Taronga Zoo or Featherdale...which one should you visit when in Sydney, Australia?

by - 4/03/2020

I know this isn't the right time to talk about travelling. But we should always see on the brighter side. Let's start planning during this quarantime time so that once it's over, we can resume our favourite pastime.

Now if you ask me, my first reaction would be why would I even want to visit a zoo! Mind you...I am not responding to the above question but to the term zoo in general. I mean I am a grown up person with more than required knowledge in the animal kingdom. During my childhood, I had been to many animal parks...the Alipore Zoo in Kolkata is the largest in India and I have fond memories of that place. Also the Delhi zoological park is very near and I have been there several times.
A tiny marsupial: The Australian Bandikoot
It's not that I am against captive animals. One can learn more from a zoo than a wildlife sanctuary. Having said that I have my fair share of experience of watching the animals in the wild. What I mean is that I have seen enough animals...more than enough in fact, so zoos don't fascinate me at all. Then why the confusion between Taronga or Featherdale zoo?

If you have read evolution in Biology or have some idea about Darwin's theory, then you must be familiar with creatures like Duck billed platypus, echidna, etc....mammals who lay eggs. (How strange is that!) Now marsupials like kangaroos and koalas are found only in the Australian continent. What I want to say is that Australia is native to animals which are found nowhere else! It's a completely different world out there, isolated from rest of the world. Being in the Southern hemisphere, it has got penguins too! So in no way I was going to miss meeting that exclusive fauna there!
One can easily come across various creatures like kangaroos, koalas, penguins, Tasmanian devils in the wild while sight seeing in Australia. However it would be fatal to encounter ferocious species like dingo (which happens too) A tourist can't rely on chances; so we planned on visiting a zoo. Although we were lucky to have seen both kangaroos and koalas in the wild way before we reached Sydney. Now there are many big zoos and national parks all over the country. However we wanted to visit in Sydney which has the best Australian zoo:  Taronga zoo. However I read that it's really large and takes almost an entire day to visit it. Now we didn't have one whole day just for the animals. On researching I found out about Featherdale wildlife sanctuary, 100kms from Sydney and on our way to the Blue Mountains which was equally good.
We weighed the pros and cons .

 Taronga: Entry fees: around 50 AUD ( very expensive)
Spread over huge area with splendid views of the Sydney Harbor area.
Has all types of animals including local Australian as well as global animals.

Featherdale: Entry fees: 29 AUD ( relatively cheaper)
Its glamour is nothing as compared to the  Taronga Zoo.
Has all the native Australian animals.
It's located in a small town called Doonside, which is on the way to Blue mountains.
Now the cheaper tickets attracted us but the 'only Australian native animals' part bought us. We took a detour of about  four hours from our Blue Mountains trip and it was the best decision ever.

Is there a place to store luggage at Featherdale?

There is no cloak room but the staff is very sweet and they let us keep our luggage in the First Aid room. The room was locked so it was safe.
The spiny Anteater or Echidna: an egg laying mammal
We got to watch and play with all types of Australian native animals. You can even buy animal food and feed them. There are special tickets for private encounters with koalas. I fed the bandicoots, saw the parading penguins with awe, stared in surprise at the duckbilled Platypus and echidna, loved seeing the kangaroos hop by and what not!
The dangerous Australian Dingo
They have all the animals you can think of when in Land of Oz and the staff is very sweet. The birds are such a delight to watch! I have always liked macaws but I had seen them earlier in Singapore bird park. What I hadn't seen were the most dangerous bird in the world: Cassowary. The place is equally full of ferocious animals.
Last but not the least, the souvenir shop is very well stocked and it's the cheapest in entire Australia! ( As compared to Sydney and Melbourne) Too sad I didn't buy an umbrella ( it was very cute!)
Make sure you complete your souvenir shopping from there only and don't wait to buy from the city!

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  1. We love visiting zoos with the kids. And we also love buying stuff from the souvenir shops everywhere. We won't miss either of these if we visit Australia.

  2. I love visting the zoo and watching animals. Reading the signboards and reading about them makes me feel so happy. Also the souvenirs make me feel so elated.

  3. That is a well reviewed post for both the zoos. Since I love nature and wildlife, I would very much like to visit both of them. And getting souvenirs on the way back are always good.

  4. From the sound of your blog and personal experience, Featherdale will be my choice too! Thanks for sharing.
    Noor Anand Chawla

  5. Am not much into Zoo kind of travel, but I won't mind visiting for the experience.

  6. I love animals and though I am not a fan of zoos, when visiting a new place, visiting zoos is a good idea! Loved reading the post! Will surely keep this in mind if I visit Australia!

  7. Kids really enjoy visiting zoo and exploring new animals and places. Though I dont find it much interesting.

  8. Loved reading your post. I read about this zoo somewhere else. You shared each information in detail.

  9. Thanks for the post though I'm not a zoo person I love historical places.