“ Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Sydney, Tel: 02 9969 2777. „
Last summer I took my children to Australia on a very special holiday. The trip included a few days in Sydney, staying in the rocks area of the city. With so much to do and see it this wonderful city, choosing was difficult! However we all agreed that we wanted to spend a day visiting Taronga as we had read good things about this conservation zoo. Let me start by saying I am not normally a fan of zoos, as I think animals should be left in the wild. However I was prepared to give this one the benefit of the doubt!
We were staying in the rocks area of the city, just a few minutes walk from circular quay. From the quay it is easy to take a ferry directly to the zoo. We decided to purchase a combined ticket that included the ferry, zoo entry and a ride on the sky safari. The cost of the ticket is 51.50 AUS dollars for an adult with children from 4-15 getting half price. The ferry trip takes about 15 minutes giving you spectacular views of the bridge and opera house. I think this is the best way to travel!
However it is also possible to take a bus from the city to the zoo which is situated at Bradley head road in the Mosman district. If you prefer you can drive to the zoo, although you will have to pay a 16 dollar car parking fee.
What is there to see?
As you arrive via the ferry, you will see the sky safari in front of you. The ride only takes a few minutes to reach the zoo, but it is fun soaring above the animal enclosures on your way in. When we visited in August the sky safari stopped running just before the zoo closed at 4.30. It was disappointing not to have had a second ride!
Once inside the zoo I suggest you pick up a free map and spend a few minutes deciding what you want to see. The zoo is quite large and there are several free keeper talks throughout the day. There are also animal encounters as well as shows on offer.
We started our tour by visiting the Australian animal enclosure. This is a walk through area and contained kangaroos, wallerbies, emus, possums and other indigenous animals. We had seen many of these animals on out travels and it was interesting to see them up close and have the opportunity to ask the resident keeper questions about them.
The Koala house is accessed via steps and you can walk around the enclosure to see these delightful animals close up. It is fun to time your visit to coincide with feeding time! There is a koala encounter available for an extra cost that includes having your photo taken with a Koala (you are not allowed to hold Koalas in New South Wales as it is illegal). The cost of the encounter was really expensive so we gave this a miss.
I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian devil and their enclosure was large with lots of interesting information about their struggle for survival. The zoo are making great efforts to save these amazing creatures and you can join the conservation programme by contributing financially. I was a also keen to see the elusive platypus as we had sat for hours by a river hoping for a sighting with no luck! They really are very odd looking animals!
My children were both keen to see the Gorillas and we were not disappointed! The enclosure was quite large and well planned. The animals looked well cared for and there were several baby Gorillas to see. We spent some time watching these intelligent animals interacting with each other. Again there is an active conservation programme in place to help these animals survive.
I was not impressed with the bear enclosure as it seemed quite small. I love bears and found it upsetting to see them in cramped surroundings. This s also applied to the white tiger on display. It was pacing and didn't seem to have much space to move around. I accept they are endangered ,but still believe this is not a good environment for such a large animal.
The zoo also has Asian elephants and they did have a lot of space. We also liked watching the otters frolic as you can view them under water as they swim.
If I had to pick out my favourite area of the zoo it would have to be the reptile house. This contained many Australian snakes (and there are a lot!) I have a fascination with snakes, although am not keep to encounter them in the wild! Australia has most of the worlds most deadly snakes including the Brown snake and Taipan. We had been told by a local that the both these species will actually chase after you if disturbed and the keeper confirmed this! There were also lots of lizards and insects. Each reptile had an information plaque on its tank and we spent over an hour walking though.
As I have mentioned there are several really good keeper talks throughout the day. Unfortunately some times clash so you will need to decide the ones you are most interested in. We opted to go to the spider talk and were not disappointed! It was really interesting to learn about Australian spiders, dispelling some of the myths! We also got the chance to get close and personal to some enormous hairy spiders! The talk is held outside sitting on stone seats overlooking Sydney harbour.
The zoo is famous for its amazing bird and seal shows, held a few times each day. The shows are included in your entry price and not to be missed! We first went to the seal show. This takes place in an open air pool with tiered seating. It is a very popular show so try to arrive in plenty of time to get a decent seat. Several of the seals have been rescued and nursed back to health by the zoo; one still had the scars from a shark attack. The seals perform amazing *tricks*, such as diving into the pool and balancing a ball on command. They are rewarded with fish after they have performed. Although the show is very clever, I really do not believe animals should be used in this way.
