Discovering family friendly fun around Sydney. For more postcards you can subscribe via Weekend Notes, 'Like' my Facebook page or follow on Instagram to receive regular updates
Published February 3rd 2015
Overnight camping experience
One of the best family activities we have ever done is staying overnight at the Billabong Camp at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. A ticket for this overnight camping experience also includes 2 days access to the zoo. You can explore the zoo by car, bike or electric cart. After exploring the zoo for the day you meet at Billabong Camp at 5pm.
The camp is located within the zoo grounds and consists of canvas tents positioned around a picturesque billabong. There are also shower and toilet amenities, an undercover dining area and a camp fire.
From the moment you arrive at the Billabong Camp there is a full itinerary: including zookeeper talks, drinks and nibblies, a BBQ dinner, walk through the Aussie animal exhibit by torch light, hot drinks and supper before bed.
The canvas tents include a stretcher bed, but you are required to bring sleeping bags and blankets with you. We stayed in July, during the middle of winter, which meant that while it was not too crowded, the temperature did drop below zero, and we needed both sleeping bags and blankets to stay warm. My tips is to also take some torches with you as there are no lights in the tents.
In the morning there is a continental breakfast and a walk through of the Asian animal exhibits including monkeys, rhinos and the Sumatran tiger. After leaving Billabong Camp around 9am you are free to explore the zoo for the rest of the day.
Getting up close to the Sumatran tiger was a highlight
We found the Billabong Camp facilities to be new, clean and well planned. We had two adjacent tents for our family of 4. There was heaps of food included. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable. The behind the scenes tours were excellent and got us up close and personal with the animals. Highlights were seeing a baby koala, patting a wallaby and seeing a Sumatran tiger up close.
The facilities of the zoo were also first rate and we loved the open feeling of the zoo. It was easy to get around - our family of 4 hired bikes for the day - and we found this was the most convenient way to see the exhibits as you could ride right up to most of them. We saw all the animals without any problems and a lot of them came right up close. The kids loved the adventure playground and it was a nice place to sit and relax for the adults. We would definitely recommend the zoo and the Billabong Camp as a fantastic family destination.