Friday, February 19, 2016

Ballarat Wildlife Park

I've spent a fair amount of time at various zoos and animal parks in the last year and a half, but just recently visited Ballarat Wildlife Park for the first time while Ali and Jess were in town. Aside from the usual array of kangaroos and koalas, this park offers the opportunity to hold a wombat. My sister Ali has been obsessed with wombats for some time, and actually discovered this park even before Peter and I moved to Australia. It's one of the few places in the world where you are able to hold (instead of just pet) a wombat, and it happens to be a short train ride from Melbourne. Obviously, it was on Ali's list of places to visit while in Australia. Jess and I weren't entirely convinced about the whole wombat thing, but Jess wanted to feed kangaroos so we decided to humor Ali and give it a go.
The wombat-holding started at three and you couldn't reserve tickets in advance, so we showed up at 1:30 just to be on the safe side, only to be told an entire tour bus had just purchased tickets and it was completely sold out. I wish I could have captured Ali's face the moment the ticket lady broke the news. It was kind of like when I told her Santa wasn't real, but way worse. Normal people probably would have just accepted the bad luck and moved along, but if you know us, you know that we aren't all that normal. We begged and may have even tried to bribe the ticket lady to add just one more person to the group to no avail. We clearly weren't going to get anywhere with this lady, so we decided to purchase the basic ticket and at least feed a few kangaroos while we devised a new plan.

Ali doing a decent job of faking a smile five minutes after the most devastating moment of her life.
So, because we are extremely persistent and somewhat crazy, we stood outside the "staff only" gate a few minutes before the wombat experience was scheduled to begin, borderline stalked the first employee to emerge, and in the end Ali got to fulfill her lifelong dream of holding a wombat. The lady was super nice and probably didn't want to deal with a scorned wombat fan, so she immediately agreed to try to get Ali to the front of the line, and she delivered!

I can say with 100% certainty that no one has ever been more thrilled to hold what I can only describe as a mouse on steroids.
After a few seconds and a bunch of pictures, the zookeeper guy instructed Ali to set the wombat carefully on the ground, which is apparently easier said than done. Ali said she could barely lift it out of her lap!
After wombating (now officially a verb), we moved along to befriending kangaroos, which happens to be a talent of mine.
I was somewhat afraid that this guy was going to try to box me...he would have definitely won. His muscles are approximately 845 times bigger than mine.
This little guy was just chillin, totally uninterested in us.
Mandatory kangaroo selfie!
In conclusion, Ballarat Wildlife Park was a success! Ali was able to check an item off her bucket list and we were all able to hang out with kangaroos for the day.


  1. Ali is my hero. You get your wombat experience, girl! Hilarious recounting of the story, Laur. I feel like I was right there with you, scheming to wombat hold.

  2. After the train ride, what mode of transport u guys took to the park? Bus#20? is it easy to board one?



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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