Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Location: Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman, NSW Australia
Visited: July 16th 2015
Taronga Zoo is an outdoor zoo spread out in around 28 hectares in Sydney Australia. It was officially opened on October 7th 1916.
Taronga Zoo has number of exhibits, among them the typical animals endemic to Australia – Koalas, reptiles, plus mountain goats, giraffes, elephants, birds and more. Make a day trip for this large zoo and bring a lunch!
I visited on July 16th 2015. It rained in the morning, enough to need an umbrella but not too heavy, and stopped soon after.
Taronga zoo before, it is huge, around 28 hectares. You could spend a whole day there and may not get through everything.
Therefore it is probably better to get a multivisit pass so you can go more than once, a single visit ticket for an adult is $46, a multi visit Annual Pass is $115, so is only worthwhile if you will go more than 3 times a year. Undercover car parking is $17 all day which is pretty reasonable.
The rain did not hinder the visit much, some places near the deer were a bit muddy. Other areas are pavements. The rain stopped later during the day but it would not be easy or fun to visit during active rain, as holding onto an umbrella and camera and kids if you have any would not be easy.
There are a variety of exhibits, birds, giraffes, koalas, reptiles, tigers, elephants, a variety of terrestrial grazing animals including deer and mountain goats. The reptile exhibit is indoors, the others are exposed outside.
There is a restaurant with café style food, burgers, salad, chips, drinks, ice cream, but it might be a bit expensive. I did not go however. You can certainly bring your own food.
The mountain goats were very incredible to watch, they are able to jump up very high to very small and hard to negotiate spaces and can even get back down from the most hard to reach places.
There is a camera that broadcasts the giraffe enclosure (and visitors within the frame) on the internet live, on the daily telegraph website. There is free wifi at some spots in the zoo but they can be very slow and hard to connect. This exhibit also has some good views of Sydney, although a little far away.
*Tips for Photographers*
Taronga Zoo is a good location for some unobstructed (ie no buildings to block your views, with open water instead) views of the Sydney skyline although they may not be as good as other locations in terms of classic skyline recognisability and you would have limited space to move around to get a better angle if needed. So it’s not worth the entry ticket just to access photography vantage points here, but feel free to bring a camera to take a few shots.
Just up the hill from the giraffe enclosure, near the aviary cage is a great place to take photos.
When you exit the cable car there is also a great place to take some scenic photos of Sydney. Just up the hill from the giraffe enclosure, near the aviary cage is a great place to take photos.
There actually wasn’t that many places to sit or rest. There were limited places to refill water bottles. The zoo map is actually hard a bit hard to read because of the scale, unlike other places where the map gives a realistic indication of scale.
See here for their entry fees.
The terrain is hilly in some areas, but are mostly paved and smooth so is wheel friendly, pram or wheelchairs, but it could be hard to push up some hills. There are some lifts and escalators in areas where a ramp is not feasible. Most of the zoo is outdoors. The reptile exhibits and tiger exhibits are covered/indoors. There are some areas that are covered in sand or gravel near the deer exhibits. Most paths are quite wide, the gravel path was narrow but still accessible.
Exhibits, Attractions and Facilities
Exhibits include: tigers, reptiles, birds, giraffes, elephants, koalas, deer, mountain goats, gorillas, primates, plus many others.
There are a few ways to get to the zoo. I went by bus in the morning then caught the ferry back in the afternoon.
If you are new to Sydney, you will need a plastic rechargeable electronic transport card called an Opal Card used on trains, buses and ferries. Find out more here: opal.com.au
Their carpark is multi storey and covered. It costs $17 for the whole day. Surprisingly the zoo entrance is located near residential streets, so you may be able to find off street parking, but I would not count on it. The best and cheapest way to get here if you have a lot of people would be by car because the parking cost is $17 flat rate per car, and even though the zoo is very large, if you really had to you could always go back to your car to get something you left in it, where as train plus bus or ferry tickets for a family on weekdays may cost more than $17.
If you catch the train you will need to change at Townhall Station or Wynyard Station for bus 247, or get off at Circular Quay Station to catch a ferry at Wharf 2. These ferries depart every 30 minutes. On Sundays there is a flat $2.50 cap fee across all public transport in Sydney on the Opal card, including trains, buses and ferries.
You can catch bus number 247 from The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) near Townhall station, the same bus then goes by Wynyard Station to pick up passengers. The bus stop at QVB was a bit confusing for me to find, thankfully the bus driver that day waited for me as he saw me coming. You might want to catch the same bus from Wynyard which turns out was easier to find. The bus departs every 30 minutes.
The bus goes around to some other streets before going to Taronga Zoo. It drives straight into the zoo’s bus bay, where there are some bus shelters and seats. This is right next to their multi storey covered paid carpark.
Ferry is probably the easiest way to get here since it is easy to find and runs all day. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay Wharf 2, which departs every 30 minutes. You can also catch the ferry back to Circular Quay from Taronga Zoo.
The Taronga Zoo Ferry wharf is undercover and at the bottom of the cable car service. You should buy your ticket before you board at the ticket booth on Wharf 2.
Sky Safari Cable Car
There is a cable car that can bring you into or out of the actual zoo, called the Sky Safari. To access it you need to catch a ferry to the zoo first. You can see it overhead from within the zoo. The sky safari is included in the cost of the entry ticket and can hold wheelchairs up to 610mm wide. The cable car service can be closed or limited at any time during bad weather or excess visitors. More info is available here:
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