The Australian Adventure: Taronga Zoo

On our second day back to the city we headed to the Zoo. We went to the Taronga Zoo in  Sydney, but there is also one in Dubbo. Depending where you are, one might be easier to get to than the other.

We hopped on the boat and headed for the main gates. Technically, there is also a way of driving there or getting to that side of the city by bus, but if you are  staying anywhere downtown, just head to the Circular Quay and save yоurself tons of trouble. Ferry ride takes about 12 minutes. From the wharf, there is also a cable car called Sky Safari that takes you up to the main entrance. However, it only runs from 9:30 to 4:30 and we showed up a bit too early. When the Sky Safari is closed you really have two other ways up the hill: walking or the bus. We took the bus, and if it costed us anything, it was somewhere under a dollar. I know for sure we had to swipe our opal card for sure to get on and off.

A Very Tiny Zoo

If you live in GTA or pretty much anywhere in North America, you will find that Taronga Zoo is pretty small. And that was exactly what we liked, we wanted to spend a day looking at the animals, but we did not feel like running around like chickens without head.

We got there around the opening hour, and slowly walked through the main gate. There were no crowds, no crazy rushes. We walked past koalas and alligators, stopped when we wanted, came as close as we could, took all the photos we needed. It was awesome.

In few places, there were set up special areas, where you would walk into a cage for a closer look. Most of them were birds, where they were just flying around over people’s heads, but at one point we visited lemurs. You could not touch them, but you could look at them closely and they would run across the pathway in front of you.

Same enclosure was made for the australian animals. So who do you think Alex got to meet? Right, the kangaroo! I think that made his day! You could chill in the area with emos, wallabies and kangaroos for the whole day. They did their thing, did not care about humans and came pretty close. While I am sure that the Australians don’t really get excited about this part of the Zoo, us foreigners loved it!

Zoo that Makes you Feel Good

Personally, I am not sure how I feel about the idea of Zoo and Circus. They take animals out of their comfort zones, and really make them work for our entertainment. There is a whole can of worms that doesn’t need to be opened at this point. But what I liked about Taronga, is that it is non profit organization. All the profits from Zoo visits go towards conservation and nature restoration efforts.

It seems that there is a number of animals that were rescued or participating in the breeding program. It was amazing to see Zoo’s efforts in saving the tasmanian devils (for your information, they look nothing like Taz from the cartoons) or hear the story of the poor injured penguin that drifted from New Zealand and cannot return “home” because he could endanger whole population. All these guys found a new home at Taronga Zoo.

 

Meeting Koalas 

So for a bit of extra money, there is an opportunity to “meet” certain animals. If you ask Alex, he would have probably went to all of them. Since he almost met a kangaroo on his bike a week before, our next priority was a koala. We signed up for a meeting and a photo for about $25 each (if I remember it correctly, after all, it’s been a year). In this particular zoo, they do not let you touch the koala, but if you are in Dubbo, rumour has it you can cuddle one.

There were about 3-5 of those guys, each chilling on a tree in a sort of a private “booth”, so each group can get their “own” koala to meet. We went in, they gave us a small talk about this guy, his story, his daily activities and personality. What marked me the most, is that to keep those few animals in Sydney and Dubbo, Zoo has to have huge plantations of eucalyptus! They would like to have few more koalas, but they just wouldn’t be able to keep up with feeding them. Well, that’s what happens when your region is not really native to those guys.

We talked, asked questions. Keeper took few photos of us, then we took few more. It’s not like the mall experience with Santa – snap, snap, get out, next. We didn’t feel rushed, we really got to meet the little guy. That made my day. I don’t know if I would really want to pick him up, even if he seemed so warm and cozy.

Food and Knick-knacks

Just like everyone they are here to make money. For the restoration and rescue or not. There were few souvenir shops filled with children looking at giraffe patterned pencils and stuffed elephants. Prices were just like everywhere else in the world. You would never pick these things up at Toys ‘R’ Us, but you are on vacation – so why not!

There were few restaurants and snack bars along the way, but we had our lunch packed with us, so we didn’t check them out. There is also a beautiful banquet centre overlooking the water. You can have an event at the Zoo. Which makes me think that it is good that we are married, or we would have had our reception there with a kangaroo as a best man.

After all, it was a great day! By dinner time, we for to visit every corner and headed back to the ferry. By then we came down the hill, and the exit gates are right by the wharf. So you are really walking downhill all day – something our little traveller legs appreciated a lot.

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