First things first, Wildlife Wonders isn’t actually a wildlife park – it’s a wildlife sanctuary, which is an important distinction and we would love to share with you why.
At Wildlife Wonders, you have the unique opportunity to walk amongst wildlife living as they would in the wild.
Our conservationist tour guides will help you hear and see the wildlife, as well as the clues to where animals and birds have been, like scratchings, tracks, burrows and sounds like the distant drumming of an emu or the rustle of leaves from the small foragers below.
Visiting the sanctuary is an opportunity to grow your appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the environment around you. On your tour you will hear how different wildlife sound as they call to each other across the sanctuary, see their natural behaviour as they forage, jump, burrow and scurry, and experience the scent of the Eucalypt forest and the coolness of the tree fern gully.
This will help you on your travels, knowing what to listen for or where to look for wildlife. It will even give you a new found appreciation for the amazing flora of the Otways. It might even inspire you (or the kids!) to be a citizen scientist for the day!
It’s an opportunity to experience an abundance of wildlife living in their natural habitats, to experience the Otways as it once was before introduced predators, like foxes and cats, began hunting the precious native wildlife.
With that all said, here are 5 more things that make Wildlife Wonders different from any wildlife park you’ve been to in Australia:
1. All the wildlife you see represent how the Otways used to be…and could be again.
Wildlife Wonders is a beautiful, undulating, 30 acres of habitat surrounded by a predator- proof fence, keeping the native and threatened wildlife in our sanctuary safe and free to behave as they would in the wild.
Protected by a predator proof fence, we can keep out the introduced, invasive species like pigs, deer and foxes who not only prey on our smaller native animals, but destroy their habitats. This means the sanctuary is a replica of how the Otways used to be, giving our native animals the best possible chance to survive and thrive.
You won’t find enclosures here, or be able to hand feed the animals, the experience is much more authentic.
2. It’s not just about looking at the animals, it’s so much more.
Here you will be part of our wildlife’s safe natural environment for a little while.
Appreciating the homes they’ve made in trees, out of hollows, in the ground below, the sounds they make and what they mean, how they find their own food, and how they interact with one another.
Wildlife Wonders allows you to experience so many different ecosystems and habitats in one place. You will wind down the beautiful path through magical fern gullies, a beautiful eucalypt forest, up past incredible southern ocean views and a living swamp with a chorus of happy frogs.
It’s not just about looking at animals, it’s giving you a glimpse into their lives and how they used to live before introduced species and non-native predators, and hopefully giving you a new found appreciation and knowledge for your travels ahead.
3. Koalas jump in and out of the sanctuary as they please.
That’s right, it’s not just our kangaroos and wallabies who jump – koalas can jump too!
With a predator proof fence, our animals live happily within the sanctuary fence, knowing they are safe. Koalas and birds however can come and go over the top of the high fence as they please. Birds will fly in and out, and the koalas will jump from treetop to treetop or travel along high interconnected branches (although a lot of them love it here and have decided to stay). We have a large population of koalas who now call Wildlife Wonders home.
4. You are directly supporting conservation.
Wildlife Wonders is what’s known as a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business-based model being used to solve the most pressing societal problems – they exist to benefit the community and the environment. Wildlife Wonders directly supports the Conservation Ecology Centre delivering urgent conservation projects across the Otways.
The aim of Wildlife Wonders is to share knowledge and passion, engaging the community with nature and to support wildlife conservation across the region. The projects run by the Conservation Ecology Centre also contribute to conservation work across Australia and beyond.
All profits (yes, 100% of profits) from Wildlife Wonders go into this important work, so your visit really counts!
5. Our sanctuary was created by an art director of ‘The Hobbit’ film.
Our tours led by our conservationist guides follow handmade paths constructed with local supplies, and we are proud that not one tree was removed in the making of Wildlife Wonders.
The landscape within the sanctuary was designed by Brian Massey, an art director of The Hobbit trilogy. It’s an enchanting space filled with wonder and some of the majestic tree ferns are older than you! Brian Massey has combined his knowledge with that of conservation scientists, zoologists, botanists, wildlife veterinarians, landscapers and interpretation specialists to create the Wildlife Wonders sanctuary. The result is a sanctuary that is wonderful for both visitors and for wildlife. It really is a magical place like no other.
Wildlife Wonders is a completely unique experience on your Great Ocean Road adventure, within the sanctuary you will find something everywhere you look. Not to mention the lovely cafe and gift shop full of local goodies.
We hope to see you soon.