When the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria Australia called for designs and concepts for unique safari buses to transport visitors around the grounds, IVECO designed a range of buses to meet the zoo’s requirement for strength and security which still allowed visitors clear views of the wild animals.
The Werribee Open Range Zoo provides a wildlife experience like no other. With rhinos, giraffes, hippos and antelopes freely roaming the grounds, it could easily be mistaken for an African safari rather than a suburban zoo. Attracting more than 350000 people each year, visitors marvel at the magnificent wildlife enjoying their natural surrounds in the open range landscape.
Located on the Werribee River, the open range zoo is situated on approximately 560 acres. With such vast distances to be covered, visitors take a guided safari tour to discover the open savannah. As visitor numbers increase each year, the Werribee zoo decided to invest in new look transportation that was capable of meeting the increased demand.
“The zoo put out a tender in the middle of last year looking for designs and concepts to run something different that still meets the functional requirements of the zoo,” said IVECO Sales Manager Cameron Millar. The manufacturer worked together with Rambler to design a prototype to meet the requirements.
Based on the IVECO Delta Graduate bus chassis and customised to look like a safari truck, the design was selected by the Werribee Zoo. Four buses were built in Dandenong, Victoria and each have the capacity to tow three trailers and transport approximately 160 people around the grounds. The vehicles were completely designed and built in Australia, with the bodywork and trailers built by Rambler. The design features glassless windows in order to provide a close experience with the animals.
Modifications were made to the steering and the towbars to ensure that the buses were capable of towing the trailers. The rear tyres also had to be changed to an aggressive tread pattern to provide more traction for travel on the dirt roads of the zoo grounds. For safety, the speed of the trucks is limited to 30km/h around the zoo but they have been built with a lockable switch to allow maintenance staff to drive it up to 100km/h for service requirements.
The zoo has ordered four buses each with three trailers attached. According to Tim Grech, Manager Visitor Development & Learning at the Werribee Zoo “We are initially trialling one of the prime mover buses with our zoo members and the initial feedback has been very positive”.