Taronga Zoo was originally opened in 1916 and as with all older zoos, there are still a couple of areas where you can see remnants of the old zoo (some parts of which are protected architecture). Some examples of this is are the very grand looking entrance arches and the side of the Tasmanian Devil house which still has brickwork which reads Big Cats… however at its core it is certainly a stunning, growing and modern zoo!
Much of the park is on a slope, as the areas around the Sydney harbor are quite hilly however whilst this does make for a slightly more strenuous walk, one more thing it guarantees is that if the grounds are kept properly and you’re in the right place (thanks to some very clever enclosure planning), you are rewarded with some stunning backdrops for equally stunning animals. The most well known and photographed example of this is of course the giraffe enclosure. Could you think of a better backdrop (other than the African savanna of course) for a giraffe photo than the Sydney opera house and harbor bridge! You can in fact also start your journey across the harbor and get to the zoo through the use of a ferry service (with regular arrivals – see the official time table here) connecting visitors to the “lower entrance”, whilst car drivers and land based public transport visitors arrive at the “upper entrance”.
The most important things about the zoo are of course the animals, and there are some key areas you NEED to see:
When you go to Australia… You want to see Australian animals! The animals at Taronga are displayed really well and they have a great selection of the most well known and loved of the local wildlife on display. Particular favourites in this area are koalas, tree kangaroos, wombats and Tasmanian devils (the latter being displayed in probably my favourite tassie devil – as they’re affectionately known, enclosures I have seen). The parrot walk through is also worth seeing, and make sure you do not miss the Australian nightlife house… Its incredible.
As with every platypus enclosure we had a look at during our trip the star animals are difficult to see and even more difficult to get a decent picture of.
Taronga has one of the biggest selection of “exotic reptiles” in Australia from what I can tell… Which sounds great and to be honest is stunning to see if you live in Australia… I am sure you will see many animals there which you have never seen anywhere else! However for a European to be honest it is more exciting to see the Australian animals as many of the exotics are often seen in Europe. Saying that…! I did see my first tuatara here which was amazing, as well as seeing the most beautiful komodo dragon I have seen in person.
They should be very proud of their reptile house which is well decorated, well stocked with healthy animals and just generally very well run.
I absolutely love animals and am a massive fan of zoos… I go to just about every zoo I come across, but have to admit that giraffes are not a huge interest of mine and very rarely actually stop at giraffe enclosures. This is not because I think they shouldn’t be in zoos or anything like that, as I have no issue with this – honestly they just don’t grab my attention (weird considering how huge they are)… However when I saw these guys, the photographer in my piped up, and this very cleverly placed enclosure makes for some amazing photos!
The chimpanzee enclosure at the zoo is one of the nicest I have seen – it is busy, beautifully decorated, well designed and filled with stunning animals.
Chimps are in my opinion one of the most interesting animals you can watch – they are so intelligent and busy that there is always something to see – this enclosure is no different… make sure you don’t miss it.
We only had the morning here before heading off to Melbourne so checked those areas above out very closely and had time to enjoy the Tasmanian devil talk (I recommend it), so these are the bits I suggest you don’t miss, however there are loads of other popular animals to keep everyone happy including lemurs, elephants, penguins, seals, kangaroos, meerkats, gibbons, zebras and much more!
Taronga Zoo Food Market
We ate here, and decided to go for the chicken schnitzel burger whilst sharing a portion of chips… very reasonable and the chicken burger is super tasty… especially with the aioli they put on there! I’d say it was close to getting in my favourite burgers anywhere post… It would just need a little extra greenery in there and to be cooked fresh (you pick them out of a heated cabinet)!