There are a few tried-and-true experiences that every Sydneysider, and any visitor to Sydney, should have at least once. A selfie at Lady Macquarie’s Chair lookout and drinks at The Opera Bar are just two. And of course, a visit to the city’s beloved Taronga Zoo.
But if just looking at the animals isn’t enough for you, if you really want to get among them, you’re in luck. A new eco-lodge called Wildlife Retreat at Taronga will open on October 10, where guests can stay in stylish accommodation within a lush, open-air animal sanctuary adjoining the zoo.
Owned and operated by the not-for-profit Taronga Conversation Society, Wildlife Retreat is poised to be a very special place. Free-range koalas, platypus, echidnas and bandicoots will wander the native bushland grounds. You’ll wake to the songs of lyrebirds, or the rustling of something cute and furry outside your window. Passionate keepers will be on-hand to guide guests in up-close-and-personal animal encounters. And on top of this, all profits will be reinvested back into the zoo, which has a mission to achieve a shared future for wildlife and people – so you can feel good that your extraordinary experience with Australian animals is also helping to preserve them and their environment.
Designed by the award-winning firm, Cox Architecture, the 62 rooms and suites that make up the Wildlife Retreat were created with sustainability in mind – as well as making the most of the location’s incredible views across Sydney Harbour. The on-site restaurant, Me-Gal, boasts a scenic outlook of the Sydney skyline and food with a focus on native Australian ingredients.
Wildlife Retreat will accommodate all Australian animal lovers, whether they come in couples, as families, from far-flung parts of the globe, or from just down the road. “For a zoo to remain relevant, it must constantly evolve,” says Cameron Kerr, CEO of Taronga Zoo. “Through the Wildlife Retreat, we will foster genuine connections between people and Australia’s fascinating wildlife, and inspire them to care as passionately as we do about our most precious residents. Guests will leave not only rejuvenated, but also with the knowledge that their stay has made a meaningful difference to wildlife and its conservation.”
Prices start at $790 per night for two adults, which includes immersive and exclusive wildlife experiences, a two-course dinner, buffet breakfast and complimentary general admission to Taronga Zoo.