How to get the most out of a day at Australia Zoo
Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, our annual day trips to Australia Zoo were up there with Christmas on the excitement front.
Over the years, I’ve clocked up tonnes of hours and many family memories from this gorgeous place. Every time I visit with my dad, he points out the avocado trees he planted in the kangaroo area and the landscaping around the croc pens. And I’ll never forget the time we saw Steve with baby Bob on the motorbike, heading home, and he stopped to wave hello, bless his Timberland boots. This particular moment, inspired my littlest brother into his “crikey” phase where he would spend hours in the backyard chasing lizards and birds – and his love for all animals continues to this day.
These days, I still find time to regularly visit the zoo to let my inner child free, and those who tag along are subjected to my very tight schedule to ensure we see as much as possible.
So without further ado, here are my best tips and tricks to get the most out of a day at Australia Zoo:
Morning session: Crocs, cassowaries and koalas, oh my!
TIP: If you were so excited that you arrived before opening time, get a family/group/selfie photo with the Steve Irwin sign out front.
9am: After gaining entry, mosey on down the path to tick off the crocodilians and alligator ponds first. If you stray off the main loop you’ll come across some Aussie animal favourites:
- Tasmanian devils doing hot laps
- Dingoes sleeping in the morning sun
- The dinosaur-like cassowary
- Cute koalas
- Binturongs, which are tree-dwelling creatures from Asia and I’ve always found them hanging out in the cave in the top left corner of their exhibit
Wander back to see the lizards and Komodo dragon on the way to see the otter show.
10.30am: Morning otter show
TIP: While you’re waiting for the otter show to start, make use of the free WiFi in this area to Facebook, Tweet or Instagram! Share your photos with @AustraliaZoo, @Queensland, @VisitSunshineCoast or use these hashtags: #AustraliaZoo, #ThisIsQueensland and #VisitSunshineCoast.
11am: Make friends with the shuttle service. It will give you a chance to rest your feet a bit throughout the day! Go to Shuttle Stop 1, just by the entry and jump off at Shuttle Stop 3 – The Wetlands. (TIP: Use the map at the end of the post to help you navigate).
- Explore the wetlands – if you’re lucky you might see the noisy brolga dance!
- Head towards the Crocoseum via Roo Heaven. Before leaving the Wetlands, buy some Roo Food from the retail outlets near the Grey Roo and Red Roo haven for $2.
- It’s time to feed the kangaroos!
TIP: If you run out of roo food make sure you grab some more at the vending machine inside the undercover area, you’ll need it later on.
If you make it to the Crocoseum before show time, here are a few ways to fill in the time:
- Have an early lunch at the Feeding Frenzy Food Court and beat the crowds.
- Explore the Crocodile Hunter Museum on the lower levels. Have tissues handy when you reach the memorial for Steve Irwin. We miss you mate!
- Give a goat, pig or sheep a pat in the Kids Zoo!
Midday Session: It’s all about the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors show at the Crocoseum
This is the show you don’t want to miss. The Wildlife Warriors put on one hell of a show and the animals are all in on it. From swooping birds to gnarly croc action, it’s definitely a highlight of the day.
You’ll learn about giant snakes and about the conservation work that Australia Zoo is passionate about.
Tip: Sit towards the top of the stands in the shady area so that when the birds are flying around showing off their colours, you’ll be able to follow them without the sun glare getting into your eyes.
Afternoon session: Africa, Wombat and Red Pandas
After the Crocoseum show, jump on the Shuttle (Stop 2) to Africa (Stop 5).
TIP: Free WiFi is available around the Shuttle Stop too – social media break!
TIP: On the shuttle, as you come into the Africa area, keep your eyes peeled on the tree groves on the left-hand side of the road. You may see a cheetah going for a walk or relaxing in the tree line… AWESOME!
The Africa section of the zoo is growing all the time! The animals you are guaranteed to see on the open plain are:
- Gorgeous giraffes
- Zesty zebras
- Rhinestone rhinos
2:30pm – 3pm: It’s time to meet Wattle
The wombat enclosure is the largest in the southern hemisphere and is home to some of the most playful wombats in Australia. Wattle who was born in 2016, is always full of energy and loves hanging out with people. And when she gets tired, she is pulled around in her own private cart. Tough life huh?
It’s $49 per person to go behind the scenes of the wombat enclosure and if you’re lucky, Wattle might even share her favourite foods with you (highly unlikely). She loves sweet potato and carrot. Yum!
Tip: Don’t forget to wear covered shoes if you want to be able to do this experience.
After the meeting Wattle, see the Red Pandas hiding in the trunks or running around the higher branches.
That leaves the final section of the park, leading you back to the zoo entry and exit. But there is still heaps to explore!
- Koala walk-through where you can give a koala a pat. (TIP: Look up in the trees of this area, you might find a koala sleeping up there).
- Next up is the Red Kangaroo enclosure. Feed them, watch them or get your kangaroo selfie if you haven’t already!
- Take your time through the Rainforest Aviary. You’ll find noisy birds front and centre, but if you look closer you might find some birds are very camouflaged in the surroundings!
- Wander past the wombat dens (there is an animal encounter available where you can take a wombat for a walk! CUTE!), birds of prey and the Australian Snakes exhibit.
This path will lead you to the exit via the gift store. Pick yourself up a memento.
Extra Karma Points: Visit the Wildlife Hospital
If you have the time and a $2 coin in your pocket, a sneak peek into the Wildlife Hospital is worth a visit. You could see anything from giant turtles to koalas needing a little bit of tender loving care from the Wildlife Team.
Your donation helps to continue saving and rehabilitating Aussie wildlife. GOOD JOB!
Australia Zoo Map
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