Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published February 18th 2021
Get up close and experience Australia's unique wildlife
When you think of iconic Australian animals and birds, several of them come to mind. Such as the kangaroo, the emu, the wombat, the echidna, the platypus, the Tasmanian Devil, the kookaburra, and of course, that lovable koala.
You don't usually think of the potoroo.
But what exactly is a potoroo, you may well ask? Just like the kangaroo and Tassie Devil and wombat and many other iconic Australian animals, the potoroo is a marsupial. Which means it's a mammal that carries its young in a pouch.
The potoroo! Source:https://www.facebook.com/potoroopalacenativeanimalsanctuary/photos/pcb.3954928647899915/3954920911234022/
Unfortunately for the potoroo, it looks a lot like a rat. Which probably explains why during the early days of European colonisation in Australia, they were regarded as pests. Potoroos were once fairly common. But since European colonisation, habitat loss and introduced species (especially foxes) have significantly reduced their numbers. And so today, potoroos are an endangered species.
However, there's one place that is absolutely committed to protecting them and educating us humans about their plight.
Potoroo Palace Located about ten minutes north of the town of Merimbula along NSW's Sapphire Coast, Potoroo Palace is a not-for-profit bushland sanctuary that aims to educate the community about our wonderfully unique native animals and the importance of their conservation.
Potoroo Palace is home to around thirty potoroos. But you'll find more than just potoroos here. Other animals also call the sanctuary home, with many of them like the potoroo native to the Merimbula area such as Eastern Grey Kangaroos, swamp wallabies, two bare nosed wombats, short beaked echidnas and long nosed bandicoots. The sanctuary is also home to koalas, dingoes, flying foxes, possums, bettongs, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and a wide variety of birds including ducks, swans, emus and tawny frogmouths.
Situated on about 14.6 hectares of bushland, Potoroo Palace provides a peaceful home for the animals among the gum trees. Winding pathways throughout the sanctuary allow visitors to roam and get lost within the lush bushland setting.
The pathways also allow visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. In fact, some of the animals who roam freely throughout the sanctuary will get up close and personal with you, as these emus did when we visited! They enjoyed us handfeeding them from the Animal Feed Bags that are available for sale at the cafe/reception.
You'll meet plenty of feathered friends as you stroll along the ponds and wander through the walk-in aviary. And you'll meet friends of the slithering, scalier sort when you step into the coolness of the Reptile House.
Within its bushland surrounds, there are plenty of spots along the way for visitors to refresh and relax under the trees, have a picnic, and play a game or two. Or you can refresh and relax in the sanctuary's Blue Wren Cafe.
Of course, the highlight of Potoroo Palace is the potoroo! Potoroo Palace offers Animal Encounter sessions, which are small-group experiences that allow you the opportunity to get up close to the potoroo (or other animals). Unfortunately, Animal Encounter sessions are currently on hold. But when my family and I visited Potoroo Palace in late January, we were very fortunate to be given the chance to encounter the sanctuary's potoroos. I had never seen one before, and so it was very exciting to experience a potoroo up close and watch it enjoy its food!
Potoroo Place offers a unique opportunity for you and your family to experience and learn more about Australia's amazing native wildlife. For those of you holidaying in the Sapphire Coast, Potoroo Palace is only a short drive north of Merimbula and provides a great family day out.
Potoroo Palace is a not for profit organisation that relies mostly on donations. Donations are used to provide feeds as well as tools, equipment, veterinary bills, transportation costs, and staff wages which are minimal as so many of the staff also very generously volunteer much of their time to the sanctuary. By visiting Potoroo Palace, you are helping to support the sanctuary and the welfare of the animals in its care.
The important things you need to know Location: Potoroo Palace is located at 2372 Princes Highway, Yellow Pinch (Merimbula), NSW. Opening hours: Open 9am to 4pm EVERY DAY. Entry Fees: Adults $25, Children 3-16 years $16, Seniors $18, Family passes (2 adults = 2 children) $80. Annual passes are also available. Facilities include toilets, cafe, gift shop, picnic tables, and parking. For more information, please visit the Potoroo Palace webpage here.
What a great place Belladonna and a great article. It's good to see the animals roaming and not locked in cages. It is also a good to see children able to get up close and personal with the animals. That can only be beneficial to the long term survival of some species.