Taronga Zoo Sydney


Taronga Zoo, covering 33 hectares of land in the north shore suburb of Mosman, opened for business in 1916 and has been a firm favourite ever since. The word 'Taronga' is thought to be Aboriginal for 'Waterview' and the Zoo certainly can boast one of the most magnificent views around. With a strong emphasis on native fauna, it offers a superb introduction to Australian wildlife and makes an ideal day out for people of all ages.


Here you can see endangered species such as the Cassowary, a huge flightless bird which originates from Far North Queensland and Papua New Guinea. They are few and far between in Queensland, and this may be your only chance to see these impressive, if slightly odd looking birds.


You can't get much more of an Aussie icon as the Red Kangaroo. If you venture out of the city you are more likely to see its more common grey cousin. This variety is more frequently found in the desert areas of the country, and can grow to be up to two metres high. They are on view at the zoo and make an impressive sight.


Most likely to be found dozing at the zoo is the Koala. Also an Australian icon, it is getting more difficult to track down as the urban sprawl of the east coast continues to grow. More likely to be found by visitors in the wild off the Queensland coast on Magnetic Island, these marsupials (like Kangaroos they raise their young in a pouch) feast mainly on certain types of eucalypt, and their digestion method and diet means that tend to doze for hours on end. Some zoos invite you to cuddle these Aussie icons, though current thinking has it that this practice puts the Koala through undue stress.


The zoo also offers the opportunity to view Possums, Wombats and Flying Foxes, along with more internationally recognised animals as the Tiger and Chimpanzee. The big mammals - the Rhino and the elephant are also present, alongside smaller attractions like the Tree Frog and the Tawny Frogmouth.


Key features include the "Great Southern Oceans" and also the Orang-utan Forest similarly sponsored by said restaurant chain. Chester the White tiger is a resident big cat and there is also an opportunity to view rare Sumatran Tigers. Seals perform at lunchtime and there are talks from the keepers throughout the day.


The zoo is open every day of the year, and is located on the Harbour at Mosman. It makes for another excuse to use the city's ferry services (http://www.sydneyferries.nsw.gov.au/) - the zoo is a leisurely 12 minute ride from the terminal at Circular Quay. The Zoo is accessable to wheelchairs.


As of 2008, a visit will set adults back $AUD 39, with children getting in for $AUD 19.00. Concessions check in at around $AUD 23 and a family saver ticket is priced at $AUD 98.50. If you are going by ferry, you can get an all inclusive ZooPass - details at http://www.131500.info. The ferry operates regularly from Circular Quay, and arrives at a wharf which is at the Zoo.




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