Taronga Zoo. Animals abound, but the view!

Taronga Zoo. Animals abound, but the view!

While Taronga Zoo might not have the most amazing collection of animals or the most stunning of enclosures, it has a view that is unmatched. Appropriately named, Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful view.

The zoo.

Black Cockatoo at the Taronga Zoo "Free Flight" show.
Black Cockatoo at the Taronga Zoo “Free Flight” show.

It’s not the biggest zoo. Nor does it have the widest selection of animals. Koalas? You’ve probably seen them before. But the zoo does let you get up close to animals in a clean and safe environment. You’ll find all the animals, reptiles, spiders and birds you’d expect to see in an Australian zoo.There’s plenty for the kids too. A kid oriented play area called “Backyard to Bush” brings kids up close to animals that might venture into their backyard to help them understand them a bit better. Coupled with animals they would see on the farm, it’s a great place for the little kids to work up the courage to be in the presence of animals not normally seen at home.

Australian Wildlife, roaming free in areas of the zoo.
Australian Wildlife, roaming free in areas of the zoo.

There is a petting zoo that is quintessentially Australian. You can get up close to wallabies and kangaroos in an environment where the animals roam freely around you!

If you’re looking for something entirely different (and, frankly, willing to pay for it), check out Roar and Snore. Featuring stunning harbour views, luxury glamping accommodation and exclusive up-close encounters with the Zoo’s animals, Roar & Snore is a must-do for locals and visitors alike. Now I can’t say that I’ve done this, but if you’re in Sydney on a holiday, I think it’s worth checking out. For those of you that have the ability to travel a bit further afield, consider the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo for a similar, but more in depth experience. Expect the same level of service, as the Western Plains zoo is still part of the Taronga Conservation Society.

The view.

Here’s where the zoo really shines. Across the harbour from the Sydney CBD, the view unrivaled. Framed by towering gum trees, zoo visitors see the iconic sights of Sydney in all their glory.

Backed by the skyscrapers of the city, the Sydney Opera House shines in the Australia Sun. The Harbour Bridge stands proud. The green and gold ferries navigate the busy waterways of the harbour. It happens all around you, and for anyone that is visiting Sydney (or Australia) for the first time, it’s a sight that should not be missed.

 

The towering giants of Sydney.
The towering giants of Sydney.

Getting to the Taronga Zoo.

Located across the harbour from the Sydney CBD, the Taronga Zoo is a must do for locals and visitors alike. It’s just across the harbour from the Sydney CBD, easily accessed by ferry from just about anywhere on the harbour. Passengers disembarking at the ferry wharf, located on Bradleys Head Road, can enter the zoo via a gondola lift or connect with local State Transit bus services. Sydney Ferries offer a combined “ZooLink” ticket, covering ferry fares, park entry and gondola ride. Good value, for a good day out, especially if you’re visiting from overseas and want to take in a bit of Aussie wildlife without straying too far from the CBD.

What lens to use?

This is one area where it’s worth lugging around that zoom lens. I’d go a step further and say an extender is worth sacrificing the extra stop to get that little bit more reach. If you’ve got a comfortable backpack, here’s where it would come in handy. Throw a wide angle or mid range lens in for the wider shots, but you’re likely to keep the zoom on your camera body for most of the day.

Lioness at the Taronga Zoo.
A stare-down with a lioness at the Taronga Zoo.

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