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Review of Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve - CLOSED

Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve
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Attraction details
Owner description: Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve is 40oklms west of Cairns. It is home to many exotic and endangered animals. Guest can enjoy the unique experince of Breakfst with the beast or Dine on the Edge where you are seated inside the lions enclouser and surrounded by 19 lions. This has the largest lion pride in australiasia. It is also a walk around park wtih many other animals, common hippo, pigmy hippo, brown bears, cheetah,white rhino, wallabies, many speices of monkeys and much more.
Reviewed January 29, 2013 via mobile

When doing a bit of research on what to do in the cairns area we came across this little place that looked quite good on their website and brochure, so we thought we'd give it a try. We were excited as it is the only real safari in the area but what a disappointment right from the start.

We arrived with high expectations (this may have been the problem, don't arrive with any expectations and you may have a great time), the lady at the front desk was nice enough but only really gave us the basics. We forgot to ask what time the feeds were or if they were even on (mistake number 2 on our part).

Now don't get me wrong the animals in this place are spectacular, we saw a hippo up close eating and it was incredible! There's a rhino, a bunch of lions, apparently tigers (although we looked everywhere we couldn't see them), and the monkeys and chimps are cheeky little things too.

However we only ran into one other family when ws were there.. no keepers around, no grounds people.. and as the other family said it's creepily quiet.

There was this eerily quiet feel about the place that made it very creepy..

Anyway the day was a bit expensive considering we didn't get to see any talks or feeds (not sure if it was on, but the staff at front desk gave no indication to if it was on or not).

I hope we just caught them on a bad day as this place could be spectacular!

The animals are just delightful, I think it's just the way this place is run that has made me feel so disappointed.

Thank luckylozy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (48)
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10 - 14 of 48 reviews

Reviewed January 20, 2013

After reading these reviews we decided we'd go to Breakfast With The Beasts with low expectations .... And we loved it! Just don't expect a five star breakfast, expect breakfast cooked by some people trying hard to give you a unique wildlife experience - and that's what it is. The lions at breakfast were the highlight of the day. Saying that, the tour of the zoo we did afterwards was also fantastic - the animals look very happy and healthy and the whole experience is sensational value for money. I really hope someone says "We Bought a Zoo" and the park can continue trading.

1  Thank susajones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

This was my third visit to what is now called Shambala wildlife park. Every time I go I really enjoy myself. I've been with young adults and children. Having just read all the reviews I would say most of the problems seem to be with people on tour packages. I live in Cairns, so I just self drive and don't eat there. The animals seem very well cared for, are spectacular, and the guides give excellent talks. We arrived at 9:00, had a look at some of the animals not included in the tours, and then joined the 10:00am tour. That included the hippos, monkeys and tigers and went until 11:00. I then took the kids into Mareeba, 20 mins away, for lunch. I was also going to visit Granite Gorge in this break but would have needed to bring our own lunch to fit this in. Then we came back for the 1:00pm tour which did the bears, lions and rhino. The children I took were captivated. The only thing that is slightly disappointing is that when I first went to the park I saw the lions running down the hill to get their food, this was fantastic. Now if you want to see this you have to pay for Breakfast with the Beasts, which as seen in other reviews, seems to have some problems with the quality of food and service.

Thank hypatiaC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

We visited Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve on the 27/10/12 and were just overwhelmed! This zoo is really such a credit to the Cairns region!

I would totally recommend this attraction to everyone! They have many very beautiful and unique animals from many parts of the world that you typically only see on TV.
One of the keepers, Anders, gave us a private tour of some of the animals at feeding time and obviously had a deep passion for his work, really had a wealth of knowledge and was friendly and happy to talk to us.

We enjoyed all the animals and it is worth spending a couple of hours if you can to truly immerse yourself amongst the animals. They have two prides of Lions with what could not have been less that 20 in total. The giant rhinoceros was also amazing, he came right up to the fence within meters of us! Not to mention the hippopotamus and many many other animals.

If your a local to cairns or visiting and love animals I urge you to make the time and do a trip here you will not regret it!!

Thank MarinelandMelanesia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

I build Zoos for a living ,have done for most of my life .I have traveled far and wide on this planet seeing Zoos from 2 ferrets in a box to entire forests set up as tourism ventures with natural habitats to draw the crowds . I had seen on the net and heard much gossip about this Cairns Safari park over the years .From failed previous owners ,for what ever reasons to cold toast and how it had ruined ones life . I have to say this park is the base for a world class zoo .It has all the right infrastructure and the very best of display habitats ive seen at any one zoo .Cairns should be so proud to have this park on its door step.The new owners who i had to meet are very genuine and dedicated to this challenge . Elaine and her husband Peter are both very professional people who care greatly about the animals,the staff and the zoos future. I met Elaine chatting away to her pregnant Pigmy Hippo .Anyone from a distance would think shes gone completely mad ,yapping to the Hippos .Oddly enough i chat to any old animal ,even a stray cat if it will stay long enough to hear my greetings .We are all guilty of chatting to our pets when we are alone im sure . Where am i heading with all this ??? The new owners are human and the Zoo is a challenge at the best of times.They are not in this for the money or to make a quick buck ..Its a long term challenge ..If all people can complain about is cold toast or a missed booking ,mmmm.. wtf ..I went to spend an hour or two at this park .I spent the whole day and two more after that ..I could not believe how much scope this property has and how wonderful it can be for conservation and saving our wildlife .I live in Africa now working on endangered animals projects and educating the masses ..This park has all the space and habitats to help show case and educate .The park has a White Rhino tucked away in a nice enclosure.Bengal Tigers ,even a Sumatran . The animals are in supreme condition. I took it upon my self to ask if i could tour the food prep area and behind the scenes .The food they feed out is first class ,the meat is fresh and a nice variety .The Otters get fresh fish and chicken too .Substitute minerals , vitamin & calcium powders applied daily to all animals meals .This was not a show for me ,they had no idea at first who i was .I just wanted to see this Zoo first hand and see all the bad things they were doing .Ive got to tell you , i saw nothing but a great team of staff ,owners and animals .The staff who gave the tours ,spoke very well ,educated and well read on the animals . Safety was well adhered to and all educational talks were just that ,very educational and to my surprise all questions answered very well and in depth ,no guessing . I could sit here and write all day .This park was taken over by the new owners January 2012 .In such a short time they have made huge changes from previous times .I have read reports from others who have been to see as professionals ,the reports that got emailed to me were very damning ,nothing close to what i saw ..I saw a zoo being totally transformed and looking into the future with huge doable plans .Breeding programs and aligning with like minded zoos and institutions . The only real danger to this park is the gossip and some people not wanting it to succeed from what i could see .I have nothing to gain or lose in my report here .One things for sure ,if we don't all go to support and visit this zoo we could very well lose it and all its animals ..It takes a huge commitment to own and run a zoo .It takes the entire community to get together ,local attractions and businesses too . Cairns you should be so proud to have this project in your town .Well worth a visit ,i was well impressed and very surprised with this place ..It needs a little work still in some areas ,they need more animals for breeding programs .They need like mined Zoos around the world to work with them .The new owners have just taken over and in a very short time are dotting the I's and crossing the T's .Job well done by owners and staff alike ..Be proud of such a nice park .

4  Thank Tony G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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