The day was finally here. We had wanted to go to Taronga Zoo ever since we arrived but when you live in Sydney you need to keep things back for when visitors arrive – otherwise every new visit feels like Groundhog Day (‘Opera House Tour: Again!!)
With the reunion of the Hamilton sisters we could now go to the Zoo!!
Located on the North Harbour shores, in Mosman, this almost 99 years old institution not only has one of the largest collection of animals – it also has an enviable view of the Sydney CBD. Which is very fitting as ‘Taronga’ is an aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful view’.
Jumping off the bus you are immediately greeted by a stunning Edwardian structure packed full of animal motifs and sculptures. This used to the be the main entrance building before prosperity ensured a much larger entrance way was needed. We had to buy 3 Adult tickets as the ‘volunteer’ at the ticket desk refused to recognise Laura’s student id. What was it Lord Acton said about power?
Every entrance ticket comes with a free ride on the gondola cable car that traverses the zoo from up on high. We opted to get this last as it would save our legs from the climb up back to the entrance. You see Taronga zoo hugs the hillside so as you progress through the various zones you are steadily making your way down — just like the mountain goats we would see later on.
Our first encounter with wildlife was a pair of cheeky lemurs on the road.
As we had hit a fork we decided to opt for the road to our left – Wild Australia, as Laura would not have seen many of these animals before. We were treated to a plethora of Australian delights including Wallabies,Kangaroos,Wombats,Echidnas and (finally for us!) Tasmanian Devils. There was also a bird sanctuary in the middle of this sector but John was the only one to enjoy this as the two Hamilton sisters have more than a touch of Ornithophobia – and they promptly ran through it double time!
Lunch was shared (almost) with some domestic turkeys before it was onwards towards our cousins – the monkeys. Unfortunately the Orang-utans were all hiding so we would not get a reunion with our friends from Sepilok 😦 . However we did finally get to meet their neighbours – the Sun Bears! We also saw some chimpanzees, lemurs and Karen got up close and personal with a Gorilla.
Our journey took us to Africa next and we got to see one of our highlights of the day – the Giraffe family. And it is some view that they have!!
The rest of the cast of ‘Madagascar’ showed up afterwards along with some Mountain Goats from the Himalayas.
We were making good progress by now that we were able to burn some time and wait to see the Elephants return from their daily feeding – even John was excited to see them after his humiliation in Chiang Mai.
As 2pm hit we were unsure how to top what we had already seen. The Elephants are always great and the Giraffes were probably the highlight so far. What we saw next topped all of it. It was time for the Big Cats!!!
We had a majestic pride of African Lions and Shere Khan himself stalking the undergrowth.
To finish us off was the Southern Oceans zone. Here we enjoyed the spectacle of penguins and the showmanship of seals as well as seeing some otters before we took the Gondola back up to the entrance area.