The Tasmanian Safari Bus Tour belongs to the ZooDoo Wildlife Park, which is 6km from the historical township of Richmond, Tasmania.  Forget historical; more like hysterical when you land at this attraction!

ZooDoo Wildlife Park: Safari Bus Tour

Before we get to the Safari Bus Tour, we must admit, the wildlife park does look a little tired (just like the Tasmanian Devil pictured below!).  Several exhibits are bare, including the miniature pony-racing arena.  And for the $56 family ticket, adults would probably expect the weeds to be removed and all the rides to be in fully functioning order.

Tasmanian Devil
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This Tasmanian Devil takes a well-earned rest at ZooDoo

That said, I can appreciate the difficulties, especially after three years of drought and the introduction of exotic animals, like tigers and lions, to a zoo in Tasmania.  Devils, koalas and possums don’t eat that much compared to a 250kg cat!!

Tiger at ZooDoo
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One of the big cats at the ZooDoo Wildlife Park

And kids don’t care one iota about weeds.  They can share their time between the mini merry-go-round, the sagging jumping castle, the caged animals and those roaming in the paddocks.

The ZooDoo Highlight: the Safari Bus Tour

After a picnic lunch in the grounds (I had my own, but they do have a cafeteria), I joined the queue for the safari bus tour.  The bus makes its run several times daily, so you can schedule your trip between lion-feeding shows.

One thing I would recommend to the managers of ZooDoo Wildlife Park:  get some bus-station seating.  The wait for the Safari Bus Tour could be a long one on a busy day.

The gruff instructions from the driver include the order to hold tightly to the bag of chaff you are given.  “Any lost bags will result in a $50 littering fine”, he said.  Turns out, that’s a huge joke.  Have you ever tried to keep your grip on a paper bag when a ravenous emu is grabbing at it with its pointy beak?  If you survive the emu-feeding, you are challenged by the ostriches, and then the camels on the home straight.

A mid-tour dismount to pat goats and horses leaves you wondering if you should…

  • hold your handbag tightly to your chest
  • leave it unguarded on the safari bus, or
  • just throw it out and stand back!
Safari Bus Tour Camel
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This camel has a serious case of spinach in his teeth!

Where’s that Calm Koala?

Honestly, it’s the kind of experience that evokes screams of laughter from some, and terror from others.  Thankfully, I returned with all fingers intact and only a little camel dribble in my hair.  Needing something a little more sedate I returned to the peaceful, sleepy koala.

Koala takes a nap
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The koala is a nice change of pace!

For a fee, you can have your photo taken with the koala or a wombat, or even have your image merged with that of a tiger.  There are plenty of opportunities to take your own photos, especially if you buy a bag of chaff – attract a crowd of animals in one shake.  International tourists can fill their albums with snaps of Australian wildlife.

Feeding the Wallaby
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Blake feeds his new friend: much calmer than the emus!

Richmond, Tasmania is only a hop, skip and a jump from Hobart.  With a full day available you can enjoy more than just the zoo, only one of many attractions in the Coal River Valley.

So… are you brave enough for the safari bus tour?

Click here for more images from ZooDoo Wildlife Park, home of the safari bus tour in Richmond Tasmania.

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Map: ZooDoo Wildlife Park Richmond Tasmania…

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