Last updated: September 28, 2020
Sydney Zoo is Western Sydney’s newest major tourist attraction, situated in Bungarribee near Blacktown. Opened in late 2019, the modern Sydney Zoo is home to a great variety of exotic and native animals.
We recently spent a day at Sydney Zoo, and in this article we’re going to share with you our experience, the pros, the cons, and lots of insider tips.
|Address:||700 Great Western Hwy, Bungarribee, NSW 2767 (map)|
|Opening hours:||9am-5pm every day|
|Accessibility:||Wheelchairs, strollers, mobility scooters|
|Tickets:||Sydney Zoo website|
How to Get to Sydney Zoo
Sydney Zoo is conveniently located on the Great Western Highway in Bungarribee, in the heart of Western Sydney, close to Blacktown.
Travelling to Sydney Zoo by car is very easy, with direct access to the Great Western Highway, the M4 Motorway, and the M7 Motorway.
The large car park at the zoo entrance is free to use. In the unlikely event that the car park is full, you have the option to use the Park & Ride service, which involves parking at the Sydney Motorsport Park, and a shuttle bus service to the zoo.
Public transport is a bit more challenging since there is no train station nearby. However, there are bus services travelling to Sydney Zoo from Blacktown and Mount Druitt train stations.
Check the Transport NSW website to help plan your trip to Sydney Zoo using public transport.
The Sydney Zoo Experience
With a wide variety of animals from all over the planet, Sydney Zoo is genuinely an engaging place to visit for a day, suitable for the whole family.
Main Entrance and Accessibility
The entrance of the zoo is very accessible. There is ample parking in the car park, which is located right in front of the main entrance to the zoo.
You can purchase tickets at the front gate or online, giving you some extra time to take a photo with the giant koala out the front. It’s also cheaper to purchase ticket online.
One thing you will notice about this zoo is that it is pram and wheelchair friendly. Most of the zoo is fairly flat, or will have a nice wide ramp or gradual slope to avoid you having to push uphill all day.
There really is plenty of space on the pathways and in most areas around the enclosures for large families and groups.
Once you pass through the main entrance, you will be met with a large map of the zoo, marking out all the key facilities and locations of the animals.
Sydney Zoo is a comfortable size to explore for the day without getting bored, but it is also quite easy to navigate, and there are many other maps throughout the place to help direct you.
Standing in front of the first map, you will see three paths that you can choose from.
The path to the left will take you through the African and Southeast Asian animal exhibits. The centre path will take you past the Primates then onto the Aquarium. The path to the right will take you to the Australian Native animals.
It doesn’t matter too much where you start, as all three paths come together again at the Boulevard Eatery (the main eatery of Sydney Zoo). From there you can easily continue on to one of the other sections, or head straight back to the front entrance.
Overall, the park is very walkable, and there are plenty of picnic tables and rest spots around the place to relax and have a snack.
Now onto the most important part – the animals!
You won’t be disappointed with the variety of animals at Sydney Zoo. Nearly all the classic zoo animals are there, including lions, monkeys, and tigers, as well as Australian favourites like Koalas and kangaroos.
The vantage points on the large enclosures are great, allowing you to see into the exhibits from any angle.
One of the best spots is a winding bridge in the African animal area that will take you straight over the top of three exhibits at once. On one side of the bridge, you can look down and see the zebras, ostriches, and a giraffe happily co-existing.
On the other side, you can check out their natural predators, the hyenas stalking around their enclosure, or the lions lazing around in the sun on Pride Rock.
The Australian animal exhibits are fun as well, as there are some areas with low fences to allow you to get up close with some of the friendlier animals, or take a great photo.
They allow animals like the emus and wallabies to roam around as they please, which is enjoyable for kids and quite interactive.
The aquarium and reptile houses may not be as expansive as some other zoos, but they are well laid out and the creatures they have selected are active and engaging.
The Reptile and Nocturnal animal exhibits are large and well lit, making it easy to spot the animals, from the Inland Taipan (the world’s most venomous snake) to the cute, bouncy Bilby.
If you are keen to get more hands-on with the animals, you can sign up for one of the Sydney Zoo Encounters.
You can choose from feeding one of your favourite animals, or if you are between the ages of 7-13, you can go behind the scenes and work as a “mini-zookeeper” for a day.
Information About the Animals
A nice point of difference about this zoo is that they give you some interesting snippets of information on each animal, without bombarding you with information.
On each exhibit there is a small sign with some key facts about the animal, the location of their natural habitat, and a sliding scale as a guide on their status in the wild, ranging from well protected to highly endangered.
This helps to ensure that everyone in the family will take home some new piece of knowledge about the animals, and the importance of animal conservation.
Lack of Shade
Some small downsides to the zoo would be the highly visible fencing in some areas, and the lack of trees and vegetation.
Whilst there are plenty of huts and shelters over the picnic areas and rest spots, the rest of the zoo is quite exposed to the sun and the elements.
Some additional trees could help to provide some extra protection from the weather, as well as add to the general ambiance of feeling like you are in the wild with the animals.
Also, on one side of the zoo, the noise from the racetracks nearby can be a little distracting too, but the animals don’t seem to mind too much.
Eating in the Zoo
If you start to feel a little hungry, there are three eating places within convenient walking distance of most of the exhibits.
As mentioned before, the Boulevard Eatery is the main food outlet, with a sheltered courtyard right next to a small meerkats exhibit to keep everyone entertained.
You can also grab a bite at the Tiger Pool Cafe or the Lion Deck Cafe if you want to lock eyes with a big cat as you eat. There is plenty of seating at all of these locations.
The food options include both typical fast food like burgers and chips, but also healthier choices like salads and sandwiches at fair prices for a zoo. The coffee isn’t half bad either.
If you prefer, you can also bring some of your own food into the zoo, and eat at any of the many picnic tables around the park. There are free water refilling stations available too.
Sydney Zoo really is a fantastic day out for young and old. It’s a modern, well designed park, with lots of vantage points where everyone can have a good look at all the different animals.
The zoo is also the right size, which means it’s not too big and certainly not too small. The park does need more large trees, to not only provide more shade, but also to create a more natural atmosphere.
Overall, we give Sydney Zoo a big thumbs up. So go ahead and purchase your tickets online (cheaper than at the gate), and enjoy a great day out in Western Sydney.