Last October, following a year of exploring Australia, I chose to spend the school holiday with my son on a staycation at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga. This destination offers awe-inspiring vistas of Sydney Harbour and the opportunity to encounter some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife up close, making it such a memorable experience.
Located on the grounds of Taronga Zoo, the Wildlife Retreat offers guests the opportunity to stay overnight in luxurious eco-suites nestled within the natural bushland of the zoo. From the moment we arrived, my son and I were struck by the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere of the retreat. Surrounded by lush foliage and the sounds of the bush, we felt like we were miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We chose the Classic Retreat Package, which included a cozy Bushland Room with a view of the Australian bushland, complete with kangaroos hopping right outside our window. The package also included an afternoon tour of the sanctuary, which is the native wildlife habitat that lies at the heart of the Wildlife Retreat. Lastly, it included a Buffet Breakfast and complimentary access to Taronga Zoo.
Despite the dreary weather, we started our first day exploring Taronga Zoo and got up close and personal with the majestic lions and gorillas. Interestingly, those very lions we had seen earlier made headlines when they escaped their enclosure the following month. You can read all about it here.
Later that day, we were treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuary – the natural habitat of the native wildlife. This sanctuary is home to a variety of unique Australian species such as koalas, wallabies, echidnas, and more.
And in the evening, we indulged in a delightful three-course dinner at Me-Gal restaurant, featuring sustainably sourced and locally grown produce. The food was absolutely delicious, and the ambiance was warm and welcoming with a fantastic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Fortunately, the sun made an appearance on our second day, and we started off with a scrumptious buffet breakfast at Me-Gal restaurant once again. Our day was full of highlights, including seeing the adorable koalas out and about, and even catching a glimpse of the penguins who came to say hello to us.
Whenever I visit Taronga Zoo, I make sure to spend time exploring the Rainforest Aviary – it’s one of my top picks. This aviary is home to an array of fascinating species, including King Parrots, Superb Fruit Doves, Eastern Whipbirds, and the gregarious Victorian Crowned Pigeon, affectionately known as ‘Patrick.’
Our stay at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga was an unforgettable experience, and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and immersive wildlife encounter. The combination of breathtaking scenery, up-close animal encounters, and luxurious accommodations makes this retreat a must-visit destination for families.
As we start thinking about where to go for our next school holiday within Australia, feel free to comment if you have any ideas or suggestions!
Until then… sweet travels!