When starting to do some research online and read through our guidebooks before visiting Sydney, everywhere recommended a visit to Taronga Zoo. The zoo is located on the opposite side of the harbour from the Sydney Opera House, so we took a ferry across to the zoo. You can save a few dollars by purchasing a combined zoo and ferry ticket at the ferry ticket office, I think this was a little over $40.
When you arrive at the ferry stop for the zoo, you can take a cable car or a bus up to the entrance, and we opted for the cable car. It takes you right over the top of the zoo, giving wonderful views of some of the animal enclosures.
The first thing we did when we arrived at the zoo was book the Koala Encounter. This allows you to go into the koala enclosure and have photos taken up close to the animals. This costs $20 extra, which may seem a little expensive, but it was a fantastic experience, and includes a souvenir photo.
The zoo features all sorts of amazing animals including elephants, tigers, giraffes, chimps, kangeroos, komodo dragons, sealions and plenty more. There are various shows during the day where the keepers explain more about various animals, which were really interesting and enjoyable.
The zoo also has the most fantastic views back across the harbour to the opera house and the bridge, so you can get some great pictures here!
All the animals in the zoo appear to be happy and well taken care of. The enclosures seem to be spacious and imitate the natural habitat of the animals, which is always good to see. The zoo has a very strong focus on conservation and protecting the animals, rather than showing them off.
Taronga Zoo proved to be a fantastic day out, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney.
Taronga Park Zoo; the zoo with a view.
It's not only the humans who appreciate it either, see the beautiful giraffes as they haughtily peer around. I wonder if they can see what we see: back to Sydney's city skyline, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House or beautiful Sydney Harbour.
Taronga Park Zoo is an interesting day out for people of all ages; it's just great for the animals too. They enjoy a charmed life, bereft of the stresses their cousins have in trying to survive in the wilds.
The 2000 different exotic and Australian native animals live in a sensitive environment, presented to the public in as near to natural surroundings that they would exist in, if they were in their own natural environment.
Taronga Park Zoo is set in a huge, park-like setting, lots of trees and undergrowth, on the hillside beside the seafront of Sydney Harbour. This means visitors can shelter under the trees if the weather is at it's southern hemisphere best.
There is so much to see at this zoo which some visitors declare it the best in the world. I haven't been to lots of zoos so won't go down that track.
I do know, I've really liked being at Taronga Park Zoo for my two visits and have many happy memories of our family days there.
One of these is this strange behaviour: at the top gate we were waiting in the queue and to keep us entertained we found this little zoo ``happening''.
There was a long, tidy queue of insects following each other on the tarseal; some people were taking one out of the queue and it would wait patiently, until the end of the line appeared, and get in on the end to carry on down the hill! Strange.
There's a big focus on visitors being interactive with the animals so the Wild Australian Experience is the place to be to get up close to the koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and wombats. You are allowed to help feed them and of course there are picture opportunities with the cuddly koalas and giraffes.
This paying for a picture aspect grinds on some people but I feel it is a donation to the upkeep and continuing high standards at the zoo.
Just a little aside here. The koalas arent' actually bears. They are closely related to wombats but because they look so cuddly they've become known as koala bears.
Some people are surprised when they see the koala bears because they seem so sleepy all the time. The reason why, is that they only eat eucaplyptus leaves, there is not much nutrition in this food: hence they have little energy so they sleep all day. (I'm not one to gossip, but I have heard it's because there's an alcoholic content in the eucalyptus gum and they are constantly a little pie-eyed!!!)
I was interested in a sun monkey. It sat in the trees and faced the sun with its huge arms spanned out, to catch the sun on its tummy. It stayed like that for ages, like a statue, quite unusual.
Another little incident sticks in my mind and it involved the huge, I mean really huge, turtle in an open pen. As we walked by some young people leaned over the fence and lifted his shell up until it looked quite awkward. My mother rushed over and gave them a piece of her mind and they got such a shock they put it down and took off. Brave mumma, I say!
Throughout the day you can attend talks with keepers about some of the animals: gorilla talk, chimps, giraffe and reptile talks. I haven't' been to them all but I am sure if you want to learn about conservation and preservation of some of these species, or just know what makes them tick in captivity, these sessions will help you get more out of your Taronga Park Zoo visit.
Take the time to do the Bushbird Trail, I was amazed at how many different types of birds offer so much colour and exotic style to the bird-world.
We took a picnic but you can buy food and refreshments at the cafe/restaurants for most of the day.
This zoological garden is a must when in Sydney and it is easy to get to. Take the 12-minute ferry ride over, from Circular Quay. Then, all you do is step off the boat and you are on the zoo's jetty. You can buy a ticket which includes zoo entry and the zoo cable car to take you to the top gate/entrance.
If you take a bus, it leaves from Wynard Bus station and leaves you at the top gate entrance, so you just wander down the hill and you may like to catch the ferry back.
If you drive yourself there is a huge car park nearby.
For the latest in prices, times etc I suggest you visit Http://www.zoo.nsw.gov.au/content/view.asp?id=39
Hope you enjoyed this little look at Taronga Park Zoo and if you are visiting Sydney in the future, do pop it on your mustn't miss list.