The free flight bird show was even more amazing! It featured several birds of prey demonstrating how agile they are. There were black kites, an eagle and peregrine falcon. The show also featured a coin stealing Galah bird. A woman in the audience was asked to holds a coin in her hand and the bird then flew over and took the coin from her! At one point the keeper told the story of how the zoo had once been overrun with rats; cue for dozens of rats to run along the hand rails! Luckily they all went into there enclosure whilst an eagle eyed hunting bird was kept away!
This is a great place to bring a picnic and the concert lawn has great views over Sydney harbour. Even in August (winter in oz) it was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the view! If you prefer there are several cafes and food stall throughout the park selling all manor of food choices including fish and chips, rolls, cakes and full meals. As we bought our own food I can't comment on the standard of the food on offer.
There are plenty of clean, well maintained toilets throughout the park. The ones I used had bay changing facilities.
The zoo is accessible for anyone with mobility problems and there are wheelchairs for hire at the main entrance. Most of the enclosures are wheel chair friendly with ramps giving easy access. There are also pushchairs for hire.
The zoo has a large, well stocked shop. The merchandise looked of good quality and there were some very cute animal glove puppets that I was tempted to buy. However a look at the price tickets persuaded me otherwise!
Overall whatever you feel about zoos, this one is better than most! It is in a stunning location and the ferry trip across the harbour is magic. My children both enjoyed the day and learnt a lot . The zoo has animals from all around the world, but it was the Australia critters we really went to see!
This review is on my visit to Taronga City Zoo, which is located in Sydney Australia. I had heard some great reviews about the Zoo, and was told if your ever going to Sydney its one of the best places to visits in terms of finding out about the local wildlife which is indigenous to that part of the World. I was truly amazed, I have been to a lot of Zoo's around the world, however I found the zoo, more exotic and exciting to visits and this however could be because it was set in a beautiful country, which was experiencing a 40 degree heat wave.
The zoo was officially opened in 1916, with over 50 acres of free space which is home to some 2,600 animals.
How to Get There:
There are several ways to get to the zoo; these include taking modes of transport such as the bus, a ferry, a train and a local bus operator which offers a return journey, which I think most tourists, might find the easiest.
Alternatively if you have a car you can park in their car park, however expect to pay a parking fee in the range of $15. The bus or coach fair has several pickup points which tourist use, they offer a relatively simple operation, prices set me back around $10, if you need more information you can contact +61 2 9969 2777.
Prices and Rates:
The ticket prices for admission can varies and it is usually down to the time of the year you are visiting the zoo, however the last time I checked the zoo prices were as followed;
Regular admission was $41 for adults and $20 for children between 4-15 years of age; they also offer a discount for senior citizens, usually in the price region of $25.
I actually travelled with a group, and we had the option of doing a group booking, which offered us a discounted price, as there were a large number of us. If you are going in a group, which is usually more than 12 people then you can expect to pay $32, which gives you a saving of $9. You can also have the option of booking a one day or two day pass, which allows you to cover the zoo over a number of days.
The zoo opens at 9:00 am in the morning, and to be honest visitors have a wide variety of things they can do, they have the option of either going around the zoo by themselves, take up some presentations or stick with a tour guide who will show you around the park in great detail, making sure you don't miss anything, whilst at the same time giving you some detailed background information about the animal, its habitat, etc.
Some of the tours included in the visit can include the Australian Walkabout tour, which is a group tour which usually takes about 1 to 1 and a half hours long. The tour includes a visit to the Kangaroo, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds. This is a great opportunity to visit these indigenous animals up close and personal, the tour even allows you to how koalas in your hand which is quite and experience, there is also plenty of time to take some photographs.
If you have the time I would also recommend taking the Wild Australia tour, which again usually last about 1 and a half hours. This tour is more of a hands on experience, you get involved with the zoo keepers and also get a chance to see what happens on a daily places in terms of how they look after the animals, how they feed them etc . The tour starts at either 10:00am or 14:00 pm. I was gob smacked when I had the chance to feed the baby kangaroos, its something that cant be done in most zoo's and it really does add excitement to the zoo tour.
The zoo also offers Animal encounter packages, which charge you an additional fee to get up close and personal with some of the most magnificent animals, these include, Kangaroo, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds. The package includes and induction tour and a photograph with you and an animal up close and personal. Fees for this type of package are as followed; The Koala Encounters cost $19:95, Reptile encounter $19.95, Hold and Owl is $19.95, the Seal encounter costing $39.95 and Giraffes in Focus costing $19.95
The zoo has a wide variety of animals, which you may or may not have seen before. However, I found watching these animals so much more fascinating because they had some nice surrounding man made habitats. We also get a chance to see animals that you can only see in Australia; these include my favourite's kangaroos and Koala. There are also a great deal of water inhabited animals such as hypos, which also adds some fear and excitement, getting a chance to see these wild and beastly animals.
The zoo also offers visitors a chance to stay at the zoo overnight in their accommodation facility, allowing you to be in a jungle type facility, sleeping under the starts and being close the animals. For more information please look at the following link.
The zoo also has several places were you can relax and have some breakfast and lunch, or simply some tea or coffee. There is a wide variety in terms of food and with a very scenic backdrop it makes it a brilliant and calming environment. Its very relaxing unlike some of the theme parks you go to where it's packed, busy and full of kids.
The Taronga Food Market is a simple and convenient food hut, were you can pick up easy and quick food such as burgers and pizzas, chips, hot dogs to name just a few.
For alcohol you can visit the local licensed Café, which offers some cold beverages, which go down very well on a very hot summer's day.
The local zoo shop is also there for visitors for people to purchase some great gifts that they can take back with them; these include photographs, key rings, and post cards.
Overall the zoo is a brilliant place for people to visits; it's a really exciting hand on experience, which is very exciting. The exotic animals, the scenic views and the hands on experiences you can have make it one of the most exciting zoos in Australia.
Trust me to manage to turn up in Australia in November and get 2 weeks of cool rainy weather. This was 2003, the rugby world cup was in full swing and more importantly my brother was getting married. I decided to escape from the rellies for a day and catch some Aussie wildlife at Taronga Zoo. I was dropped off in the centre of Sydney and walked through the Botanical Gardens (fantastic) past the Opera House to Circular Quay where I got a ferry across to Taronga. I didn?t realise that you could get a combined ticket for the ferry and the zoo so I paid separately ($25-00 entrance to the zoo) and lost a few dollars. I remembered the Zoo very well from visits as a child and it was good to see the place had had a lot of work done on it and the old concrete cages were gone. There is still a lot of work going on at the bottom end of the Zoo. My real interest was Aussie animals which are grouped together at the top of the Zoo so the work didn?t really effect me. The cable car from the ferry up the steep hill to the top of the Zoo is good fun and included in the entrance fee. Near the entrance were some bored looking Koalas in small pens. Their job was to pose with visitors for photos, for a fee mind you. I noticed they disappeared later, presumably to some nicer accommodation. I am usually upset by at least one thing in a zoo, usually lots, but I can honestly say all the animals I saw looked happy and well cared for and were living in spacious, green, natural looking accommodation. Many of the animals were searching for food, dingos and echnidnas seemed to be finding bits of things to crunch up in the vegetation in their enclosures. There were 3 enclosures you were allowed to walk through. One was full of beautiful native birds, wallabies, long necked turtles and lizards. There were also platypus apparently though I didn?t see them. Another contained kangaroos and wallabies. The third had some kangaroos zooming around in a very bouncy fash
ion with an emu and possibly at times some wombats but they all seemed to be asleep when I was there. You could see them in their burrows snoring away. There were lots of cages full of greenery and beautiful birds. I also saw the komodo dragon, goannas, platypus, snakes, pelicans and brolgas. I can report that the seal enclosure was looking clean, the seals I saw were in the main large pool and seemed happy enough. Algae in a pool isn?t a problem in itself. I keep fish and you only need to clear the algae away for the benefit of the viewers. I didn't see the old world animals, so I can't comment on conditions in that area of the zoo. I figured they wouldn't be as happy being so far from their natural habitat and anyway there were enough native aussie animals to keep me happy. So for me it was a very enjoyable day. Peaceful too as the rain drove away many visitors and my photos were excellent. After a lovely cup of herb tea at the friendly café near the top entrance I took the last cable car back down to the quay at about 5:00pm and headed back to Circular Quay.
Often refered to as the worlds best zoo. Sydneysiders and millions of tourists constantly visit the magnificent zoo. Situated at Mosman, one of Sydney's most beautiful suburbs, Taronga Zoo occupies over 33 hectares and is a must-see for any visitor. The zoo is home to over 2000 specimens and 400 species. Spiral pathways wind round the various exhibits and down the tree-lined hill to the wharf on Sydney Harbour. The inhabitants at Taronga Zoo have some of the best views in Sydney. If you are lucky you will be blessed with the super sydney sunshine, adding to your delightful day. Taronga is sectioned off according to the animal's country of origin. If you start at the top of the park and make your way down, you won't be left with the uphill walk at the end of the day The zoo is one of the best in the world and is aimed at educating and conserving, they operate conservation-oriented research using Zoo-basedskills and expertise in collaboration with external organisations such as universities and research institutions. The zoo keeps almost 40 endagered species from all over the world. reasonable priced, good access for all and easy to get to. a visit is well worth putting on your list.
Before I start, I would like to say something. I was talking to a German friend about the Zoo and recommended that she didn’t go there. She then went on to speak to her Australian contact who asked if I “was blind” because, in her opinion, the Zoo was a fantastic place to visit and there was nothing at all wrong with it. Now, I was very insulted that someone could have the nerve to say such a thing, when she doesn’t know a thing about me, or what I saw when I was there. Now, I am not going to judge this Australian girl as I don’t know how often she visits the Zoo, what part of the year she goes or her personal opinion on how animals should be kept, instead I would just like to make the following point: I can only comment on this one visit to the Zoo. Based on this visit, I know that I will NEVER go again. Here’s why… Taronga Zoo is a short ferry ride from Circular Quay and is located on the bank of the harbour. You can purchase tickets separately, or you can buy a combined ferry/entrance ticket. The park is pretty clean, and is actually quite impressive at first glance, but this is where my positivity ends. Walking around the Zoo I noticed that many enclosures were in the process of being re-built or having other improvements made to them. Not a great start. It was a fairly cold, dark day and occasionally it would rain (we were there in June 2000). As we walked around it was amazing how depressed the animals looked. The Kangaroos were huddled around the fence at the back of their area, the gorillas huddled in small groups in various areas of their enclosure. This is one image that will stick in my mind for a long time to come and even today brings tears to my eyes. They looked so very depressed. There was another primate (not sure what type) that was hanging around by the viewing window, he/she was looking through and reaching out almost as if to say “Take me away from here”. Now, obviously ther
e is a certain amount of personal interpretation in this, but I have NEVER seen animals that make ME feel that miserable on their behalf. That was not the end of it. The seal enclosure is another one of those memorable moments I spoke of just now. There were a number of pools. One was being used to feed some seals with visitors present, another really large pool remained empty. The final pool was small and in it there was a fairly large seal that swam, repetitively up and down, over and over again, it didn’t take very long for it to perform a circuit, before it started again. In fact it wasn’t a circuit. The pool wasn’t round, and nor was there enough room for the seal to swim in any kind of cyclical way. Instead it’s flippers (or are they fins?) emerged either end as it turned around. Now this kind of behaviour reminds me of those neglected orphans. Do you know the ones? Did you ever see the documentaries where these poor children just rocked for hours and hours, and basically went insane (that bit might not be strictly accurate, I think they had some mental illness that made them react that way in the first place and the lack of stimulation and attention was thought to be a partial cause… but you get my point!)? Now, there may have been a reason for keeping this seal in this small enclosure whilst there was a perfectly reasonable looking larger one that it could have been put in. The pools themselves looked disgusting and were covered in green slime. The point has been made that this was a time that was outside the regular tourist season. Even so, this does not sound like a reasonable condition to keep animals. Even if it doesn't do the animals any harm, it certainly does not make a good impression on the visitors! A similar thing was seen at the Tasmanian Devils enclosure. These two Devils ran up and down the same two foot of earth over and over again for ages. This behaviour had nothing to do with the
size of the enclosure, as it was much bigger than this, but still they persisted in this little ritual. We stood there watching and I needed no other reason to make me want to leave. So that’s what I did, I think I cried outside as I waited for the bus to take us back down to the pier to get the ferry, and if I didn’t cry, I came very close. This is why I will never return to the Zoo, and I certainly don’t think I am blind. I will end with a little more positivity and recommendations. There is an area where you can find a mountain goat. The view of the opera house from here is wonderful and it gives you another perspective of the city (- there is a similar picture on the website with a giraffe in frame, with the Opera House in the background). I would only recommend that you visit this Zoo if you are seriously pushed for time in the city. If you don’t have enough time to visit Wonderland (see my other opinion for a comparison), and you want to see the Australian Wildlife first hand, and you aren’t going to get another chance on your trip, then by all means go. Otherwise, save your money, spend your time visiting one of the other wonderful attractions and sites Sydney has to offer!