Sydney 2013: Taronga Zoo
The Taronga Zoo is a must see. It is quite large with many exhibits. There’s not many places you can go see a kangaroo and koalas. It is also very child friendly (as all zoos should be) with a petting zoos for kids (or for the animals, however you want to view it). I got through the zoo in about four hours but may take longer if you have kids or shorter if you only see the Australian native animals. I really enjoyed it.
The Taronga Zoo is across the harbor from downtown Sydney so the easiest way to get there is by ferry. The ferry is located at Circular Quay. They sell the ferry ticket and zoo admission ticket right at any ferry ticket counter. There is a small discount for buying both together.
When you are on ferry, you can get an amazing view of the Sydney Opera House as you sail by towards the zoo. There will be two tickets, one for the ferry and another for the zoo and skytram.
The Celebrity Solstice was in port so you also get a good view of the ship as you sail away from
Once you arrive, you will have two options: either take the bus to the bottom of the zoo and work your way up, or take the tram up and work your way down.
The tram starts at this station and there are some stairs to get to it. There is an elevator option as well. I took the tram up.
You also get a pretty good view of Sydney from the tram, except for the darn cables in the way. You also get a sneak preview of the zoo as you float by most of the exhibits.
There are a few shops, a cafe, restaurant and a visitor center to pick up your map and get information about different exhibits, as seen in the first picture.
From the Tram, there were two options: Go right for the African Safari or go left for the Australian walkabout. I went for the Australian walkabout as I’ve been to South Africa a few times so no need to see more of it in Australia.
The first thing you see are tree kangeroos. I didn’t even know that they can climb. I thought they were all large.
From time to time, there is a clearing for you to see downtown Sydney. Many of the views are hindered by trees and bushes but still a great view of the city.
There was a nocturnal exhibit. It was way too dark to take any pictures inside.
Next up were kangaroos! None of them were wearing boxing gloves, as seen in the first picture:
Many of them were fairly small, about 2-3 feet in height.
There was an animal encounter were you can interact with a koala. I can’t remember how much it was but it was more than 50AUD.
Nearby, I found this empty venue. I am not sure if there was supposed to be a restaurant or cafe here but most likely private venues here. There was an amazing view of Sydney through the windows. I managed to get some pictures with the windows open.
I left the kangaroo zone and went to the Tasmanian Devil conservation centre where there was one on exhibit. He looked much different from Taz so another childhood vision ruined.
At the centre, I learned about how there was a devastating cancer that was infecting many of the wild tasmanian devils. It grows near their face and is highly contagious. They are generally very social animals so this cancer spreads quickly when they share food and habitats. Once they are infected, the cancer grows so large that it prevents them from eating and they eventually die. This centre is trying to breed and keep as many in captivity as possible and wait about 10 years after they have become extinct in the wild before reintroducing them back into the wild. Some researchers say they will be extinct in the wild within two years, much sooner than previously expected.
I then walked through an aviary section and there were a few colorful birds in the exhibit. They can be seen walking around on the paths and nearby railings so you can take very close pictures of them.
I took a short break for lunch when I saw this turkey looking for food. First it terrorized the poor kid (in purple, not pink) in the stroller. It stuck its head very close to the stroller and the infant started to cry. The parent managed to get the bird away. It then almost stole a sandwich that was on a nearby table. Eventually it left but the turkey was pretty aggressive.
The turkey made a quick getaway after the failed sandwich-napping attempt.
There was a kids petting zoo as well. Great area for kids as most animals were a decent, safe size.
There was also a shearing shed where trainers can show you how they shear the wool off of the sheep. They also have various shearing tools on display.
Right behind the kids petting zoo were quokkas, emus, and more kangaroos!
The walking path goes right through their normal habitat so you can get very close to them.
Off in the distance you can see two playing with each other.
The next stop was the old and new elephant house. The original Elephant Temple was built in 1915 and was quite small inside. There were two large rooms with small holes for the trainers to get into each room. There were separate outdoor areas for the elephants.
During this time, the zoo offered elephant rides between 1916 and 1976.
The new elephant complex was built to house many more elephants and give them much more room to roam around. There are a few different areas for them to play and wander.
There were some metal trees built for the elephant complex (not pictured below). The zoo stores hay up high in metal boxes so it lets the elephants exercise their trunks. They also have other large objects, like truck tires and large plastic barrels, hung on the trees so the elephants can use it to work out their trunks.
A common sight is a random bird walking around. Here is a peacock.
The next area was the aquatic section. Here are some seals underwater:
Here are some Australian Pelicans:
I walked back into the main area to get something else to eat. There are a few restaurants here at the zoo and the prices were not bad, considering that this was Australia. Meals were around 8-10AUD.
Next was the bear exhibit. Here were a couple of bears playing in their habitat.
There were a few exhibits of large cats, like the snow leopard. I believe she was very hard to see as she was sleeping in an elevated platform.
Another exhibit was the binturong.
I then attended the seal show, which was very good. Its very similar to all the other seal shows I’ve seen, a lot of playful acts and humor.
After the seal show, I worked my way further down the zoo towards the ferry.
Below you will see the original main entrance into the zoo before the Tram was built.
Here are some views of Sydney from the ferry dock:
Another view of the ferry boat and front of the interior. Last picture is of Sydney on our way back to the ferry terminal at Circular Quay.