Day 126 – Murray Bridge – “There’s the Murray and a bridge”
Nov 24, 2009
|An interesting fact we found out today, in the early 70’s, the SA government of the time decided that, because Adelaide was about to experience such astronomical growth, they would need to build a ‘satellite city’ at Monarto. Yes it’s true. So even governments were apparently smoking something in the 70’s!! So convinced of this exponential growth were they that they compulsorily acquired all the farm land in the area and built a three lane freeway out to it.
When the government changed (and a strong dose of reality set in) they realised that perhaps they did not need all this land. 40 years later and I think it’s fair to say they have been proven correct…..The bonus is the freeway was built which made driving out here easier.
All of the land was then offered back to the farmers and all but two of the families took their land back. The two that did not, combined was a total of approximately 1000 hectares which has since been converted into an ‘open plain style’ zoo, similar to Dubbo.
To be fair comparing Monarto with Dubbo is a bit like comparing Adelaide with Sydney. It’s a good sized zoo but no comparison to Dubbo.
Getting there as the gates opened this morning (with our Buy One Get One Free cereal box voucher in hand), easy with our two alarm clocks in full voice, we started with drives through the Asian animals and then the African animals, including African painted dogs, lions and cheetah.
The Zoo does have a good supply of the more obscure species like addax, Barbary sheep, bongos (not the drums), onyx and the Mesopotamian fallow deer. Not the average animal you get to use in a game of Eye spy. ‘I spy something beginning with M………………. Mesopotamian fallow deer is not the first thing that comes to mind…..Moo cow is the correct answer if you are playing in our car
There was also the option of walking through the grounds, not in the enclosures like the busses to view the various exhibits. I did enjoy the irony of our visit to the walk through wallaby enclosure that had less wallabies than most caravan parks we have stayed in for the last 5 months. If you are reading this in NZ, the correct answer is less wallabies that a victory podium at a Bledisloe game
Not surprisingly Evan’s favourites were the chimps. He was particularly fascinated by the faeces smearing/eating incident that does not need a full retelling here, except to say it provided a barrage of questions to his parents for the rest of the day. There was a school group there as well so I do feel sorry for the teachers on the bus home.
At the end of our walk was the giraffe enclosure. Apparently Monarto has the largest giraffe population in Australia. The best part was you are so close on the raised boardwalk you were looking at them eye to eye. At one stage it looked like one was trying to give Ev a kiss (see photo). He could have reached out and touched it he was so close.
In the visitors centre there was also a display of the Greater Bilby (as opposed to the average and the lesser bilby?). I thought they were made of chocolate but apparently some are furry as well. Maybe they get a chocolate coat at the end of summer.
We had a quiet afternoon back in the van park playing on the playground and/or wandering around Murray Bridge. In fact it would be difficult to ever say “we had a spectacular and awe inspiring afternoon in Murray Bridge”. I have to agree with my sister in law, Cath, (or she beats me up) ‘Murray Bridge has the Murray, and a bridge (two actually) and little else’. Nice place, not much to do.