David in Ballarat.
Patting a cute koala.
Let's not pat this critter.
With everything on offer, from fluffy koalas to hungry crocs you won't be disappointed.
The wonderfully varied and exciting Australian bush and its natural inhabitants have always fascinated Greg Parker, and when he got his first tortoise at eight years of age, a love affair with animals and reptiles began.
Greg now owns Ballarat Wildlife Park, which is on 10 hectares of peppermint gum woodland, six-and-a-half hectares of which are for visitors to wander. It takes about an hour-and-a-half to leisurely wander around the park, and you can picnic with kangaroos. If you would like a guided tour, one of Greg's 11 trained staff goes around the park at 11am each day.
The Park had 150 animals in the beginning, and now there are around 400. There are kangaroos roaming freely, koalas, wombats, including the very friendly Patrick who greets visitors each day in his wheelbarrow, salt and freshwater crocodiles, Tasmanian Devils, goannas, giant tortoises, wedge-tail eagles, snakes, quokkas from Western Australia, emus and echidna. There are also waterbirds, including pelicans, and exotic reptiles.
Croc, the saltwater crocodile, is Greg's pride and joy. He was given to him as a 28cm hatchling from the Northern Territory. He first lived in an aquarium beside Greg's bed. He progressed to a fibreglass tank in a room of his own, until he grew so big Greg had to buy a house and gave Croc the billiard room! He is now 4.2m long and weighs 300kg and, says Greg, very friendly.
Visitors can pat koalas and probably wonder why they were recently pipped into second place by the panda as being the world's cutest animal. A boardwalk allows you to view the animals in their natural habitat.
The park is home to Australia's largest and most naturally presented Tasmanian Devil colony and visitors have the chance to feed them.
There is a 1840s-style bushman's hut in the park, where you can try a bush tucker barbecue or spit roast.
The presentation and care taken at Ballarat Wildlife Park won them the Goldfields Hall of Fame Award, and as you can imagine, the place is crammed with photo opportunities, so take plenty of film!