The enjoyment of our Taronga Zoo trip started with the ferry ride from Darling Harbour. We went on the Sydney Opera House tour before this trip and found it very informative. However, we didn't realise how majestic the structure is until we viewed it from the ferry. We bought a Taronga Zoo Express voucher from RAA because as members we got a 10% discount and if we ended up not using the voucher, we were entitled to a full refund. Taronga Zoo Express ticket includes return ferry to the zoo from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay, entry to the zoo and Sky Safari cable car. The informative commentary on board the ferry was a pleasant surprise.
The two main ways to explore the zoo is either from the lower entrance or working your way down after taking a bus or the Sky Safari to the top. We chose the second option as we desired to get a bird's eye view of the zoo and felt walking downhill would be easier. Unfortunately, the cable cars used for the Sky Safari were under maintenance during our trip there, so we had to take the bus instead. The panoramic views of Sydney Harbour when you walk around a corner were a constant reminder that we were in Sydney.
One of the notable exhibits at the zoo was the reptile collection. It featured a large variety of reptiles such as Komodo Dragons, Iguanas and snakes. All of them were quite visible, making it easy to take good pictures of them. They also had an exhibit which detailed a breeding project for the Corroboree Frog, a frog native to Australia that is noted to be endangered.
The zoo also had the usual zoo animals, among them being elephants, giraffes and lions. There were also more unusual animals such as tapirs and the Barbary Sheep. We were able to see most of them but not some of the ones we desired to see, notably the tigers and tapirs. I think it was because they were hiding in the shade to escape from the hot weather.
There were also various shows and talks that showcase the various animals. A bit of forward planning is essential as the more popular shows fill up quickly several minutes before the show starts. We found that out firsthand while queueing up for the Seal Show. This was one of the highlights of our trip. The presenters were all very personable and obviously had good relationship with the seals. All the seals presented a happy and cheeky nature, drawing laughter from the spectators.
You probably need two visits to be able to view all the animals and enjoy the shows at a leisurely pace. We skipped the Australian animals section because we didn't want to miss the ferry back to Darling Harbour.