An Animal Lover’s Guide to Sydney

Mazebackpackers (5)

Australia has some of the most unique wildlife in the world. From cuddly koalas to the kangaroos and emus, there are so many interesting animals to see when visiting the Land Down Under. And it’s not just the cute and cuddly that puts Aussie animals on the tourist radar – some of the greatest and most dangerous reptiles in the world also call Australia home.

To really experience everything Australia has to offer during your trip to Sydney, paying a visit to some of our cities most prominent animal sanctuaries is a must. And if you’re up for some up-close and personal encounters, that can be arranged too.

Taronga Zoo

Sydney’s iconic Taronga Zoo is the perfect destination for visitors looking to see a heap of native wildlife, and offers awesome bird and seal shows daily. See the incredible platypus, or get up close with a koala, giraffe, penguin or owl. Or, take the Nura Diya Aboriginal Wildlife Tour through Taronga, and hear stories about Australian wildlife from the perspective of an Aboriginal guide. To really enjoy day at Taronga right from the onset, get the 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay across the harbour and enjoy the spectacular views.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Located in Darling Harbour, just a short walk from Town Hall Station, you’ll find the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Home to thousands of tropical fish as well as stingrays, turtles, sharks, and seahorses, its pride and joy are its two dugongs; there are only three other dugongs on display in the world! Named Wuru and Pig, they’re definitely deserve a visit while you’re in Sydney. If you want to get more hands on, take a behind the scenes tour or go snorkeling with all of the beautiful marine life.

Wild Life Sydney Zoo

The Wild Life Sydney Zoo offers unique Australian animal adventures and encounters you’re sure to never forget. See the world’s most dangerous bird, the cassowary, and enjoy the Kangaroo Walk-About before heading along Gum Tree Valley to meet its koala residents! Open from 9.30am and located at Aquarium Wharf in Darling Harbour, this is a great place to visit and learn more about some of Australia’s most unique animals.

Symbio Wildlife Park

An hour’s drive out of Sydney you’ll find the Symbio Wildlife Park. Home to many native and exotic animals, including meerkats, you can spend the day learning about all of Australia’s native fauna and more. The reptile house is home to the world’s most venomous snake varieties, and there’s a fantastic koala breeding sanctuary too.

Australian Reptile Park

For those who love anything with scales, several eyes and forked tongues, the Australian Reptile Park is a must visit. Located on the NSW Central Coast, about a one hour drive north of Sydney, it offers plenty to see and do – so ensure you allocate a full day to spend here. While there you can check out all of Australia’s native animals, including Tasmanian devils and wombats,  and there’s plenty of reptiles that will leave you in awe. On the weekends you can see Elvis the crocodile being fed his tucker, and frequent reptile shows offer great insight into Australia’s very own reptiles and the venom collection program at the park. For those who are really passionate about creepy crawlies, there’s an awesome spider world exhibit that’s a total must see.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

If you’re heading up into the Blue Mountains, Featherdale Wildlife Park is on your way, and is a great place to stop and enjoy a truly hands-on wildlife encounter. At Featherdale you can cuddle a koala for no additional fee and have fun feeding the wallabies and kangaroos. Over 1,700 animals live here, and there are more than 280 different species to get to know. There’s some fascinating and not so well known endangered species residing here too, including the beloved Australian Bilby. To get the blood pumping check out the 4.5 metre saltwater crocodile, as well as the other 40 species of reptiles in the Reptilian Pavilion.

Whale watching on the harbour

If you love marine life, going on a whale watching tour is a must. It only takes around 15 minutes or so to get out of Sydney Harbour to prime watching spots, depending on which cruise you take, so don’t worry about having to spend hours travelling along open water! There’s nothing quite like spending time enjoying the warm sun and spotting whales as they frolic and play just outside of Sydney’s iconic harbour.

Swim with sharks

If you want to take your wildlife encounter to the next level, try the Shark Dive Xtreme tour in Manly. You don’t need any prior scuba diving experience, as scuba training is offered before you dive into the four million litre oceanarium. Over a 2.5 hour period you’ll undergo scuba training and a safety briefing, before embarking on a guided tour through shark tunnels and a dive in Shark Harbour, where you’ll come face to face with three metre grey nurse sharks, sea turtles, fish and stingrays.

Sydney is a haven for animal lovers from all around the world. With so many places to check out, it’s a good idea to map out how you plan to tackle your animal adventure trail, so you don’t miss out on any sanctuaries or aquariums during your visit. Finally, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to explore each location, so you can truly enjoy all it has to offer.