If you've read any of my past articles, you would know I base a lot of my knowledge about the world based on the information Google provides me with.
Before I moved here, I was certain Australia had the most exotic and interesting wildlife ever. I think that perception of mine had a lot to do with watching so much of Steve Irwin on National Geographic and seeing him interact with all these amazing animals. Also, as a massive animal lover, I was extremely keen on seeing some really rare species in their natural environment. I won't lie, a part of me is always hoping to see a kangaroo jumping around Hyde Park, but that hasn't happened yet.
So one of the first things I did when I got to Aussieland was find a zoo. I was informed about Taronga Zoo, which was a ferry ride away, but quoted by some as the 'best in Sydney'. I've become sceptical about that phrase now because everytime someone says that to me nowadays, instead of the 'best', it always turns out to be very close to the worst.
I went to the Taronga Zoo on a very sunny day. It was warm and the views were breathtaking. I would say the best views of Sydney I have seen till today and I've been all over now. It's a great location to have a picnic, relax in the sun, and take the family out. I would even go as far as to say some places in the park are actually quite romantic and not bad for a first date.
However when it comes to animals Taronga Zoo wasn't for me at all. I would not go back again, mainly because the main attractions were a let-down. I say that because I kept thinking in my head this is 'Australia', they should have more animals here. I also remember clearly thinking 'well Singapore had more animals then this'. For the size of the place, the limited number of wildlife, large crowds and overpriced tickets, it just didn't work for me.
I wanted to be wowed and leave the place feeling like I had experienced something spectacular, but none of that obviously happened. I left the place with foot sores from walking too much and an empty wallet because I paid over twenty dollars for a picture with a giraffe that I hated because I had shown too much teeth.
Also the giraffe wasn't even my first choice (sorry giraffey), I wanted a photo with the koalas, but the koalas had already taken too many photos and were tired or so I was told. Which was another bummer since koalas were part of my Australian wildlife dream.
Since then, I have discovered the most amazing place in Blacktown, where animals run free and you get a very special wildlife experience without costly price tags and mobs of people. My visit there is one of my favourite memories in Sydney and if you are anything like me, with a desire to be among wildlife, you are going to love it. It's revived my perception of Australia as an animal paradise and given me a glimpse of what I was hoping to find 'down under'. But more on this special place next time. As for Taronga zoo, I say enjoy a picnic there but don't expect to be amazed.