Snap up a devil of an opportunity in Taranna – Tassie’s famous Unzoo
ONE of Tasmania’s most popular and important tourist attractions has hit the market for this first time in four decades.
The Tasmanian Devil Unzoo at Taranna, just 10 minutes from Port Arthur, is a global leader in shaping the future of zoos in the 21st century.
Unlike a traditional zoo with lines of cages, the innovative unzoo concept invites visitors into natural habitats with barriers removed or concealed.
At Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, the only enclosures are for the four Tasmanian devils, which is required by law.
Knight Frank commercial sales consultant John Blacklow said it was extremely rare to have the opportunity to sell a zoo.
“I sold Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary about 15 years ago, so yes, rare indeed,” he said.
Mr Blacklow said a business and property such as this would no doubt appeal to animal lovers.
“I’d imagine a husband and wife with a family might be the buyer demographic. The figures are very good so it would also suit investors,” he said.
Described as a “revolutionary project”, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is the vision of international design consultant Jon Coe who, in 2007, developed a master plan for the owners, the Hamilton family, to turn their traditional wildlife park into an immersive nature experience.
In 1979, the zoo was opened as Tasmanian Devil Park then later became the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park to reflect the continuing effort to conserve the Devil species and raise awareness of Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
In 2014, the park was renamed Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, reflecting the new ‘unzoo-like’ ethos.
John Hamilton has owned the property since 1978, and in 2012 he was awarded the Qantas Award for an outstanding contribution to the Tasmanian Tourism industry.
Mr Hamilton was part of the original scientific group that identified that devils were under threat and that isolation and wild devils were required to save the species.
His proposal that a disease-free breeding project be established has resulted in an insurance population of more than 1000 healthy devils being bred at institutions around Australia.
Prior to COVID-19, Tasmania’s tourism sector was flying and Mr Blacklow said in time he would expect the Apple Isle to pick back up where it left off.
“Once we have certainty, via the vaccine, we expect to see strong visitor numbers,” he said.
“Tourism in Tasmania has not been able to fully rebound yet.
“In the last four months visitor numbers were greatly increasing, however, with periodic border closures in some states, this meant cancellations.
“This is a challenge for the industry as it erodes the confidence of travellers to be able to book their trip with certainty.”
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo includes extensive bushland, wildlife habitats, a native botanic garden with native orchid reserve, a cafe, visitor centre, outbuildings and a large 1890s residence.
Located at No. 5990 Arthur Highway, Taranna’s 9.16ha park and residence will be sold by expressions of interest closing March 25 at 4pm.