NSW wombat encounter?
March 3, 2012 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I would like to meet a wombat in Newcastle or Sydney. How can I do this? I will pay money.

I will be in New South Wales in a few weeks, and I'd like to interact with a wombat up close. I thought the Taronga zoo used to have an adoption program where you could meet your adopted animal if you paid a few hundred dollars, but I can't find that anymore, and the closest option is the $1000 level Zoo parent, which is sort of steep (although I wouldn't mind giving several hundred dollars, if it were charitable). Is there somewhere in the area I can meet a wombat?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You can probably tell how much I like wombats from my username ;-)

Featherdale zoo outside Sydney is much more interactive than Taronga, and has wombats that are actually awake and walking around, rather than sleeping in a hole. They do this by feeding them during the daytime and varying the food to encourage them to not just sleep all day. It's best to get there early, i.e. when the zoo opens, as that increases the odds of the wombats being awake.

I did lean over the low fence and successfully stroke one friendly wombat (the one near the entrance). It probably wasn't a good idea, as I could have got bitten I suppose, but I saw other people do it first and I couldn't resist.

The only place I've got closer to a wombat is the tiny zoo in Hobart, Tasmania where the keeper encouraged people to pet one he had on a table.
posted by w0mbat at 3:38 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Last time we were at Featherdale, you could easily pet and feed wombats over the fence. A couple of years ago, we booked ahead, and they arranged for a keeper to bring out and hold a young wombat for us to hang out with.
posted by zamboni at 3:59 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Blackbutt Reserve in Newcastle does both private and public encounters with their resident wombat.

Here's the relevant page of their website.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 4:05 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Another option is Koala Park in Castle Hill, Sydney. Shorter trip than Featherdale, but much smaller zoo. They have wombats, and the website suggests they allow visitors to get close to them.

posted by arha at 4:09 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a picture of a gentleman holding a wombat. He says it was "heavy, wet, stinky, and awesome." You might be prepared for teh stinky--a friend said it was pretty overwhelming to walk around afterward.

Several websites suggest Taronga zoo doesn't allow wombat handling.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:34 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might try contacting WIRES, and see if someone who fosters them has one you can meet. One of my ex neighbours was a WIRES volunteer, and she always had a few hanging around - or you could become a WIRES volunteer yourself!
posted by thylacinthine at 9:03 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

The reptile park at Gosford says you can pat a wombat and have a photo taken. Less than an hour from Sydney Harbour by car.
posted by Kerasia at 10:39 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

No, Koala Park is a cute little zoo, but a terrible place to see wombats. We saw a total of one, and he was asleep in a hollow log quite a distance away. The "wombat show" in the zoo schedule was the keeper pointing to the distant hollow log and saying "there he is".
posted by w0mbat at 12:27 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your followup to this question should probably include pictures. You know, for quality control purposes, so we can adequately assess your wombat interaction experience.
posted by zamboni at 3:05 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I went with the Blackbutt reserve encounter yesterday! It was great. The wombats were cuddled up behind some glass which could be opened. They opened up the glass and gave the wombats noodles, which they evidently like as a treat. We were allowed to pat them and scratch them behind the ears as they nibbled. In all, it lasted 20 minutes, so we got to interact with them, and hear the keepers' stories for a good amount of time. It costs 45 dollars for up to 10 people. We had four, so that's just ove 10 per, which is totally reasonable. If anyone reads this and wants to do it, I definitely recommend small groups (<5) over large, because you maximize wombat interaction time that way. Thanks for the great advice, everyone!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:22 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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