The 16 hectares of Australiana, right next door to Wet ’N’ Wild, is perfect for those with a young family and is great for kids (or adults!) who are not quite ready to whizz around on rollercoasters or tackle speedy waterslides.
Paradise Country has recently undergone a transformation, which included the introduction of new shows and attractions to its already fabulous offerings. It’s a true Australian farm experience where visitors interact with sheep, koalas, kangaroos, horses, goats and emus.
There are masses of native birds to feed, horse-drawn wagon rides, damper and billy tea by a campfire, sheepdog mustering and cow milking – never a dull moment!
So with my husband and our boys in tow, we visited Paradise Country… and let me tell you, it was excitement from the minute we arrived.
Our first stop – Koala Village. The furry marsupials don’t move unless they want a meal of eucalyptus leaves. It’s the only thing they eat and luckily for them they have around 40 species to choose from. The cuties also sleep between 18 and 20 hours every day.
Next stop, the baby joeys. Newborn baby joeys are the size of a peanut! They are blind and furless and stay in their mother’s pouch for up to seven months, then ride on her back or abdomen, returning to the pouch for milk. They are dependent upon their mother for the first year of their lives.
Kangaroos live close to the koalas and Paradise Country is home to eastern grey and red roos. These roos are unable to walk (they only hop) and their large muscular tail is like an extra leg that provides support and balance. There’s nothing as sweet as seeing a little joey peeping out from its mother’s pouch.
Both boys were keen to meet a dingo. The villains of the Australian outback are closely related to the wolf and are not exactly an animal to cuddle! However they were satisfied to get fairly close – and to hear me do my version of a dingo howl!
The sheep shearing show and ram parade is a must. Go early to get a good seat close to the action and watch skilled master shearers remove fleece at lightning speed. Eight varieties of sheep are farmed in Australia and the star of the show is the merino. My husband, James, was invited to show his shearing skills and the sheep came out looking pretty snazzy!
Clancy’s Opal Mine is a new attraction and is a great activity for everyone. Armed with a miner’s pick, you chip away at an allocated section of the mine and lo and behold – every prospector strikes it rich.
After uncovering a beautiful and colourful piece of opal, the boys were ready to fossick for gold, silver and gemstones. Nuggets are rare, but every fossicker takes home a souvenir.
It costs a little more to look for opals and gold, but the education and fun are well worth it.
All the hard work built up appetites for a great Aussie barbecue lunch, followed by a leisurely wagon ride around the park and time to plan the next activity.
The animal nursery has lots of newly-born residents: koalas, kangaroos, piglets, ponies, chicks and lambs. It’s hands-on and bottle feeding was something everyone enjoyed.
We all agreed that Paradise Country certainly lives up to its name!
Queensland’s Gold Coast