Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published December 19th 2013
An experience to last a lifetime
Australia Zoo is one of Queensland's busiest and best tourist destinations; with an array of native and exotic animals to experience, and multitudes of exhibits to explore. Australia Zoo; one of the largest wildlife conservation facilities in the world; is situated on Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah; a town on the Sunshine Coast hinterland; amongst the celebrated rainforests, wet eucalypts and scenic nature reserves that populate the beautiful Sunshine Coast region.
Home to a large variety of different animals; birds, mammals, marsupials, and reptiles; Australia Zoo showcases native Australian animals; Dingoes, Echidnas, Kangaroos, Koalas, Possums, Tasmanian Devils and Wombats; South-East Asian animals; Red Pandas, Bengal and Sumatran Tigers, Asian Elephants; and even Cheetahs, Rhinoceros, Giraffe and Zebra from the plains of Africa, within the zoo's 24 acre Africa exhibit.
Australia Zoo is a great venue for a day of outdoor family fun. As well as the variety of animals to see, Australia Zoo has its own eatery; small cafes; merchandise stores; a wildlife hospital; education centre; museum; safari shuttle; and if you're feeling adventurous, a selection of 'animal experiences' that will get you and your family up close and personal with one (or more) of the zoo's amazing locals.
Take a look at the variety of animal encounters HERE
Recently my partner and I decided to make a trip to Australia Zoo. At the planning stage, when I was trawling through the website in delight, I'd looked through the many animal experiences in wonder. In my eyes, each and every one of these animal encounters would be amazing experiences. Keen to pick out an experience that would allow me to share the same space with at least one of my favourite animals, I set my heart on Australia Zoo's Asian Elephant Experience.
I called the pre-booking number: (07) 5436 2000; and booked ahead so that my partner and I wouldn't miss out. It was set.
On the day, we arrived at Australia Zoo; paid our entrance fees and the cost of the animal experience; and received the information needed to participate in the Asian Elephant Experience. All animal encounters have scheduled time-slots, and the Asian Elephant Experience occurs at 1:30pm daily. We explored much of the zoo before heading to Elephantasia—home to Australia Zoo's Asian Elephants—where zoo keepers and a photographer greeted us, and welcomed us into the huge enclosure.
Here we met Sabu—a gorgeous female Asian Elephant—whom we posed with for photographs; brushed down with large brooms; patted; kissed; and fed. Sabu was gentle, patient and friendly—it truly was amazing to be standing beside, and touching, such a majestic large creature as she happily ate her lunch. Despite Sabu's incredible size, I felt happy, peaceful and safe around her, and the zoo keepers certainly kept control of the situation. We spent a good 20-30 minutes with Sabu in her giant exhibit, and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend adding an animal encounter to your day if you're planning on visiting Australia Zoo any time soon—my encounter with Sabu the Asian Elephant was unforgettable.
Important note: Not long after our visit to Australia Zoo, Sabu's remaining companion, Bimbo, sadly passed away. In order to care for and support Sabu at this time, Australia Zoo has temporarily relocated Sabu to her 10 acre off-display enclosure. The Asian Elephant Experience will be unavailable until further notice, and the Elephantasia exhibit is currently undergoing renovations.