Sydney: Encounters with Koalas at Wildlife Sydney

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 2 Afternoon to Evening Itinerary :

  • Wildlife Sydney Zoo –>>
  • Sydney Tower Eye

Getting There

After lunch at the Sydney Fish Market, we took a long walk the same way back to the National Maritime Museum. From there, we crossed the Pyrmont Bridge. It was a nice walk on the bridge with the blue sky and colourful banners. 

Right across were three tourists attractions, one of them being the Wildlife Sydney Zoo.

Wildlife Sydney Zoo 

Our focus for this trip would be to visit animals native to Australia, mainly to see Koalas which we would not be able to find elsewhere. It would be nice to visit a wildlife park but it was located out of Sydney City and difficult to fit into our itinerary. Hence, we decided to visit this small zoo enclosure to get a sample of these native animals.

We were running late due to some delays and reached the Zoo at almost 4pm.

As the Zoo would be closing at 5pm, we had only an hour to explore. The staff informed us it would be quite enough though.

Tickets Info

Before we arrived in Sydney, we had already purchased the tickets online. To enter, we showed the staff our printed tickets. There’s a discount for online purchase and we could purchase combo tickets to up to 5 attractions. We wanted to go to the Sydney Tower Eye too so this was what we got:

  • 2 Attraction Combo Passes – Wildlife Sydney Zoo + Sydney Tower Eye
  • Adults: AUD $54 each
  • Child: AUD $31.50 each (Age 4-15 yrs)
  • More information on Wildlife Sydney Zoo Website

Entering 

We walked through quickly and discovered a long passageway before we could actually enter the zoo. In excitement, we wondered what lies behind the door?

#Boa Constrictor

The first thing we saw was a 5-feet python and Dar got excited looking at it. He kept asking, “Where’s the head?”

It’s strange to say this but we often enjoy looking at reptiles when we go to the zoo. Presented with these displays of many snakes, we actually had a fun time searching for the ‘heads’. It was not easy as they blended in with the trunks they had coiled around.

Displays 

We love the colourful information painted on the walls all around us with facts and interesting tidbits about each animals in the enclosure. The level of the language used was easy and simple to understand for a preschooler like Dar. As we walked, we pointed them out to Dar and told him to read it so he could learn. This was quite different from what we were used to in a zoo, where the displays are often small, having words that are of small font and difficult to read. I didn’t need to carry him up to read tiny panels because he can read for himself at his level.

The Animals 

#Tasmanian Devil

Next, we saw some native animals of Australia such as interesting looking birds and the Tasmanian Devil. It was looking at us out of its cubby hole, looking so cute!

# Koala behind the Glass

As we walked into the next section, we were happy to see a Koala behind a glass wall, enjoying its meal of eucalypt leaves. Of course, we snapped several pictures.

# Kangaroo.

4pm was the Keeper’s talk and we rushed to the Kangaroo’s enclosure to look at it. It was a small place but comfortable enough since there were not too many visitors at this time. We observed a female kangaroo as she jumped about and ate some food. It was not the first time we saw Kangaroos since we had them in our local Singapore Zoo but it was interesting to observe it up close for a while. The keeper’s talk was ending as we entered so we only caught some information.

One of the kangaroo was actually hit by a car before and thus one of its limb was shorter. It was rescued and brought to this zoo, becoming a resident. ( Click the Gallery Below to see Larger Detailed Pictures)

#Greater Bilby

There was a section enclosed in darkness and we walked in to discover several nocturnal creatures. The Greater Bilby caught our attention the most and we stood there for a while observing a few of them running in the dark. They are extremely shy and cute creatures that looked like a big rat yet having long ears like a rabbit.

Encounters With Koalas 

Beside the glass walled Koala, there was a small Koala enclosure with a few eucalypts trees. It was a rush for us to go there as the Keeper’s talk would be starting soon at 4.30pm.

We were glad to be there for the Keeper’s Talk as she was a great presenter with lots of interesting information about Koalas.

  • They need to sleep a lot so as to have energy to digest their food which are Eucalypt leaves.
  • If they do not digest them completely, they would starve. They are quite anti-social so they do not enjoy cuddles. That is why the Keeper discourage hugging a Koala.
  • Their skin also produced oil to protect them from forest bush fires so if we hug them to touch them, it would strip the oil off their fur which would not be good for them.
  • Using recycled paper would help save koalas because lesser forest trees (their homes) would need to be cut down.

Encounters with Koalas

Photo- Taking With Koalas 

After her talk, the Wildlife Sydney Zoo was almost closing. We enquired about taking a picture with a Koala and were told it would cost $20 for one person and $5 for subsequent people. Thus, it would cost us three, $30 to take a picture with it. At first, we thought it might be too expensive but after discussion, we thought this might be our once in a lifetime opportunity to be so close to a Koala so we took up the package eventually. We added another $5 to get a digital version so I can place it in our Photobook.

She brought us around to the active koala we saw earlier (the photo above) and told us to take the picture one by one. Dar was the first and stood on a stool but his expression was a bit strange to me. I realised he was nervous standing so close to it and wondered when it would strike him from the back! We assured him that it’s alright and asked him to relax. His smile still look noticeably different though from his usual.

When it was my turn, I understood why he was nervous. I was nervous too and didn’t dare step close enough! I didn’t know what the koala was doing beside and behind me! What if he grabs my hair? Ha.

Photo with a Koala
Digital Version which we downloaded from a URL

We were the last three people there in the enclosure due to this and was delighted that the Keeper not only photographed us but patiently spent some time answering Dar’s questions. Dar asked, “What is the Koala eating?” She explained that there was a few variety even though they looked almost the same to us. She proceeded to pluck a few leaves for us to look at. They certainly look the same but when she crushed them to bits with her hand and gave us to sniff, we were surprised that the leaves smell differently – fresh mint or strong mint with a peculiar flavour.

# Crocodiles

They were housed just beside the kangaroos in a deep pond. None of them were above water then so we could only see a silhouette of them in the water. Since the walls were glass, we would be able to see them in water later when we exit.

Indeed, we saw a crocodile in close-up just next to the glass wall of water near the exit. It was huge and scary!

Souvenirs 

Finally, we walked to the counter to collect the photographs we had taken earlier on. We often get the entrance shoot family portrait if they are not ridiculously expensive and looked great. This time, we were impressed with the packaged booklet, slotting in our photographs with pictures and information of the native animals. It was quite funny to look at us being scared of a monstrous Tasmania Devil or pointing at a kangaroo far away. As it was nice, we were glad to part with $25 for the booklet as a memento.

Our ‘Encounters with Koala’ photographs had also been printed in amazing speed and was ready for collection in a booklet format with information about Koalas. Unfortunately, Dar’s shirt was caught in his Daddy’s hand when photographing showing some disorderliness. It didn’t turn out well as a family portrait. The individual ones were quite good though.

I had to get some souvenirs in the souvenir shop and found a kangaroo bag and key chain. Earlier on at the enclosure, we bought a mini koala soft toy holding an Australian Flag. The soft toys on sale were pretty well-made and I wanted to get a crocodile one for Dar. Yup, he’s totally not into flurry creatures. However, Dar said he prefers snakes and insisted on buying a blue snake. The snake is now his bedside partner and accompanies him to sleep. Well…I agree it is kinda cute.

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