David Fleay Wildlife Park
In amongst the bush behind Burleigh Heads is a little-known treasure of a wildlife park called David Fleay Wildlife Park. Established by Dr David Fleay in the 1950s, the wildlife park is all that he envisioned, ‘A place where the animals are kept in conditions as close as possible to the natural environment, where they can breed freely and be studied.’
If you and your kids are after a wildlife experience without the crowds of the bigger zoo’s then you need to head to David Fleay Wildlife Park. Considering the rave reviews across the interwebs we are surprised to few people seem to have heard about this wildlife experience.
Things to do at David Fleay Wildlife Park
Affectionately known as Fleay’s, you can look forward to a fantastic destination for a day trip from Brisbane, just on an hour down the M1. It’s also a great place to visit if you’re staying on the Gold Coast. Take your time, stroll along at your own pace to check out the myriad of native animals. It’s a wildlife park that is void of the fanfare you find at other Gold Coast and Brisbane Zoo’s but that is because its focus is entirely on the health and wellbeing of the animals. You can expect helpful volunteers and wildlife officers throughout the park, ready to answer any questions you have.
Fleay’s has a very relaxed feel about it and seamlessly blends the different habitats. From the iconic eucalypt forests to diverse wetlands and tropical rainforests, David Fleay Wildlife Park has captured the essence of each habitat for the animals that live within them. In addition to these outdoor habitats, David Fleay Wildlife Park has a range of simulated indoor habitats, the nocturnal house, home to a range of night creatures.
What is also interesting and heartwarming is that the birds that fly are free to come and go (and they come!), which is a testament to the quality of the habitats being provided.
Native animals you can expect to see
- Proserpine wallabies
- Nailtail Wallabies
- Swamp hens
- Squirrel gliders
- Spinifex hoping mice
- Snakes (our favourite is the stunning native green tree snake)
- Potoroos (which is a kangaroo-like creature about the size of a rabbit)
- Bird of prey
Animal Encounters and Shows
Over the course of the day rangers host informative and engaging shows with various animals encounters and opportunities to learn more about the native wildlife at David Fleay Wildlife Park. These shows are written below in the order of the time they start (from 9.30am) and are subject to change but gives you an idea of the wonderful activities on offer. The below shows are included in the entry price.
- Wallaby Walk at Wallaby Way. Enjoy emu and wallaby encounters.
- Nature by Night at Nocturnal House. Meet their playful platypus and sneak a peek at some of Australia’s rarest and most unusual nocturnal animals.
- Creatures of the Night Show at Nalu Stage. Watch squirrel gliders, learn about possums and even see owls in action.
- (September to April, subject to change) – Croc Chat at Ring Dam. Crocodile sightings are guaranteed when Park Rangers introduce you to these amazing predators.
- (May to August, subject to change) – Cassowary Quest at Cassowary Way. Learn why these magnificent and quirky birds may hold the secret to our rainforest survival.
- Fleay’s in Flight at Amphitheatre. Join our Park Rangers and some of their feathered friends as they tell the story of Dr David Fleay.
- Creature Feature Encounter at Kauri trees. An opportunity for a close encounter with a surprise animal. The animal changes all the time!
- Tree Roo Talk at Tree-kangaroo enclosure. Learn about the animal that appears to be a mix of a possum, monkey and kangaroo.
During the school holidays, Fleay’s run a few different children’s programs. There’s the ‘Junior Ranger Wildlife Keeper’ for kids aged 5 to 7 years, ‘Junior Ranger For A Day’ and ‘Junior Ranger Mangrove Explorers’ for ages 8 to 12 years. At night they host a Twilight Experience for the whole family. These activities incur an additional cost so visit qld.gov.au/davidfleay for more information and to book.
The history of David Fleay
In the 1980’s Dr David Fleay sold his conservation park to the Queensland Government to protect his legacy and ensure the future of his park. David Fleay Wildlife Park is proudly continuing his conservation efforts and inspiring and educating the next generation. This is the only Queensland Government owned and operated wildlife park. Not only does David Fleay house many natives (including endangered) animals but they also rehabilitate and release injured Australian wildlife!
For the enjoyment of the whole community, Fleay’s is very accessible for those using wheelchairs or bringing strollers. Every aspect of the park is connected by bitumen paths or timber boardwalks with ramps. The only enclosure that small children or those in wheelchairs will struggle to see is the lace monitors enclosure because it has a solid fence. A wheelchair accessible bathroom is located next to the café. Guests can bring their own lunch and make use of the shaded tables and chairs or utilise the onsite café offers sweet treats, sandwiches, wraps, hot chips and hot and cold drinks.
Entry to the park
Fleay’s is open daily from 9am to 5pm (closed on Christmas Day and ANZAC Day morning). Fleay’s Café is open when the zoo is open from 9am to 4pm. Tickets can be purchased either at reception upon entry, or online via qld.gov.au/davidfleay
You can also buy discounted tickets via Experience Oz if you book online via our affiliate system here (this is their video showcasing the park)
How to get there
David Fleay Wildlife Park is located on the corner of Loman Road and West Burleigh Road, West Burleigh. It is 2min from the Tallebudgera Creek Road turn-off on the Pacific Motorway (exit 89) and 10min from the Gold Coast Airport. You can catch a train and get a connecting bus (find out more via TransLink).
Other things to do in the local area
- While in the area, why not stop off at one of the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches (Tallebudgera Creek is close by)
- Have a picnic at Burleigh Heads and walk along the headland
- Visit the Gold Coast Butterfly House
- Take a cool dip at the Currumbin Rock Pools
- For more wildlife experiences, head to Currumbin Bird Sanctuary