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David Fleay Wildlife Park

Home > Gold Coast > Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Animals and Wildlife | Outdoor | Walks
by Kylie Dean (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer, photographer and reviewer based on the Gold Coast.
Published September 8th 2019
Meet the native wildlife on the Gold Coast

"STOP" I call out as I frantically try to refocus my camera. "Back up," yet my pleas are to no avail, the emu looms ever larger in my viewfinder. "He's just making sure you get his good side," laughs my teenage companion. Shots taken, we continue around the Wallaby Way, but Mr Emu decides he's not done yet, and escorts us to the kangaroo feeding station. We're at David Fleay Wildlife Park, at West Burleigh on the Gold Coast, just minutes from the beach and the bustling cafes and restaurants of Burleigh Heads, but we could be in another world completely, so serene and peaceful is this area. Nestled on the banks of Tallebudgera Creek, David Fleay Wildlife Park is a relatively small conservation park, where you can see a variety of Australian native animals in enclosures consisting of their natural habitat.

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Close encounters of the emu kind.


As we stop further along the path to take photos of wallabies and curlews my emu stalker looks on bemusedly, incensed that our attention is no longer on him, and we leave him at the gate of his enclosure, probably pondering his modelling career. We loop further around the 1.5km track, passing different species of wallabies, koalas lazing peacefully in their eucalypts, and dingoes, ever on the move. We laugh at the antics of the baby water hens, vying to catch the attention of their mothers, trying to convince them it's lunch time.

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Eastern Grey Kangaroos


There are several ranger talks scheduled during the day. We went to the Creatures Of The Night show, where my young friend was volunteered to feed the curlew. Owls, Tawny Frogmouths and possums are featured during the show, yet on the day we went the possums weren't so keen to perform. The rangers never force them, however, they are given three chances to come out, and if they're a no show it's on to the next animal with no recriminations. The rangers clearly love the animals they work with and their welfare is rightly the main concern, even when giving informative talks to members of the public.

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Informative Ranger talks take place during the day.


Next stop was the crocodiles and another interesting talk from a ranger. We marvelled at these huge, prehistoric creatures, sunning themselves on the banks of their enclosures, and wondered at the foolhardiness of the birds braving the same surrounds, by choice, of course, they could fly out at any time. Today however the crocs were happy to laze around, no birds were on the menu.

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Saltwater Crocodile


We ventured on to the nocturnal house, where we loved the antics of the marsupial mice, and the gorgeous bilbys, but alas Wally the platypus was being elusive today. We had more luck in the reptile enclosure, where we were closely watched by pythons with their unblinking eyes, and ignored by bearded dragons as they stood stock still on rocks. Then hunger pangs took over so we stopped in the cafe for fish and chips, very affordable at $7 each, then we decided to do it all again, and took off for another lap. At the end of the day, I asked my young friend if he had enjoyed himself and he was most enthusiastic, asking when we could go back, saying he had had a great day.



David Fleay Wildlife Park is situated at West Burleigh, just off the Pacific Motorway at exit 89. It is clearly signposted, and just 15 minutes from the Gold Coast airport, or 25 minutes from Surfers Paradise by car. If coming by bus take route 756, which stops near the corner of West Burleigh Road and Loman Road, then it's a short walk of 330m along West Burleigh road to the park entrance. The park is easily accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers, and is suitable for all ages.


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Why? Close encounters with native wildlife
When: 9am-5pm 7 days, except Christmas Day or ANZAC Day morning
Phone: 137 468
Where: West Burleigh
Cost: Adults $23.50 Child $10.70
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