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The Ultimate Taronga Zoo Itinerary: A Great Sydney Day Trip by Water Taxi

Learn about how to take a day trip to Taronga Zoo in Sydney by water taxi and what to expect to see once you arrive. This post features plenty of Taronga Zoo images to capture your imagination and inspire a visit.
Taronga Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sydney. What's the best way to visit?

Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo is a 15 minute drive. If you don't have a car, you could consider taking public transportation, however, you're looking at a 40-60 minute ride often times requiring a transfer. 

We opted to visit Taronga Zoo by water taxi as a fast and efficient way to travel. Read on to find out more about our Sydney day trip to Taronga Zoo and our water taxi experience.

Water taxi on Sydney harbour

How Much Does a Water Taxi from Sydney's Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo Cost?

Sydney Opera House viewed from a water taxi
Taking a water taxi from Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo is definitely a splurge but not as much of a splurge as you might think. 

We paid $69 AUD per person for the round trip with Fantasea Yellow Water Taxis which included the entrance fee to the zoo and a ride on the Sky Safari Cable Car from the harbour to the zoo entrance. 

Considering that if you buy a ticket to Taronga Zoo on the day of at the park, it costs $47 AUD, $69 AUD is a pretty good deal.

Photo Ops on the Water Taxi Ride from Sydney to Taronga

Sydney Opera House viewed from a water taxi

While a water taxi from Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo may be more expensive than a train or bus, you get the added benefit of some great photo opportunities. We paused for pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and for some close-ups of the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House viewed from a water taxi

Pictures of Taronga Zoo Birds

Taronga zoo images: yellow and black bird

Upon arrival at Taronga Zoo, we wandered through the exhibits. A jungle-like enclosure held colorful Australian birds. 

I could have spent hours trying to spot different exotic avian species. It helps that the Taronga Zoo staff feed the birds throughout the day and the feeding area is like a magnet to them.
Sydney's Taronga Zoo images: green and purple bird
 We walked among Australian emus with no barrier between us and them.
Taronga zoo pictures: an emu

On the other hand, the Southern Cassowary, one of the 72 Most Dangerous Animals in Australia, eyed us from behind a protective fence.
Taronga zoo photos: Southern Cassowary

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Visiting Sydney and want to take a walk and commune with nature? Don't miss Sydney's Centennial Park where you'll find plenty of birds, bats, and wide open spaces within the city limits.

Taronga Zoo Animal Images

Taronga zoo images: silverback gorillas
We enjoyed checking out animals from around the world at Taronga Zoo. An exhibit of mountain gorillas reminded us of our mountain gorilla tracking experience in Uganda and how lucky we were to see these gentle giants in the wild. 

Stunning Views from Taronga Zoo in Sydney

Taronga zoo images: Sydney harbour views
Taronga Zoo also features stunning views over Sydney Harbour. Watch the ferries and sailboats ply the water. It's so tranquil and idyllic to watch from above.

Australian Flora and Fauna at Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo pictures: kangaroo laying down
Of course, we saw plenty of native Australian animals and plants at Taronga Zoo. Kangaroos chilled in the early Autumn heat. 

We even got to see a platypus swimming in a dark exhibit reminding me of that time we were lucky enough to spot a platypus in the wild in Tasmania.
Taronga Zoo images: platypus gif
Giant ferns seemed ready to uncoil at any moment.
A giant fern at Sydney's Taronga Zoo
We also spotted some wild visitors to Taronga Zoo. Some pretty scary-looking spiders had woven webs in the fences of the various exhibits. Watch out!
Spider and web at Sydney's Taronga Zoo

Is the Koala Encounter at Taronga Zoo Worth It?

Taronga zoo animals: koala encounter
At Taronga Zoo, you have the option of having a koala encounter for an additional $24.95 AUD at the time of writing. Groups of up to four are led by Taronga's zookeepers where you can pose for pictures with a cuddly Australian koala for about five minutes. 

Don't get tempted to actually cuddle the koalas though. Visitors are not allowed to touch/hold koalas at zoos and wildlife parks in New South Wales. 

While the encounter will get you the closest to Taronga Zoo's koalas, you can still see and get photos of the koalas without paying the extra fee. Given the limited amount of time that you get to spend with the koalas, $25 AUD is a pretty steep price. 
Taronga Zoo animals: Koala in a tree

Farmyard Creatures With an Elvis Haircut at Taronga Zoo

Chickens at Taronga Zoo in Sydney
Some other animal encounters in Taronga Zoo are free. We were surprised to find what was essentially a farmyard animal exhibit. 

Even the chickens in Australia are exotic. The birds had what seemed like an Elvis haircut! Definitely a fun alternative side to Taronga Zoo!

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Australia is full of surprises. Looking for other city break ideas in Australia? Why not:

How Rough is the Water Taxi Ride from Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo?

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of boats. I'm always worried that the water will be rocky and that I'll feel seasick or those around me will be seasick. 

Note that the water taxis that ply Sydney Harbour are pretty small so you definitely feel the waves. The ride from Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo is less than 30 minutes though so you won't have to endure the motion for long. 

If you are prone to seasickness, bring some Dramamine or Kwell. Either that or consider taking a cruise on one of the larger ferries that traverse Sydney Harbour instead. They are much more stable in choppy seas. 

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: The Ultimate Taronga Zoo Itinerary: A Great Sydney Day Trip by Water Taxi
The Ultimate Taronga Zoo Itinerary: A Great Sydney Day Trip by Water Taxi
Learn about how to take a day trip to Taronga Zoo in Sydney by water taxi and what to expect to see once you arrive. This post features plenty of Taronga Zoo images to capture your imagination and inspire a visit.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog