We’re always on the look-out for unique experiences, and in particular, attractions which will satisfy the whole family. Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park delivered on both counts. We’ve certainly never had the opportunity to see a herd of Bison up close, and doing spins in an Argo had BJ smiling from ear-to-ear.
Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park is just under an hour’s drive from Evans Head, where we were staying on our recent road trip. The tourist park is set on 1180 acres and the working American Bison ranch offers visitors a unique experience, whether visiting for the day, or staying in one of their Native American-style tipis. Visitors can also camp at the park.
We packed a picnic lunch and headed inland from the coast to the park not really knowing what to expect. I’ve seen Bison on TV but apart from that I knew very little.
The American Bison were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800’s. Thankfully Yellowstone National Park was established and the Bison was saved from certain doom.
Although the Bison weigh up to 750kg they can jump up to 2 metres and run as fast as a race horse, keeping up that speed for up to 12 kms. Their top speed is 60 kilometres per hour! A good thing to keep in mind if you’re ever visiting Yellowstone National Park because more people are killed each year by Bison than bears. Despite this alarming statistic, we had safe and enjoyable interactions with the Bison at Aranyani.
BISON FEED & TALK
We found it interesting watching the Bison arrive for their feed and watching the hierarchy within the herd. The Bison were still in the middle of shedding their winter coats which seems to happen at a varying rate.
Some of the Bison were still quite well covered which made me hot just looking at them given it was such an incredibly hot and sticky day when we visited.
The Bison ran in and eagerly gobbled up their grain. Once they’d finished we had the opportunity to feed apples to a few of the Bison. They were gentle and happy to take the fruit from our hands. BJ was happy to watch from a distance in the shade. He wasn’t so sure about the huge furry guys.
A BISON WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Meet Tehya (pictured above with AJ), an 18 month old Bison. The name Tehya means precious in Native American and that’s exactly what she is.. A couple of days after Tehya was born, staff realised there was a problem as she was constantly losing her mother in the herd. It turns out Tehya is blind so she needed to be hand raised and separated from the herd for her safety. She seems so content and totally besotted with her keeper Courtney. The feeling appears to be mutual!
AJ had the privilege of giving Tehya a bottle of milk which she downed in no time. No judgement, but she actually guzzled two in quick succession so she’ll be tipping the scales in no time.
We then had the opportunity to have a cuddle with Tehya in her pen and she’s gorgeous. So loving and easy to fall in love with. Courtney did warn us to watch our toes because although lovely, she is a little weighty!
Given BJ’s wariness of the Bison we positioned him on the opposite side of the pen so he could watch but wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the experience. It was interesting to see Tehya make her way over to his side and despite her being so close BJ seemed relatively at ease with her.
I’m not a camping girl but the novelty of staying in a tipi at Aranyani could win me over.
Guests can choose to sleep in a swag or there’s the option of the beds. The tipis are quite spacious but I think BJ would go a little stir-crazy as he likes lots of space to cruise around. I can see him enjoying the socialising around the communal fire pit and the chance to roast marshmallows. The property is far away from the bright lights of the city so I imagine the stars on a clear night would be stunning.
Aranyani has a range of activities for guests to enjoy including miniature golf, a swimming pool, canoeing and exotic birds.
Being an animal lover, the highlight of the visit for AJ was the opportunity to meet the animals, especially Tehya.
Without a doubt, BJ’s highlight was the Argo tour. This absolutely made his day.
We all loved touring the property in the Argo. We cruised by the Bison, spotted wallabies in the bush and had fun sliding around in the water and mud.
Access at Aranyani Bison Adventure Tourist Park is good. Compressed gravel paths lead guests around most of the park, though we did need to go off-road on the grass to some activities. BJ’s manual wheelchair, with his ordinary tyres, dealt with it well.
There is a stand-alone unisex accessible bathroom available.
The tipis have a tent-style lip on the entrance but once inside circulation space is good. The room in the tipi is dependent on how many beds you put in there.
The playground and miniature golf are not accessible.
We had a really lovely time at Aranyani and all came away feeling we’d had a unique day. Seeing BJ having such a wow of a time in the Argo made my day, but like AJ, I enjoyed my time with Tehya.
Go to the Aranyani Bison Adventure website for more information about the cost of the accommodation and tours.
We paid for our entry into the park but received a complimentary Argo tour. I think the video will tell you that our enthusiastic review is based on the fun of the experience.
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