­ing up to either join the Tas­man­ian dev­il (3 pm) or lace mon­i­tor (3:15 pm) keep­er talks. There’s also a wet­lands feed at 11:30 am if you’re vis­it­ing ear­li­er in the day.

These infor­ma­tive talks are a great way to learn more about these ani­mals and how the keep­ers care for them.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

Take part in a koala experience

Koala expe­ri­ences are back! Cleland’s beloved koalas are look­ing for­ward to meet­ing vis­i­tors to the park and there are sev­er­al ways you can meet them.

You can meet, touch and pho­to­graph a koala while they sit on their perch. This is a great way to get up close while you chat to one of the koala keep­ers. This expe­ri­ence is free with entry but make sure you arrive ear­ly as places are offered on a first come, first serve basis.

Alter­na­tive­ly you can make a book­ing to hold a koala. Cle­land is one of only a few places in the world that offers this expe­ri­ence, mak­ing it very spe­cial indeed. Koala holds are lim­it­ed so it’s rec­om­mend­ed that you book ahead.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

School Hol­i­day Activities

Cle­land cur­rent­ly has a num­ber of school hol­i­day activ­i­ties as well, includ­ing Wild­ifi­ca­tion (a kids only zone) and a Mini Beast tour with Cleland’s Inver­te­brate Coordinator.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park

Or pick up the self-guid­ed trail map at the entry and go an adven­ture with your kids to dis­cov­er ani­mal tracks and the poo they leave behind. See if you can solve the mys­tery poo mis­sion and find out who belongs to the mys­tery track.

After dark

Still going? Why not expe­ri­ence Cle­land in a total­ly dif­fer­ent light (lit­er­al­ly!).

After dark, Cle­land comes alive as potoroos, bet­tongs and bandi­coots for­age for food, bats wake from their day­time slum­ber, and wild pos­sums come search­ing for fun.

Dur­ing a 2‑hour Pri­vate Night Walk the park res­onates with the sounds of noc­tur­nal ani­mals. It’s an expe­ri­ence not to be missed.

For more infor­ma­tion about this icon­ic park, vis­it theCle­land Wildlife Parkweb­site.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Jan­u­ary 2021

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living