Approximately 12.6miles/20.3 Kms Northeast of Perth is the fabulous Caversham Wildlife Park, home to various species of Australian animals and birds, and open to the public all year round. It is set within Whiteman Park, which hosts other attractions in the “village” such as a tractor museum and a motor museum.
One beautifully hot and sunny day about a week ago, my friend and I decided to spend a day there, in order to meet and get acquainted with some of the fabulous wildlife this country has to offer. Caversham gets no funding from anywhere other than it’s visitors, and from spending a day there it is quite obvious that the staff really care about and truly look after the animals that call the park their home.
So, very much looking forward to a day where we could hand-feed kangaroos, meet a wombat and touch a possum we set off on our trip. We jumped on a train from the main station in Perth and got off at the train station in Bassendean. From there it was just a short bus journey towards Ellenbrook (approx.. 20 minutes) where we alighted at Whiteman Park. My friend used her Transperth SmartRider card and I bought an old fashioned paper ticket. The Park is within 2 travel zones, so the journey there only cost me $4.40 which is roughly £2.20- much cheaper than it would be at home!
The bus journey was a little interesting, in as much as we seemed to be getting further and further out from civilization (not really knowing for sure where we were headed) and it felt like we were headed towards the outback. I know that when I actually get to see the outback in the future, this will seem ridiculous to me, but it felt like that at the time! The very nice driver shouted to us when we got to Whiteman Park and we got off of the bus, off of the bus and onto the side of a main road that is. In front of us (across the road) was a bus stop for when we would head back towards civilization and behind us was Whiteman Park.
This is where we made our first mistake. As we walked into the park we noticed a sort of shelter, with a sign saying something about a buzzer and a shuttlebus. Now, Irene and I are not the most observant when together (worryingly). We did notice the buzzer and sign at the Park but I guess it didn’t really register, as we were excited and chatting about various things. There was a sign ahead that told us it was a 1.6Km walk into the village, along the footpath. We decided that as the Wildlife Park wasn’t specifically signposted, the village seemed like the best bet to head towards and we started walking. We walked through dry scrubland that resembled something of a tree graveyard. It was a very sunny day and it was beautiful within the Park, it was the first time since arriving that I really felt like I was “In Australia”. This being said, we seemed to be following this footpath for forever, going through various gates and just seeing the same scenery around us. I did joke that we should look for shelter at that point in time because at least once it got dark we would have found a place to hide from any beasties. Eventually another sign appeared which told us we were heading in the right direction and not towards the mussel pool, which was a relief as lets face it, mussels are not all that interesting!
After we had crossed a train track, it became evident that we were nearly at the village and as we began to approach I saw some Kangaroos lazing around in the sun. I got rather excited, as it was the first time I’ve ever seen a Kangaroo and they were just out sunning themselves in the wild. Passing the motor museum and the Tractor exhibit, we spotted a Tourist information centre and decided it would probably be a good idea to pop in there and enquire about where the Wildlife Park actually was.
Once inside, we were greeted by a fabulous Australian lady, who was knitting at the desk. Very friendly, she asked us where we were from and enquired if we needed any help. When we explained that we were looking for the wildlife park she jumped up from the desk looking quite concerned and said “Oh dear, have you walked all this way from the Park entrance?” I have to say, my heart sank at this point, as I was fully expecting her to tell us that we had 1) Somehow missed the wildlife park at the entrance or 2) Made a wrong turn somewhere and needed to walk back the way we came. When we nodded and said yes, we’ve just walked the 1.6Km in the burning sun she smiled, looking amused and asked “did you not see the buzzer for the shuttlebus?” Ah yes, that. Turns out that Caversham Wildlife Park offers a free shuttle bus service to visitors, running from the bus stop to the park itself. She told us to ask for a ride back once we had finished at the park, which we said we definitely would (we didn’t fancy getting lost on that footpath at dusk/after dark) and pointed us across the car park and to the footpath that led to the Animals.
Finally we had arrived! The entrance fee was $26 each and covers pretty much everything once you are inside. You are not charged extra for the shows, Kangaroo food or for taking photos with the animals, which a lot of tourist attractions do. The only reason you would spend money whilst you are there is if you want to buy food from their café (although picnic areas are available), or if you want to purchase a souvenir from the gift shop. With this in mind, I think it’s a really fair price.
