No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting the famous Taronga Zoo. Not only does it feature a fantastic array of creatures from Down Under and beyond, but its location on Sydney Harbour also means there are spectacular views of the dazzling city skyline from every vantage.
The most memorable path to Taronga Zoo is via the 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. With the waves gently lapping at the boat and the warm sun caressing your shoulders, you glide past some of the city’s most iconic attractions, like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. As the ferry sails into one of the harbour inlets, you get your first glimpse of one of Sydney’s loveliest views. From the water, the lush greenery hides the majority of the zoo from view, and it’s only as you get to land that you realise the true scope of the park.
To see the zoo in all its splendour, first ride the Sky Safari. This cable car ride takes you over the entire zoo, giving you ample time to take in all of the harbour and the zoo. You look down and see the majestic Asian elephants cavorting and spraying each other with water; you can’t wait to see them up close. The car delivers you to the main zoo entrance at the top of the hill. Now you can leisurely wander downhill for the rest of day, visiting the various animals, and ending back at the ferry terminal.
Your first port of call should be the koalas, which are to your right as you enter. They’re nocturnal, and so likely curled up on their branches snoozing, but even asleep they’re pretty amazing. You decide to see more of the native animals, so you head straight to the Australian animals exhibit. Here, you are just metres away from a large, feathery emu who, with her head cocked and bright amber eyes shining, looks as intrigued by you as you are by her. You wait to spy a furry duck-billed platypus and are surprised to see how tiny and cute he is when he finally waddles out of his den.
Next on the agenda is a keeper show, where you can’t resist a chuckle watching the trained seals jump out of the water and balance balls on their snouts. Once you’re all giggled out, you make your way to the renowned bird show. The dazzling blue harbour is the backdrop for this fascinating display where you’re introduced to a handful of Australia’s most charismatic and rare bird species, like Jasper, the colourful galah. You feel the wind rush past as a magnificent condor with a three-metre wing span glides over your head, and know with certainty that this an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
As you spy the animals, it’s easy to lose track of time, but when the hunger pangs hit, there are plenty of cafés selling lunch, coffee, and snacks. Recline on a grassy bank with your family and your favourite sandwich, surrounded by Australia’s most precious species. For a more indulgent afternoon, reserve a spot at High Tea in advance, and enjoy a cup of tea (or wine) while looking out at Taronga Zoo’s lovely Savannah Lake. No matter what you choose, or which animals you visit this time, a day at the zoo in Sydney is not one you’ll regret.