Easily the wildest place in Sydney, the Taronga Zoo is a sprawling sanctuary where over 4,000 animals crawl and chirp just minutes from the heart of downtown. Situated on Sydney Harbour a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, the sprawling sanctuary ranks as a top Sydney destination, with a range of tours, keeper talks, animal shows, and activities suitable for kids and adults. Visitors can see the fuzzy face of a native koala as it first wakes up from a nap, or stand a few feet from playful lemurs as they swing and play in the treetops. There are also opportunities to spot exotic species such as Malaysian sun bears, giraffes, and African lions, or marvel at a fearsome saltwater crocodile as it cruises through shallow waters.
The Taronga Zoo’s animals reside in 10 themed zones, each designed to resemble a natural habitat. Ticket options range from general entry tickets to admission with add-ons and upgrades such as supervised hand-feedings, behind-the-scenes experiences, and educational visits with Aboriginal guides to hear about the area’s indigenous connections to nature. There's even the chance to sleep at the zoo inside a classic safari tent, where visitors fall asleep to the sounds of the savanna but wake to views of the harbor. All tickets include a ride on the Sky Safari cable car, which glides above the zoo and provides an aerial view of the animals and Sydney Harbour. Those looking for convenience can book a tour that includes a Taronga Zoo visit, a Sydney Harbour cruise, and roundtrip transport from their hotel.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking through the extensive grounds.
- The zoo is large and exhibits are spread out, so you might like to jump on the miniature train to get around.
- All shows and presentations, food outlets, and shops are wheelchair accessible, as well as most exhibits and pathways, although some connecting paths are steep.
- Multi-attraction tickets offer admission discounts to top destinations such as the Taronga Zoo, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Tower Eye.
How to Get There
Taronga Zoo is on Little Sirius Cove, a couple of inlets east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The zoo is an easy and scenic 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, from where ferries depart every 30 minutes. Ferries also depart daily from Darling Harbour and Manly. Upon arrival at the Taronga Wharf, either ride the Sky Safari cable car to the zoo entrance on top of the hill or take the zoo's shuttle bus from the ferry dock to the entrance gates. Public buses and trains also connect to the zoo, and paid parking is available.
When to Get There
The zoo is open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Keeper talks take place throughout the day and are included with admission. Special events occur throughout the year, such as a summer evening concert series and a colorful light art exhibit during the city’s annual Vivid Sydney festival around May and June.
Views from the Zoo
Taronga is an aboriginal phrase that means “beautiful view.” Indeed, the zoo boasts sweeping views of Sydney Harbor and landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Snap a photo of giraffes with Sydney’s skyscrapers in the background, or soak in the scenery while relaxing at one of the picnic areas overlooking the harbor. For another perspective, test your limits on the ropes course (additional cost).