It’s not clear whether Taronga Zoo’s Hope, Nyota, Andara, Zaraffa or Jimiyu truly appreciate the million-dollar Sydney Harbour view their long necks and lovely location affords them.
If Taronga Zoo’s resident giraffes are indifferent, though, the human guests of the zoo’s just-opened Wildlife Retreat at Taronga will make up for it.
It’s brand-new but we’re calling it: the retreat is a new Sydney must-do. For first-time visitors to the city, the zoo and the views of the harbour are almost shockingly beautiful; for old hands and even locals, the fresh perspective offered by the Wildlife Retreat – and especially The Sanctuary – makes the zoo seem like a fresh option.
See also: 9 Must-Do Sydney Harbour Experiences
The 62-room eco-retreat is made up of five lodges buildings designed and built to environmentally sustainable specifications. The rooms are spacious, light-filled and stylishly appointed – but it’s what’s outside that will most captivate guests.
Guests have two options: sparkling Sydney Harbour with the iconic Opera House and the arch of the Harbour Bridge visible in the distance; or The Sanctuary, an Australian native habitat created for guests of the retreat.
In The Sanctuary, tiny bettongs, shy pademelons, rarely-seen long-nosed potoroos, bounding tammar wallabies and snuffling echidnas make their homes, their daily activities visible from guestrooms and walkways. The Sanctuary’s four koalas sleep in the forked branches of the eucalypts that sway right outside guests’ windows.
A stay at the Wildlife Retreat includes access to the zoo – pop in and out at your leisure – three tours around different zoo habitats led by enthusiastic zookeepers and guides, dinner at the beautiful Me-Gal restaurant and a buffet breakfast the following morning.
The new retreat is only the latest way to stay at Taronga Zoo, in addition to the Roar and Snore glamping experience. It’s intended to increase awareness of environmental conservation and each stay contributes to the work of the non-profit Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
Speaking of brand-new, Taronga’s African Savannah enclosure is due for completion in December 2019. The giraffes will be moving in to the new habitat, but don’t worry: they still have harbour views.