We did of course get the basics covered first and bought an ice cream ($4) from the café, which we consumed whilst studying the map of the park. Once the ice creams had well and truly been demolished we headed off and heard a screech coming from one of the enclosures. It was a beautiful green (male) parrot and he had seen Irene from a distance and fallen in love. I’m not even joking here, this bird had his eyes trained on her at all times and would follow her from one end of the enclosure to the other! When she had spent some time talking to him (after realising he didn’t want to hurt her) we decided to leave to see some of the other animals. She said goodbye as we turned to go and to our utter surprise this parrot screeched back “goodbye”!
We wandered on and saw some Wallabies, bats and Bretons and lots of other beautiful birds before coming across the Koalas. The first one we saw was all curled up on his tree stump, having a nice little snooze and really did resemble a little old man just relaxing in the sun. The next two were awake, which was amazing and even had a little crawl around/play whilst we stood and watched. They are beautiful animals and you can’t help but want to pick them up and give them a cuddle like a teddy bear (which of course we did not do).
Next, we went to see the Kangaroos. I had read that the best time to see them is in the morning as they are hungry at that time and will approach you far more readily for food. Alas, we didn’t arrive until about 2pm and most of them by that time were just laying down soaking up the rays. They did however still take food from us and were more than happy to be stroked and petted. I was very impressed as the Park had one area that was cordoned off and signed as a Kangaroo “resting spot”. The idea being that when the Kangaroos have had enough of being fed and petted, that they can take themselves off for some peace and quiet and we actually saw some doing just this.
From there we saw a few more species of birds, some very cute Quokkas and some upside down bats that were snoozing away. Wandering on along the path we found the farm animals, which included some extremely fluffy chickens, Llamas, guinea pigs, and rabbits. This was the petting zoo area but much to our disappointment only children were allowed to get in and stroke the bunny wabbits!
There was another section with farm animals, which had sheep, cows, goats and turkeys. When we got here we were looking at them from behind the railings when an extremely friendly keeper invited us in to get up close to the animals. All were extremely tame and loved the attention. Irene however did not enjoy the attention of one of the turkeys , which continued to follow her around, much to her dismay! Whilst in this area the keeper introduced us to a beautiful little kidd who was being very adventurous and climbing on everything and anything, she explained he had been that way since he could walk. I do recommend wearing foot wear other than flip-flops (thongs) as you will definitely enjoy this part more if you are wearing enclosed shoes!
Our last stop of the day was the Wombats and friends show. This was really good as the keepers gave a short talk on each of the animals and we were then able to go around each station and take photos and stroke them if we wanted to. There were plenty more colourful birds, a lizard, and a possum who was rather scared as it was only his second time out doing the show. The star however, was Natta the Wombat. I have never seen a wombat before and really didn’t know what to expect but it’s fair to say I didn’t expect Natta! He was massive and looked extremely solid. One of the keepers sat with him on a bench for a photo opportunity (which was also free) and I swear she must have had dead legs by the end of the show!
After seeing the lovely Natta, we decided that we should head back as we didn’t want to be waiting for buses in the dark. To get back to the Park entrance where we came in, we managed to catch the last shuttle bus of the day (after letting the lady in the gift shop know). We were driven back to the entrance by a really nice English man who had been working at Caversham for many years, the strangest thing was that he was from a town that my school bus used to drive through every day back home.
From the entrance we crossed over the road and waited for the bus to take us back to Bassendean train station which took about 30 minutes to arrive, but thankfully did eventually turn up.
Our day at Caversham was lovely and it is one I will never forget. The animals are well looked after and the staff are extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They obviously love what they do and truly care for the animals that they look after. I would definitely recommend Caversham Wildlife Park as a day out but to get the most out of it I would suggest arriving earlier than we did, as we had to miss some areas of the Park due to the light fading. All in all, a fab day that I wouldn’t have missed for the world!
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Take care and safe travels, Han xxx
Creative unicorn ninja; Travel vlogger/blogger. Green tea enthusiast and lover of dance and art. Currently be found back in England planning the next adventure! Southeast Asia Odyssey coming very soon!
Where I can be found: UK
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