Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Hobart in Tasmania and is home to a range of native Australian animals. They are also Tasmania’s largest 24 hour wildlife rescue service, with the main aim of the sanctuary to care for injured animals before returning them into the wild. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary offers a great opportunity to get up close and personal with native Australian wildlife and learn more about these beautiful creatures.
Back in June 2012, we took a trip to Tasmania. This was essentially a babymoon when we were expecting our first daughter Lily. Initially we had a tour around China booked before I fell pregnant and we unfortunately had to cancel the tour since my morning sickness was not looking to ease up in time, so an overseas trip would likely have been a disaster. Disappointing, however we did have a wonderful time exploring closer to home around Tasmania for around 10 days, as this was our first visit to Australia’s most southern state.
On our second day in Hobart we were exploring the surrounding areas and both being such animal lovers, we decided to visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in the afternoon.
Aside from their amazing work rescuing injured wildlife around Tasmania, which is funded entirely by the sanctuary admission fees, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is most well known for these cute (and slightly scary looking) little critters – the Tasmanian devil. As the name suggests, the Tasmanian devil lives only in Tasmania and their numbers are extremely endangered due to a disease that is yet to be cured.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary have a Tasmanian devil breeding program aimed at boosting their numbers, along with their goal of raising awareness to visitors on how they can help reduce the environmental impact on these endearing animals.
Chances are if you are not an Australian native like myself, your only experiences with a Tasmanian devil may be watching Looney Tunes cartoons with the hyperactive Taz devil character. Surprisingly, there are some behavioural similarities. During our visit the devils were running continuously around their enclosure, mostly along the perimeter in a huge circle. They barely stopped for a break. It was amusing to see them so active.
Personally, my experiences with the Tasmanian devil goes beyond the average Aussie. My high school work experience was spent at another wildlife sanctuary in Australia, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland and one memory that is very vivid is being given a frozen rat by one of the rangers that had been cut in half. I was instructed to throw half into the enclosure and stand watch to make sure no crows tried to steal it before the Tasmanian devil finished eating. Meanwhile, there were fascinated tourists asking me what was on the menu, very intrigued by the half a rat I was still holding, wrapped in a plastic bag. Memorable.. and a little disturbing.
We certainly enjoyed seeing the Tasmanian devils so active during our visit and with an expectation that they could be quite aggressive animals, we were surprised to see how friendly they were with the handler during the presentation. And of course very excited by the prospect of food. They are also great at climbing, another surprising thing we learnt.
Of course it would not be an Australian wildlife park experience without an abundance of kangaroos. And what stunning views they have of the surrounding areas. The kangaroos roam freely around the park, which gives visitors an opportunity to feed them with the bag of feed provided with the admission price.
Or you might be lucky enough to see a joey in the pouch of one of the kangaroos, as is often the case. Although this joey is a little old to be living at home, but still stops by for a meal. Sounds like a typical teenager or 20 something.
No visible baby bump here at around 16 weeks pregnant, but let me say I sure did suffer the consequences of ongoing early pregnancy symptoms on the trip. Not so much in Hobart, but be warned, the roads of Tasmania are very windy and terrible when combined with morning sickness. I won’t go into details. Yet it wasn’t enough to stop me getting to know the kangaroos that can sense a bag of food from a mile away.
As you can see, Simon was very popular once he pulled out his kangaroo food bag too. Swamped by a group of eager kangaroos. They can be greedy animals, but it is such a delight feeding them. I’ve lost count how many times in my life i’ve had this opportunity and definitely recommend you experience it when in Australia. Remember – keep the hand flat and avoid any fingers getting in the way. They do still have sharp teeth which can give a bit of a nip.
Another animal you will always see in an Australian wildlife sanctuary is of course the emu. An unusual and massive bird and not always friendly. They are very interesting to watch though. They do always have a look that makes you think they want to bite you though or steal your bag and run away… and probably would given the chance.
And of course, the Aussie favourite – the koala. Don’t be expecting too much activity from these guys. Koalas sleep more than 20 hours a day i believe and tend to spend most of their time sound asleep in a tree, waking for a snack of eucalyptus leaves here and there. The only time they tend to be very active is around mating season and then it can be a whole different story… and some strange grunting noises. Yes, another memory from my work experience days.
We loved our visit to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and highly recommend it if you are visiting Hobart in Tasmania. Unlike a zoo, there are no fancy exhibits. Many of the animals come to be there due to needing extra support following a rescue so you may see different animals on different visits. However you will have a great opportunity to get up close and personal with native Australian wildlife and learn a lot. The staff were wonderful and friendly, answering questions and making visitors feel welcome. Well worth a visit and the kids will love it.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is located approximately half an hour from Hobart and is best visited via private transport or organised tour due to limited public transport services in the area. The sanctuary is located at 593 Briggs Rd, Brighton, Tasmania.
Open from 9:00am until 5:00pm daily, 365 days a year.
Family (2 adults & 2 children) $69.00
Child (3-15 years) $12.00
Child (2 years and under) FREE
Wild Child Kid’s Club (4-15 years) $36.00
Every person receives a complimentary bag of kangaroo food with each entry.
For more information, please refer to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary website, where you will find lots more useful information not only about available tours and wildlife experiences, but also about the important conservation work Bonorong are doing to preserve and support the wildlife of Tasmania.