Taronga Zoo

Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia

Travelers should visit Taronga Zoo as much for its harbor views as for the 4,000 resident animals (who get to see them all day long). Ferry 15 minutes from Circular Quay and take an optional Sky Safari cable car, included in the ticket price, and you’re in an exotic land of giraffes, elephants, and bongos as well as native echidnas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils. Wildlife tours, zookeeper talks (including impressive bird shows), and special events such as the Twilight at Taronga summer concert series are on the calendar, and a tented camp accommodates overnight guests who help feed select animals before a sunset dinner set against the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Tent cabins feature decks that lure campers out of bed for sunrise.

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The Wonder of Taronga

One of my fondest memories from growing up in Sydney is taking the day off and heading to Taronga Zoo. A beautiful zoo, with constantly updated exhibits, plenty of exotic animals, and the most amazing bird show I have ever had the pleasure of seeing (nine times), Taronga is a must-do for anyone and everyone traveling to Sydney for a first, or repeat, trip. One of the best parts of the zoo, besides the gorgeous animals—ranging from the Aussie natives, to the African bongo, to “miraculous” Australian-born elephants from Asia—is the view. Due to its perfect location on Sydney Harbour, the zoo has many amazing look-out locations all over the grounds. And, if you aren’t afraid of heights, the Gondola Lift takes you up above the entire zoo and provides you with an incredible view over the city. Undoubtedly, one of my favorites is the view from the African Waterhole. Above the trees, between the spotted necks of the giraffes, sits the stunning city skyline. It’s only a peek but has the wonderful ability to remind you that you’re not too far away from the city. Yet you are. Taronga Zoo is a haven. It’s a sanctuary. And it’s definitely one of the most beautiful ways to experience the fabulous Sydney skyline. (And the giraffes are a laugh too, especially at feeding time.)

Victorian Zoo Across the Harbor

View from the sky trams coming back to the ferry after a trip to Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

Standard Cute Koala Shot

These guys are pretty mellow and content to chew on gum leaves all day. Perhaps the best exhibit at the zoo.

This is Sydney: Koalas at Taronga Zoo

No trip to Sydney would be complete without a trip to the Taronga Zoo. I had my favorite animals to see: the infamous koala. Upon my arrival, I found that the koalas were always tired or apparently just drunk. Apparently, the eucalyptus they eat is their primary source of nutrition, but it probably isn’t the best considering it makes them very lethargic and seemingly inebriated. It baffled me how slowly koalas move, sometimes falling asleep while eating, braced in between two branches (pictured). I kept waiting for one to fall from its perch, but after 30 minutes of hanging out in the Taronga’s Kowala Walkabout I had to move on to the kangaroos. I hoped those larger marsupials were a bit more active. To avoid waiting in line once you arrive at the Zoo’s ticket booths, purchase tickets online: www.taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo

The Zoo! A worthy stop.

We only had 4 days in Sydney, but we made sure to check out the Taronga Zoo. The best place to find those koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies! It’s also graced with an incredible view of Sydney over the water. Head to Wharf 2 and take the ferry over!

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