There are many animal theme park surrounding Sydney, but the best of it all is the Taronga Zoo. Not only a home of more than 2500 animals from around 350 species, but the backdrop is no less than Sydney Harbour skyline as its premium. You have not been to Sydney yet before go to this magnificent zoo. A perfect day outdoor with your family and loves one !

Located just across Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo can easily be reached with short ferry trip from Circular Quay (they even have discounted admission and return trip for it: ask for ‘Zoo pass’). But being near in the central hub of Sydney transportation is not the major advantage. The big advantage is the background that Taronga Zoo has is no less than below:

Magnificent Sydney Skyline as the Zoos Background (click for bigger picture)

Magnificent Sydney Skyline as the Zoo's Background (click for bigger picture)

Girrafe at Taronga

Girrafe at Taronga

I bet, not many zoo in the world is lucky enough to have that magnificent view of beautiful harbour city like Sydney.

Opening Hours and Admission Ticket

The zoo open every day all year (including Christmas) thanks to the troop of volunteer that they have. They open from 9am to 5pm. For the most bang for your buck, come as early as possible cause there are too many to see and too little time you have.

Adults ticket is $41, children $20 and family of 4 (2 adult and 2 children) will need to spend $103,70. It’s magnificent but not cheap! But never pay the full price cause online prepaid ticket will give you off 10%, so does the usual NRMA 10% discount. The easiest to get discount is trough this website: just click here, print the coupon and present it on the cashier boot. I did it before and a significant 15% discount was in order. (Let me know if the link is no longer working!)

Sky Safari, photo: Taronga Zoo's website

Sky Safari, photo: Taronga Zoo's website

Your Day At the Zoo

Although not to big compare with its sister zoo “Western Plain Zoo” in city of Dubbo, 21 hectares of land in the middle of the city is quite challenging to be walked off. So make sure you are at your good condition to walk. Visitor at the zoo can have their complimentary map for free to guide there visit. But usually this map will overwhelm many of them. Not only with so many display, exhibit, keeper talk, and show to attend to, but the route to cover the whole area with the most efficient walk will not be resolve without careful plan.

I would recommend two signature shows as your anchor: The Bird Show (12pm and 3 pm) and The Seal Show (11am and 2pm). You should not miss any of them on your visit. Each show last less than 1 hour but don’t expect to do it consecutively (e.g:Seal at 11 and Bird at 12) because not only there is distant to cover, but the waiting crowd will already fully occupied the viewing platform. Come at least 15 minutes before hand and enjoy the time eating ice cream or take a group photo

Plan for the Zoo Visit - click for bigger image

Plan for the Zoo Visit - click for bigger image

Once you select your preference, I guess the rest of your day need to be arrange around it. On the right is one of my suggestion how to make the most of your day:

  • If you come with car, instead of park at the main parking space, you can driver further down to the end of the road near the ferry wharf. If you are early, you can park just beside the cliff whole day for free (save 415 parking fee)  and then start your zoo journey on Sky Safari. In fact you will start and finish the day with Sky Safari, a wow factor for you and your family.
  • Once arrive on the top of the hill at about 9am, start with the black path to visit: Rainforest Aviary, Australian Nightlife , Kangaroo, Emu , Wombat and Platypus and make your way to Kid Zoo where a lot of farm animal and display just for your young one.
  • Around 10.30am take the purple path to make a quick stroll or just pay that train ride to make a quick travel to Seal Show.
  • Seal Show 11am. You can enjoy your meal while waiting for the show or during the show. Or otherwise buy your lunch after the show in the food market. Don’t forget to visit Luk Chai and the elephants gang just across the food court. You may want to visit the Chimp, Gorilla , and Giraffe doing your blue path.
  • From 1pm, you can now follow the red path to visit the Seal, Penguin, Tapir, Deer, Condor, Tortoise, etc before ready for the bird show.
  • Bird Show 3pm. Come early to pick you best spot while eating ice cream !
  • Follow your last yellow path and to visit Meerkat, Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Tiger, Lion, then African waterhole and its animal such as Zebra, Sun Bear, hippo, Camel before back to Sky Safari terminal on the top.
  • Go back to your car with Sky Safari and treasure the day !
Tiger at Taronga Zoo

Tiger at Taronga Zoo

The above suggestion is – I have to admit – a little bit tiring and require some level of fitness from everybody. For more relax and easy going schedule, you can cut of some of the routes to suit your condition.

Must dos:

  • A pram is a must for your young one. Even 5 or 6 years old will love the strolling wheel!
  • The best is to choose an overcast day, not raining, but not too much sun shine either. Temperature will be perfect at low 20°C. If it’s too hot, not only will drain your power and spirit, but the animal also will take a rest under shade and not much for you to see.
  • Bring your own picnic food and beverages, not only save you from overprice not-so-special menu and its crowded queue, you will save some time to explore more exhibition and display.
  • Prepare your trip carefully to make the most of it.
Sydney born elephant, Luk Chai

Sydney born elephant, Luk Chai

Want More?

  • Become “Zoo Friend” for $102.50 per year (first, adult, additional adult:$92.50, children $50) for unlimited zoo entry for 12 months. (A family of 4: 2 adult 2 children, will significantly save money if go to the zoo more than 3 times a year by becoming Zoo Friend)
  • Spend the night at the zoo on a luxurious tent ! Check the program call “Roar and Snore” on Taronga Zoo Website.

For current information, latest map and schedule just visit here: Taronga Zoo Website.

Enjoy the trip !