AUSTRALIA Apr ’08
Taronga Zoo, the name “Taronga” meaning beautiful view in the Aborigine language… 340 species, 2600 individual animals, in an area 21 hectares large… making it one of the largest zoos in the world! If you love animals, this is a *must-visit* place in Sydney.
Location of Taronga Zoo in relation to Sydney. “CBD” = Central Business District
There are a few ways you can get yourself to Taronga – by ferry and by land (ways to get to Taronga). Sydney Ferries provides a Taronga Zoo package but their ferries depart from Circular Quay and since Matilda Cruises is at Darling Harbour (see below), that became my choice.
The Matilda Taronga Express package also includes a short tour on the ferry on the way to Taronga. Cost AUD44 but it includes the Sky Safari cable car ride (from the ferry wharf) and zoo pass ticket. The Zoo Pass ticket itself is AUD39 (other rates) so the Matilda package is a good deal.
Not to mention Matilda ferry departs from either Darling Harbour (which is just next to where I stayed – Four-Points Sheraton) or Circular Quay (which is nearer to Sydney’s CBD).
Taronga’s Ferry Wharf (pictured below) remains the most popular mode of entry to the Zoo for many tourists and I’m no exception here since the Matilda package covers the cable car ride at the wharf.
From the wharf, you can either take the Sky Safari cable car or one of the buses which takes you to the main entry to Taronga Zoo (from the map below, the main entry is at the top right corner).
Or you can opt for Sky Safari cable car ride which enters Taronga Zoo via the bottom left corner if you refer to the Taronga Zoo map below. Taronga is huge… and it involves lots of walking to cover all its 21 hectares of space, so wear something comfy. 😛
Here is a sampling of the photos taken of the animals inside Taronga Zoo; grouped by their habitats… Admittedly I didn’t have a list of the complete 340 species when I visited the Zoo hence I did not manage to spot (and take photos) of each specie. Lack of preparation.. sigh. Anyway on my next trip there with waiyan, I’ll make sure I complete my list. 🙂
I’d lots of fun (not to mention being educational) spotting the various species found in the Taronga Zoo. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading this list as well. 🙂
Australian Pelican – have a few more photos of these in my Flickr set
Note: With the exception of the Red Kangaroo and the Emu, I actually
can’t be too sure as to the identification of the various wallabies. The
above pics are the closest match after I attempted to match pictures of
each specie googled from the web with those I’ve taken… sigh, serves
me right for not labeling them properly when taking their pictures.
Hmm… didn’t seem to have any pictures taken of the species in this habitat.
BACKYARD TO BUSH
Here’s where you can find all the smaller creatures and also those that are kept or live around farms such as Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Guinea Pigs, European Rabbits, Sheeps, Pigs, Australian Brush Turkey, and Redback Spider,
They’ve also made the effort to re-create a farm environment right in the middle of the zoo, complete with houses, barns etc. Really pleasing environment to walk around.
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat – one of three species of wombat, and the smallest one. It’s vulnerable and cannot survive dry season and thus has an ageing population in Australia due to the recent dry season where rainfall was sparse
As some of you may have known, Australia has experienced one of its worst water drought (attributed to climate change?) a few years back. There’s now a nationwide water management programme that encourages people to save water usage.
Note: “Snail mail” is a play-of-word where in this fast-paced Internet era, email is used more often than postal mails due to the conveinence and speed of sending emails. The post-office mail is thus called “snail mail” as it travels as fast (read: slow) as the snail. 😛
GREAT SOUTHERN OCEAN
The theme here is the sea, and you get to see the leopard seal, California sea lions, and a couple of the penguin species namely the Fiordland Penguin and the Little Penguin. There are supposedly a few more species of seals and sea lions but I wasn’t able to spot them.
Where lizards and snakes dwell, you can find the Komodo Dragon, Basilisk, Jackson’s Chamelon, Frill-necked Lizard, Gila Monster, Cave Gecko, Green Iguana, Fiji Crested Iguana, Rhinoceros Iguana, Tawny Crevice Dragon, Cunningham’s Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Eastern Blue-Tongue Lizard and Eastern Water Monitor.
Komodo Dragon – there’s one majestic specimen at the Taronga Zoo. For more of them, you must visit Komodo Island in Indonesia. 😛
Gila Monster – these are the only venomous lizard but they are slow-moving… The species above is the reticulated gila monster (the other being the banded gila monster). You can differentiate them by the markings on their skin.
Fiji Crest Iguana – these are marked by three narrow bands on its body (unlike the Fiji Banded Iguanas which have broader bands). They also have taller more distinguished crests that run from their head to their tail.
Australia is home to over 100 species of snakes (abuot 20% of them are venomous). At the Serpentaria, you’ll get to see the Reticulated Python (world’s longest snake) Anaconda, Green Python, Boa Constrictor, Red-bellied Black Snake, Rhinoceros Viper, Black-headed python, Corn Snake, and Desert Death Adder.
River Cooter – these are commonly found on river banks and kept as pets (but now banned). They look similar to the Slider Turtles we can buy from pet shops in Malaysia but the River Cooter hails from Florida.
Not as many animals here as I would think (with Africa being known as the animal world) but those I spotted were the Giraffes and Pygmy Hippopotamus only. I did see the Zebra but couldn’t get any nice picture.
I like how Taronga made the effort to re-create a lowland forest habitat for the
Gorillas. The others in the family – Chimpanzees, Orang Utans – can be spotted in Taronga except I did not managed any pictures of them.
The evolution of mankind?
Has one specie in this habitat only ie Kodiak Bear (below).
OTHER SCENES IN TARONGA
A collection of other interesting scenes in the Zoo
One final note before I sign-off this blog. The Matilda Express ferry which I took has its last departure time around 5pm while the Sydney Ferries run till as late as 6pm (weekdays) or 7pm (weekends). So make sure you know which ferry you took and when’s the last “ship” out of Taronga.
You can view the complete photo gallery for my Taronga Zoo trip at my Flickr set – click here.