Thursday, 10 January 2013

and Taronga Zoo - Roar and Snore

and we slept with the lions
Taronga Zoo - Roar and Snore

Taronga Zoo

Earlier this year the plus one and I went on a 3 week driving holiday of NSW and the ACT. I wanted to visit Taronga zoo and we did a little research (looked at the website) and we found Roar and Snore. After we arrived back in Sydney from visiting Canberra, the Blue Mountains and the Central coast, we spent our first night at the zoo. We caught the ferry from the city and then a bus to the top of the zoo. It was just after closing and the courtyard out the front was empty. We were the first to arrive. Soon more and more guests arrived with their luggage. The guides let us in around 6.15pm. They placed our luggage on to a cart and escorted us to where we would be staying.

Never smile at a crocodile (for some reason)

Taronga zoo has a permanent camp site. We were in the end tent which contained a double and a single as well as a few camp chairs. All of the tents were powered and had a solid floor. The camp site also has an amenity block and there is a large tent were snacks and breakfast is served. One thing I noticed is that you never went hungry. After we settled into our tents we all met in the dining tent where platters of food were provided. The platters included vegetable sticks, dip, cheeses etc. The guides then brought in some animals to meet us. There were stick insects, lizards and a baby crocodile, as well as other animals. After this we headed to the food hall outside of the camp site were a buffet dinner was served. This was only an hour after the snacks! The buffet was great. There was a massive range of hot foods and salads as well as drinks.

I forgot to take a photo of our tent. 
This is off the Taronga website.

Once we ate all that we could, we met out the front and we were divided into two groups. We then headed of for a night tour of the zoo. It was raining and we were all in poncho's. The zoo was so quiet with only a few rustlings and calls from the animals. We visited the big cats as well as this cute little fox. A lot of the animals were hiding out of the rain but it was still an amazing experience. We then headed back to camp for some ice cream and tea and coffee before parting for bed. To be honest, my sleep wasn't brilliant. The rain on our tent was very loud. I woke up and found my Ipod and put the ear buds in my ears. I was also awaken by the lions roaring early in the morning. I am definitely not complaining about that. It was amazing to be so close to these magnificent animals. I know that I was sleeping somewhere special. Not as amazing as if I was really on Safari in Africa but close enough for me.

Morning Sydney!

I woke up early and headed to the showers. The amenities block has lots a bathrooms and are really new and clean. I then headed back to my tent and grabbed my camera took photo's one of the best views of Sydney. I went out onto the deck and took some beautiful shots of the harbour. We then enjoyed a continental breakfast. Afterwards we headed back to our tents to pack up and prepare for the next activities. We walked though the quiet zoo and went behind the scenes of the nocturnal house and met one of the keepers. He spoke to us about the dangers native animals face because of feral animals and human activities. We met a tiny native mouse. Don't worry. They look a lot cuter than the rodents most people are use to. They have big eyes and big ears. They are also nocturnal and do not go into houses. He was so adorable. He kept running up the arm of the keeper and onto his shoulder or head. After this we headed to the giraffe enclosure where we met another keeper. After a talk from the keeper about the animals we lined up and fed the giraffes carrots. They are hilarious with their long necks and huge tongues, licking the carrots out of your hands.

Me feeding a giraffe

From here we headed to the education center to meet even more animals. We patted an echidna, a koala and a quokka. All native Australian animals. So I highly recommend this to international travelers. There were heaps of photo opportunities. This was then end of the Roar and Snore aspect of the day. They held our luggage in the education center and we all headed our separate ways to explore the zoo. It was an amazing time. The weather was much better then the day before. There was just a few sprinkles of rain. It was still early in the morning and the gates hadn't quiet opened yet. The zoo wasn't that quiet though. All of the animals were very active. We even saw the elusive Snow Leopard. Although we failed to get a good photo of him. We spent half the day wandering around enjoying a really amazing zoo.

Native rat I think.... 


Snow Leopard


Elephants (my favourite animal)


Himalayan Tahr

Francois' Leaf-monkey

I highly recommend the experience to everyone. Especially the animal lovers out there. All of the keepers, including our guides for the stay, were so friendly and informative. Taronga Zoo has a sister zoo, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. It is located in Dubbo, a 5 hour drive north west of Sydney. But don't worry. There are flights there. The Western Plains Zoo has it's own Roar and Snore as well as Zoofari lodges. My plus one went with his family when he was younger and stayed the night at the zoo.

Both of us agreed that it was the best part of our holidays. We were so lucky to be able to experience such a fantastic night. Hopefully it won't be a once in a life time experience!

Love, love Elle.

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