Australia Day 34 – The Unzoo

Today we woke up in Richmond, not having a clue about the town.  It was simply a place we chose on the map because there was a caravan park we thought we could stay at for the night.

As we drove into town for breakfast we quickly realized we stumbled on some fascinating history.

The town is home to beautiful buildings that date back to the 1820’s.

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This bridge was built in 1925 and is the oldest bridge still in use in Australia.  The bridge was built by hand by convicts.

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There are also a lot of grapes grown in the area.

Our primary destination.  The UNZOO – “Instead of exhibiting animals in traditional enclosures for the benefit of humans, an Unzoo invites us into natural habitats in which cages or barriers are removed or concealed and wild, as well as resident animals, are encouraged to interact with the environment.” (

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Do you know the Tasmanian Devil? Not the cartoon spinning, drooling and funny talking one but the real one.  The endangered one.

They are fascinating.  These little creatures got their devilish name from the explorers who could hear them every night, feeding, cracking bones and screaming over food.  The newly landed people had no clue what it was making the demonic noises in the deep dark forest.

If you haven’t heard one, go to youtube and look it up.  They are loud!

They also have the strongest bite relative to its body size, 400 PSI!

They are also endangered.  Not because of humans (surprising, I know)

They have experienced an extinction level event due to a genetic mutation that is causing a facial tumor and the cancer is being spread by their bite, something they do a whole lot of.   It first appeared about 20 years ago and has decimated the wild population.  The Tasman Peninsula is the only disease free zone in Tasmania.

Not all is lost though.  Through breeding programs and continued work on a hopeful vaccine, there is hope for the devilish little creatures.

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Make sure to visit all 4 devil enclosures and crawl through the tunnels.

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There is way more to this Unzoo than Tasmanian Devils.  Explore the trails, bird watch and look for the wildlife that calls this safe haven home.

There are a large number of resident kangaroos.  To be honest I’m not sure on their story but you only need show up to garners some friendly attention.  They LOVE to have their chest scratched.

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This larger male Kangaroo appears to have claimed Dan.  After getting some scratched and love from Dan, the kangaroo wouldn’t let any other near.  If they got too close he would grunt and even lunge.  Clearly, Dan was a favourite!

We kept a close eye on Roland.  These are WILD creatures and no matter how friendly they appear, you need to be aware that they are unpredictable.

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none the less, Roland had a blast and this picture looks like they are lining up for a race!!

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The Kangaroos were described by one person as a cross between a velociraptor and a deer.  Yeah.

There is a Birds of the Bush presentation where you can meet different birds who have been rescued by the Unzoo.  You can meet a galahs, eastern rosellas, corellas and a tawny frogmouth

There is, of course, always time for play.  Dan is trying to teach Roland the finer points of taking pictures.  Apparently, this is going well.  In the first 100, Dan’s head was missing…

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There will be enough videos like this to make a montage by the end of this trip…

Lunch was next on our agenda.  We love to ask locals where to eat and this time the Lavender Farm was recommended.  Set on the water the farm and it’s “House” is beautifully situated and serves food that is equally stunning to look at.

Our final goal was to make it to Port Arthur.

There is only one place to camp so that is where we went.  This was by far the earliest we have ever shown up to get a site.  It was about 2:00 so we took some time to clean up and, of course, play.

They have a track just for little children to run on.  Toddler approved and well done!  (yes, I know it is for bikes but it is just perfect for him to run on!)

We had enough time left in the day to head over to Port Arthur and start exploring a little bit.

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Dan got to go on a Ghost Tour tonight while I hung out with the kids (AKA Blogged while they slept)

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Drove a total of 85km (big day!)

Tomorrow we plan to explore Port Arthur some more

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