Our newest zoo out at Bungarribee in Western Sydney opened to visitors in December 2019 and its appeal is fresh with clever habitat designs and its vision of connecting people with animals in order to secure a sustainable future for wildlife. This comes about through advanced technology and innovation, whilst improving animal welfare, visitor engagement and education.
Home to a wide range of exotic and native species, large open enclosures and structures allow the animals to stroll around, be playful with their mates and rest when needed. The well-planned setup sees creatures grouped together in areas, based on continent. There's the South East Asia area, the African group and the Australian section, with information panels at each enclosure.
Large open enclosures allow for plenty of movement and play
Along with a friend, a start was made with the primates in the South East Asia area. As we strolled down the wide boulevard we encountered known and unknown species, small and large, from chimpanzees to monkeys, baboons to capybara and capuchin. Most were either eating or enjoying themselves as if they were in the wild and without a care in the world.
Moving further through Asia, you'll come across the impressive Sumatran tiger, the cute meerkats, camels, a couple of otters, red pandas, elephants and orangutans. They all draw visitors and their cameras.
In the African group, there's a cheetah to spot before you hit the raised circular boardwalk that allows you to look down on the lions, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, spotted hyenas and African painted dogs.
Lions on Pride Rock eyeing off humans on the elevated boardwalk
After conquering two continents, it was time for some lunch. Cafes are well spaced out to allow you to recharge at various points and watch neighbouring animals as you do so. They include the Lion Deck Cafe, the Tiger Pool Cafe and the Boulevard Eatery. Most serve up similar menu items, which include burgers, chicken wings, fish and chips, pies, sushi, sandwiches and wraps, salads and poke bowls, pastries, cakes and confectionery, ice cream, snacks and both hot and cold drinks.
After downing pies and chips, we were ready to conquer the Australian section of the zoo. Here you'll come across cassowaries and emus, the Tasmanian devil, kangaroos and wallabies, wombats, koalas and dingoes.
The emu - the second largest bird in the world can dash away at nearly 50km per hour
A couple of walk-through buildings in this section include an aquarium and Australia's largest reptile and nocturnal house. From a giant croc to bull sharks, crustaceans to cute little penguins, snakes, amphibians and butterflies, there's plenty of interest for young and old.
This crustacean is one of the most widespread in Australia
Viewing decks and seats are prominent throughout these continents of animals, making for great spots to take a breath. Water refill stations are also conveniently located for you to make use of.
Like Taronga in the city, animal encounters are available and keeper talks take place. Children aged 8-12yrs can also take part in the Mini Zookeeper for a Day program that allows them a behind-the-scenes experience of a day in the life of a zookeeper.
They've taken a lot into account when designing the layout of this modern zoo. It suits all ages and is fully accessible. Strollers ($15), electric mobility scooters ($20) and wheelchairs (free) are available to hire. There are no stairs at all here and all of the main pathways lead back to the main entrance and exit (through the gift shop that sells a variety of Australian souvenirs).
There's no getting lost with the free map available at the zoo entrance and it's a very handy one that lays out the walking paths and where the different animals are within each continent.
You can download this map from www.sydneyzoo.com and plan your visit beforehand or get it on entry
The zoo is open every day, 9am-5pm, with free parking onsite, an information desk, picnic areas and plenty of toilets. Ticket prices online are $39.99 for Adults (16yrs & over), $29.99 for Concession and $19.99 for Children (3-15yrs). Infants (0-2yrs) are free. Ticket numbers are currently limited due to the pandemic and the need for social distancing. Timed hourly arrival periods can be booked. There is no limit to how long you can stay (during opening hours, of course).
You can reduce your ticket cost by using one of your NSW Discover vouchers. You can also save on food using a Dine voucher. These vouchers have recently been extended by a month and now expire 31st July 2021.
Getting to the zoo is easy. There's good access by car from the M4 and M7 Motorways, as well as the Great Western Highway, and buses travel to the zoo from a couple of train stations.
So have a great day out, enjoying the sunshine and animals with your fellow humans.