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Taronga Zoo

Listed under Visitor Attractions in Sydney, Australia.

  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
  • Photo of Taronga Zoo
Photo of Taronga Zoo
Photo by flickr user TravelJunkieoz
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The well worn cliché about Taronga is that the giraffes have a five million dollar view. I beg to differ. I say with inflation their view - which even from my eye level incorporates that quintessential Sydney Harbour backdrop of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the city glinting in the sun, which also makes the deep blue water sparkle - is worth more like ten or twelve million, depending on what kind of house they built. Standing there, metres below their head I often wondered why they gave the best view to the tallest animals – surely these guys have a good view anywhere? But then it’s not like any of these creatures are slumming it in the scenery department: unsurprisingly the word taronga is an aboriginal word meaning beautiful view.

Built into the side of a cove, the best way to arrive at Taronga is by ferry. Arriving at the dock you can go up in the chair life and zig zag your way back down the steep paths to the bottom. Enclosures run like wide stairs or bands so if it wasn’t for the trees mimicking each animal’s natural habitat they’d all have an amazing view.

The original entrance at the top of the hill is perfectly old school and small, especially considering the zoo now has one of the largest areas of any zoo worldwide. You’ll definitely need a map, but generally speaking the Australian animals are on your left as you face down the hill while the African are on the right and Asian down the centre.

If you’re not Australian you’ll definitely want to meet the locals. You can walk amongst the kangaroos and wallabies, but don’t be too disappointed when they generally ignore you. If they come close enough there is no reason why you can’t pet them, but though there aren’t any fences you’re expected to stick to the path. Japanese visitors especially seem to want to have their photo taken with a koala, which you can do several times a day in a special enclosure. They look cute and sleepy but they’re actually totally doped up on eucalyptus and can turn nasty if you’re not gentle. The platypus may take a bit of patience but they’re totally worth it; nocturnal creatures, they’re in tanks in a special darkened house, but you can’t see into their burrows. When they do pop out they have an amazing wiggly way of moving, searching the rocks at the bottom of their tank with their bills. They can keep me entertained for ages but there is a lot to get through so don't get too distracted.

To be honest it’s difficult to choose Taronga’s highlights. All the enclosures give the impression of being as natural as possible and the animals always seem pretty chilled out. As far as the animal shows go, which I know are a bit un-P.C. these days, the bird show is breathtaking – hunting birds get a chance to hunt some prey against the backdrop of the harbour, and the seals and penguin shows are lots of fun. If you do want to see the shows you need to plan your winding journey down the hill accordingly, they’re pretty popular. If you have a soft spot for a particular animal you can pay to go on an enclosure tour, where a keeper takes you inside, and there are plenty of talks and lectures going on every day, so if you want to learn more you just have to ask the nice keepers.

If you’re finding it hard to leave, in summer Taronga runs the ‘Roar and Snore’ sleepovers where you can camp inside the zoo and be part of the final feeding and bedding down on the animals, then be awoken in the moring to the sounds of cheeps, coos and growls. Absolutely fantastic.

Taronga Homepage.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Taking on Taronga Zoo

We caught a ferry to Taronga Zoo where the very passionate Gray introduced us to a couple of the zoo’s very special residents. First up was the Echidna, a supersize hedgehog like animal and very weird to touch, both prickly and soft?! Then a Quokka, which is a mini Wallaby, and a Wombat, which I’m not joking, was the cutest thing in the world, so loveable! The highlight of the tour for me was feeding the Giraffes, 10 meters high off the ground and I wouldn’t be surprised if their was an emergency call to a physio to give them a neck rub after bending down to my height for their lunch.

how many animals are in taronga zoo

in class thing we have to do

1 Reply

A LOT!!!!

Taronga also run keeper walks. The Australian animal walk was really good, as was the bears walk, but one of the highlights was the meerkats. Those little guys are just too cute.

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