Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park

About Us

Beginnings

An outdoorsy, nature-loving family of seven, we decided to leave city-life in July 2009, dreaming of simplicity, living off the earth, and having some animals. In all honesty, we did not envision ourselves as managers of a wildlife park. However, when the opportunity arose to take over these 39 acres of serenity tucked away along the Great Ocean Road – our favourite vacation spot during our years as city-dwellers – we saw it as a sign…and jumped right into the deep end.

It is one thing to have your kids pet friendly deer and wallabies on a weekend outing, and another, being responsible for the wellbeing of over a hundred animals from one day to the next. Needless to say: the learning curve was steep, challenging, but also rewarding. Getting a border collie pup did not exactly detract from the challenge, but certainly added some fun.

We soon realised that, aside from learning to not only love, but efficiently care for our animals, we needed to improve on their living conditions, enlarge their spaces, and generally make the park more attuned to their needs. Thus, a vision emerged of a rather open-space, sanctuary-type park where animals, although still within fenced in areas, could roam, have a social life with their own kind, coexist with other native species, and – in those areas where interactions with humans would occur – be treated with respect and care. Gradually – as our means as a family-run business were limited – we transformed our acreage into a more natural environment for the animals and our visitors alike, learning about living more sustainability as we went along, a process which is ongoing.

The Journey Continues

Implementing visions takes time, a lot of work, and most of all, perseverance. Looking back, we cherish the memories of what it took to get us to the present, but also know that we will keep forging ahead.

Aside from working towards increasingly utilising sustainable technologies in our private domain as well as in managing the park, we plan on expanding the range of species to be experienced and creating appropriate habitats for them. Maintaining and improving our animals’ living spaces remains a constant task which we take very seriously. Providing a quality experience for our visitors is always a priority, and new projects are on the horizon regarding new walkways and viewpoints from which to observe and get up close with our animals will add to visitors’ enjoyment.

The dingo experience will remain central to our park’s philosophy and vision, and we will continue to stimulate public awareness of these extremely important animals.

As a privately managed park, we are always grateful for support from those who share our vision. Donations are, of course, welcome.

Sophie Marie-Gallagher

Volunteering

Our volunteers are an integral part of the park and highly valued for their help and positive energy. Their enthusiasm combined with their various skills help us maintain and improve the park which is an ongoing effort. The excitement and love with which they care for our animals is tangible. We have met countless wonderful people from all parts of the world over the years, and are deeply grateful to all of them.

From our friend Sophie:

I volunteered at the park for over 2 months where my duties involved park maintenance, feedings and helping out in the shop. It was an incredible opportunity to be trusted to get up close with these animals, especially the dingoes as it's not everywhere you can do this! I learnt many new skills and felt instantly at home here and included in the park's projects and redevelopment. If that weren't enough, the location of the park is amazing- with lots around to explore and beautiful grounds. I couldn't recommend this place enough and hope to come back!