Ever since we first came to Perth (in 1990 how time flies!) Perth Zoo has been a popular attraction. When our daughters were small it was always a very enjoyable family outing, as was Melbourne Zoo when we moved over east for a few years. Since returning to Perth in 2001 our girls have grown up and flown the nest! Until our granddaughter La Petite came along nearly 2 years ago, my trips to the zoo were mostly confined to school excursions when I worked in early childhood education for several years. These excursions were always a bit stressful! I didn’t fancy having to tell any parents that their offspring was last seen patting the nice big friendly lions – there always seemed to be one budding escape artist in every group!
Now we have an excellent excuse to visit on a regular basis once more, although really we shouldn’t need an excuse at all! So on New Year’s Eve we set off on an outing to the zoo with an excited La Petite and her mum, La Chic Maman. Perth Zoo is in a superb location in South Perth situated on the French-sounding Labouchere Road. We drove and parked behind the historic Windsor Hotel but if you were a visitor to Perth I’d highly recommend taking the ferry from Barrack Street Jetty on the Perth City bank of the Swan River. Once you arrive on the South Perth side, make the short walk on foot from the Mends Street Jetty to the zoo, which is no more than 10 minutes away.
La Petite is quite indefatigable for one so small and we covered an awful lot of ground in the 3 hours or so that we were there, so that in the end I came home with nearly 250 photos. The zoo is situated in a broad circle with the various large sections fanning off from the central lawn. In order to do it justice (and to help me collate my Darwinian photographic collection) I’ll break the sections down into separate posts. First up a perennial favourite of adults and small children alike, the “Australian Bushwalk”.
This exhibit aims to recreate a typical bushwalk habitat and although you obviously can’t touch any of the animals, you are able to get quite close to them. Apart from a few exceptions such as the dingo enclosure, for the most part there are no glass barriers between visitors and the animals.
I had to take the photo of the Boab tree information sign through the mesh fence! This unusual looking tree is unique to Western Australia’s Kimberly region (in the far North West of the state a distance of approximately 2000 kilometres from Perth). It was used by the traditional people of the area in a number of ways for shelter, food and medicine.
Nearer to Perth in WA’s south west region, one can find the Numbat, a highly endangered indigeneous species. Perth Zoo, in its conservation role, is playing an important part in helping to preserve the existence of this small marsupial. We did actually see a little Numbat darting backwards and forwards around its enclosure but due to its clever camouflage and ability to scamper about all over the place, I couldn’t get a decent photo of it – it is hiding at the back of this photo under a bush I promise you!
And this is a photo of what it actually looks like with some more information!
According to the Perth Zoo website, “Numbats are insectivores and eat an exclusive diet of termites. An adult Numbat requires up to 20,000 termites each day”! For a fascinating insight into hand rearing baby Numbats, follow the link here to watch Perth Zoo’s video on their breeding programme!
By this stage La Petite had decided she’d had enough and so we raced through the rest of the Australian Bushwalk at something of a record speed. The Koalas were obviously dozy from their latest meal of eucalyptus leaves as they seemed quite unperturbed by her rather vocal tantrum as she decided that running away from Grandpapa Le Chic was preferable to the confinement of her stroller (she’s a big girl now after all!).
We were incredibly fortunate to come across a wombat out of its burrow. In all the years we’ve been visiting zoos, we have only ever seen wombats fast asleep in their burrows, apart from a memorable day out years ago at a wildlife sanctuary in Eastern Tasmania. This one must have been taking advantage of the cooler conditions (after a very hot day the day before when it had reached 39 degrees) to take a constitutional round his/her enclosure!
Perth Zoo first opened in 1898 and among its many attractions is a Heritage Trail, which takes you on a tour of the zoo’s historic sites. There is a walking map of the trail available either to download online or you can pick up a free copy from the Information Centre when you visit Perth Zoo. One of the historical attractions is the old Hay Shed situated near the exit of the Australian Bushwalk. This building, part of the original zoo structure, now forms the entrance to the Rainforest Retreat.
Just before you enter the Australian Bushwalk enclosure there is an interesting reminder of why it’s probably not a good idea to let your pet cat roam free!
I can thoroughly recommend the Australian Bushwalk. It has been developed over the years since we’ve been coming to Perth Zoo and has evolved into an excellent attraction. Here’s a sneak preview of one of the other main sections at Perth Zoo, the African Savannah! It’s a tough life being a lion some days!
For more interesting and diverse walks around the world head over to Restless Jo and join her for her weekly Monday Walk!
Copyright © 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved