Sydney’s premier wildlife attraction on the banks of this famous harbour feels less like a conventional zoo and more like Noah’s Ark!
A zoo is a zoo, you may think. And to a certain extent you’d be right. However, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, NSW, Australia, is really something special. It is known as one of the finest zoos in the world, both in terms of its exhibits and its locale on the edge of Sydney Harbour. There are many famous photos floating around of the giraffes in their exhibits looking across the water at the famous Sydney Opera House! Now that’s what I call a zoo with a view!
It wouldn’t be Australia unless you saw some kangaroos (or ‘roos, as they are affectionately known locally around here). These were one of the first animals I remember seeing during my visit. I liked the simple yet effective exhibits of the local wildlife, including the Tasmanian devils, which had their own enclosure themed to a road kill, complete with mock-decaying ‘roo corpse! I’ve never seen anything so unique in a zoo before!
I have visited some of the most famous zoos across Asia, including my favourite of all Singapore Zoo, but this one in Sydney is certainly ranked up there with the best of them. With an admission fee of AUD46 per adult, it isn’t exactly cheap. However, you will find most things in Australia are considerably more expensive than the comparisons in Asia, from taxis to pubs, and from hostels to zoos! I thought the AUD46 was acceptable, but make sure you make the most of your visit when you are there – and preferably make the crossing over to Taronga Pier in good weather! Remember, you can reach Taronga Zoo from Circular Quay on the Sydney Ferries. It takes around 10 minutes and that is the best way to arrive, although I am pretty sure there must be other ways, especially for local people who don’t want all the touristic nonsense on their journey to the zoo.
What animal exhibits are most worth your time at Taronga Zoo? Well, I am a fan of big cats, and the Big Cat Trail was a highlight for me, with the lions and tigers looking particular sexy, and also a snow leopard, which is rare to see, even in captivity. There are also exhibits themed to various regions of the world, such as Africa, and local wildlife on display within the Australian Walkabout exhibits. And of course, in any zoo, you would be foolish not to enjoy the elephants and apes, including orangutans and chimpanzees.
All in all, I am told there are over 4000 animals at Taronga Zoo, and in addition there are many zookeeper shows and demonstrations throughout the day to keep the little kids entertained.