Oakvale Wildlife Park

Salt Ash, New South Wales, Australia

Leanne's first foray into the hospitality industry came when she married, Kent, whose family opened Oakvale Wildlife Park in 1979.


As well as sharing Kent's passion for native wildlife, Leanne has always believed in welcoming visitors to the park as she would guests in her home, and serving the best products in the park's cafe is part of that philosophy. Expansion plans and improving visitor experiences have been a 20-year work-in-progress. 



How do you separate your personal life from your life at Oakvale Wildlife Park?

Not well 😊; it's a family business and I love people so there is a lot of crossover.

What’s your favourite ‘me time’ thing to do?

Laying by the pool chatting with my kids and husband.

What nice surprises have you found in running Oakvale Wildlife Park?

The beautiful people you meet, and the life-long friendships with colleagues and customers. 

What not-so-nice surprises?

Being yelled at for something beyond my control or not meeting unreasonable expectations. 

Do you have any advice for someone contemplating opening or buying a café?

Brace yourself 😉. Speak to existing operators and asks lots of questions. 

Do you have any funny or favourite visitor stories?

I love being able to 'love on people' and that has brought so many opportunities for fun and laughter over the last 20 years that I wouldn't know where to begin to choose just one.

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