Australia’s wildlife is amazingly unique! But there are more creatures than just cuddly koalas and boxing kangaroos. There are Tasmanian devils, spiky echidnas, the shy platypus with its duck bill, and deadly Taipan snakes. The good thing is that you don’t have to head to the outback to catch a glimpse of these critters, in fact there are plenty of opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with some furry Aussie friends on your trip to Sydney.
1) Taronga Zoo
One of the cool things about Taronga Zoo is that you can catch a ferry across Sydney’s famous harbour to get there, which means you can see the Opera House from a whole new angle! In addition to animals like lions, tigers, elephants and giraffes, Taronga Zoo has an extensive collection of local wildlife, from koalas and kangaroos, to some of Australia’s rarer creatures like the platypus, spot-tailed quells and sugar gliders. Make time for the keeper talks to find out more about your favorite Australian animals, or for an extra special zoo experience, you can stay overnight for “Roar & Snore: Sydney’s ultimate sleepover”.
2) Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
Australia’s seas and waterways are also home to unique wildlife, but you don’t have to go diving to find them, just head to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Don’t miss the daily shark-feeding talk and little penguin-feeding talks. Find out about colorful fish found on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and meet huge rays, dugongs, turtles and jellyfish.
3) Australian Reptile Park
The Australian Reptile Park just north of Sydney holds one of Australia’s largest collections of reptiles. In addition to snakes and lizards, there are also crocodiles, alligators, turtles and tortoises. This is a good place to get informed about some of Australia’s deadlier wildlife like the king brown snake and funnel-web spider. The reptile park has another important function: to collect venom from these deadly creatures which is necessary in the production of anti-venom.
4) Featherdale Wildlife Park
Featherdale Wildlife Park is home to a bunch of Australia’s most lovable wildlife, and it’s a great place to take kids. They can hand feed a kangaroo, wallaby or emu, and enjoy a face-to-face encounter with a koala. Take your own picnic and enjoy your lunch surrounded by wildlife, or take a break at the café. Located at Blacktown in Sydney’s west, Featherdale Wildlife Park makes a good stop between Sydney city and the Blue Mountains.
5) Australia Walkabout Park
The Australia Walkabout Park is unique in that many of the animals roam about freely on the grounds. This means that you can see animals like bandicoots, swamp wallabies, diamond pythons and a red kangaroo in their natural habitat. Other animals like brush-tailed possums, flying foxes, koalas and dingoes are kept in enclosures. Check out one of the animal talks, or take the Aboriginal sites tour where you can learn about the rich history of Indigenous Australians.
Take the opportunity to see carvings, paintings, caves and middens created by or used by the Darkinjung people. Learn about bush tucker and bush medicine, how to throw a boomerang and about the didgeridoo. If you’re after an authentic Aussie bush camping experience, you can camp overnight in a tent, go for an evening walk with a park ranger and toast marshmallows by the campfire.