Posted by: travelrat | November 14, 2012

Territory Wildlife Park

Darwin: 17th April 2012.

Our last morning in Darwin found us headed once more to the Stuart Highway to meet our bus. This time, though, we were carrying suitcases with us. We needed to check out of our accommodation that morning, and check into another hotel that evening. We’d already asked if we could leave the cases on the coach in the meantime, and the tour company agreed. The coach was, in fact, a smaller one than had been used the previous day … but, they’d hitched a luggage trailer onto it, just for us.

So, once more, we headed off down the Stuart Highway … Our destination this morning was the Territory Wildlife Park. This is really the best place to see Australian wildlife, for, in the wild, most of it is nocturnal, reclusive … or highly dangerous. The procedure here is to walk around from exhibit to exhibit, or take the land-train, if you’d rather not walk, and try to get there in time for the various demonstrations and presentations given by … ??

Do they call them ‘zookeepers’ these days? It just doesn’t seem the right word to describe the bright, khaki-uniformed, usually young people who give the demonstrations. But, ‘rangers’ doesn’t seem quite right, and ‘warden’ seems more like a prison officer.

First, to the billabong. For those who don’t know, a billabong is a body of water cut off from a river, of which it only becomes a part in the wet season. In other parts of the world, it’s called an oxbow lake, but ‘billabong’ sounds a lot more euphonic. No, there wasn’t a jolly swagman camped beside it, but there was a flock of pelicans … and a freshwater crocodile. They fed the pelicans, and I wondered if it was true that its beak can indeed hold more than its belican.

A greater source of wonder was the crocodile, who just floated there, just taking a casual interest in what was going on. Wasn’t it hungry? Or, maybe it just didn’t like pelican … or, they’d trained it to know that snarfing the odd pelican wasn’t on. It was going to get fed by the keeper, anyway.

Presumably, they kept the pelicans well away from the next demonstration. Fish. Not in an aquarium, though, although there is an aquarium here. But, there’s also an area called the Oolioo Sandbar, where they showed us barramundi, which I think I saw for the very first time not surrounded by chips, and freshwater rays. And, a selected few from the audience got to feed the rays … after assurances from the young lady giving the presentation that they were completely harmless.

They advertised a demonstration of Birds of Prey at the Flight Deck. I wonder if anyone noticed that, among the many birds they showed us, only the eagle could legitimately be so described. We were shown parrots, a cockatoo and a jabiru stork … and a dingo, who sort of strolled in to see what was going on. Maybe he was looking to grab himself a cocky or something when nobody was looking.
We’ve found, at attractions all over the world that you can’t leave without passing through the gift shop, and this was no exception. But, in the same building was a cafeteria, where we grabbed a quick pie before boarding the bus once more.



  1. Fabulous post. I adore the pelicans. Such a good shot!

  2. Cool, yet to see a dingo, one day I’ll get to the Northern Territories and hopefully see on along with a platypus.

    • We’re not 100% certain whether it was a park resident or a wild one that just wandered in. But, we did see one in the wild at Fraser Island a couple of years ago … they reckon that’s the purest strain of dingo there is, & won’t let domestic dogs on the island, to keep it so.

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