CRIKEY ITS AUSTRALIA ZOO!!
Australia Zoo was first opened by the parents og the famous Steve Irwin in 1970 (Bob and Lyn Irwin). From an early age Steve helped manage crocodiles, reptiles and looked after animals calling the zoo his home. In 1992 Steve and his wife Terri took over management of the zoo. They believe in “conservation through exciting education.” The message throughout the park draws on the importance of conserving our precious wildlife and their natural habitats.
****Getting to the Zoo****
Admission into the zoo for a Family 5 Ticket (2 adult and 3 children)$160.50, for a Family 4 Ticket (2 adult and 2 children) $146.00, Single Adult Ticket $49.00, a Pensioner Ticket $39.00, a Student Ticket $39.00, Child Ticket: $29.00 (Child is 3-14 years) and children under 3 is free.
You can get to the zoo by train and you get off at Beerwah Rail Station it costs approximately $19 adult and $9.60 child return. You will be picked up by a free shuttle bus which will bring you to the zoo. This is what I did, I got the train from Brisbane and found that it was really easy and it’s the cheaper option and we could spend as much time as we wanted there.
You can also book tours from Brisbane. Australian Day tours offers tours departing from the Gold Coast and Brisbane costing $97adult and $59 child. You arrive at the zoo at 10.30am and depart at 4.15pm.Another tour you can take is CC’s Croc Connections departing from the Gold Coast or Brisbane costing $90 adult and $55 child. It arrives at 10.15am and departs at 4.10pm. I feel that both these tours would give you enough time in the zoo so that you can see everything. These tours include the admission price into the zoo.
The exchange rate at time of publishing my review is (1 Australian Dollar = 0.429902 United Kingdom Pounds). Hopefully that will help converting back to pounds, as the exchange rate is constantly changing you are best to check the exchange rate.
****The Zoo Itself – Animals****
When we first entered the zoo there is a statue of the Irwin family. Plus all over the zoo there are pictures of Steve and his family. There is an area dedicated to the memory of Steve which has messages from all over the world. There is also photo’s of the family and Steve’s expeditions. On the way out there was a video playing of Steve rescuing a crocodile. We arrived a few days after the official Steve Irwin day where there was the first special day planned in memory of Steve for the public. There was an area with lots of flowers, paintings, khaki shirts and messages left on stands in memory of Steve.
The zoo has various different animals and reptiles. There are birds of prey and a rainforest aviary you can walk through plus kookaburras which you can see very close up. Koala’s have their own area which you can touch and pat them if you want. There is American alligators, saltwater and freshwater crocodiles which all have very spacious enclosures to themselves in most cases. They just seem to sit in the same spot all day. There is Australian native turtles swimming about in the aldabran tortoise enclosure, which are slowly walking around eating grass when we seen them. In the reptile section there is iguanas, water dragons, mertens water monitors, komodo dragons and beared dragons which sometimes can be hard to spot so take a minute to see them, they are all in there! The otters are fast playful animals and you could watch them for hours playing in the water. The kangaroos have there very own section in which you have to make sure you close the doors behind you so they can’t escape. In this area you can feed the kangaroos which will come straight up to you without any encouragement they are very friendly! There is wallabies as well as red kangaroos. Other animals are wombats, emus, tasmanian devils (these are extremely hard to see we eventually found one sleeping), dingos, foxes, echidnas and camels. There is a kids zone which has cute farm animals and what I was surprised about was how clean they were. In this section there is pigs, cows and goats in which you can touch if you want. The Tiger Temple is where Bengal cubs are on display during the day they had two trainers in playing with them. I loved watching them play around. In Elphantasia there are three elephants which we seen getting their feet cleaned and getting washed. It was so comical watching the elephant lift his feet without having to be told to have them cleaned.
Magic Photos are where you can have your photo taken with Steve, Terri or Bindi Irwin in the background with lots of animal combinations to choose from such as tigers, elephants, cheetahs and more.
Wandering wildlife photos can be taken throughout the zoo by their photographers for example feeding the elephants. You then can purchase them if you wish.
Wildlife Studio Photos can be taken however you will have to queue up at the designated times to get your photo taken with a koala, snake or alligator. Its an opportunity where you can get up close with the animals. I got to hold a koala and my photograph was taken. It cost me $15 for my photo, plus you were able to take your own photos which I thought was nice because quite often you are not allowed to do this. The queue was about 20 minutes wait which I feel was worth while as it took me this time to get the courage up to hold the koala anyway lol! They constantly changed the koala as they get restless after a while, which I thought was good. You can get your photo with a koala at 10.00am, 10.30am, 2.30pm and 3pm. With a slinky snake you can get your photo taken at 12pm or 1pm. With a alligator (which was a tiny one which you can hold in your hand) the photo’s were taken at 1.30pm.
Beautiful Bird Photos where you can get your photo taken with a wedge-tailed eagle (1pm) and beautiful birds (2.45pm)
There was loads of shows and demonstrations throughout the day to keep you entertained. Here are the shows:
They have feeding times for otters, tortoises and elephants. They will give you information about these animals during these shows, its very educational.
Feral Camels and Foxes – in this show you will learn about managing introduced species.
Koalas – you will get the chance to pat a koala and sometimes hear their call. This was very crowded when we arrived, so get there early.
Birds of Prey – you can marvel at the majestic birds of prey and learn things about them.
The Tigers are on display in the Tiger Temple all day and will be playing around with zoo staff.
Cheetahs walk along Steve’s Safari Shuttle tract at various times. I never seem them but your advised you to check with staff for times.
The most famous show of all “Wildlife Warriors 101 Live” During this show you see snakes, birds and crocs. It is in the world famous Animal Planet Crocoseum. They bring snakes out for you to see in the water and on the land. They will give you information on what to do if you get bitten by one and other useful facts about snakes. Then the birds will be taken out and will fly around so you can get a close look at them. The elephants will make an appearance. Then what makes this show famous is the feeding of the crocs. They bring out a crocodile and feed him on the land and in the water. Personally I didn’t think this show was as good as I expected, the man feeding the croc seemed very scared, however I think I would have been in his situation too! However as you see the show on TV you half expected to see Steve (the original crocodile hunter) to do the show and he was great at doing this show! No-one really could match him feeding the crocs I don’t think. During the show there were a lot of facts and a strong conservation message throughout. It also involved the audience throughout.
****Hands on Animal Encounters****
You can get up close and personal with a tortoise, echidna, iguanas, possum, wombats and dingos. You have to pay extra for this privilege. Age restrictions supply and you have to book at least an hour before the experience. Each animal has a specific time you can see them at.
You can get a guided tour by one of the experienced zoo guides starting (9.30am and 1.30pm) or you can go behind the scenes of the Australian Wildlife Hospital (2pm).
We did not do any of these encounters as we felt seen the animals in their enclosures was close enough.
You are allowed to bring your own food into the zoo. However the zoo has three eating venues serving fresh hot and cold food including burgers, Italian and chinese, sandwiches, salads and deserts. They have ice-cream and drink outlets located throughout the zoo.
There is sovenier shops where you can buy official Steve Irwin products. There is everything from pens, postcards to cuddly animals and rubber snakes. They also sell Khaki shirts with Australia Zoo embroidered onto them. They sell Bindi’s (Steve’s daughter) clothing line and video tape as well.
There is a Steve safari shuttle which will take you from the entrance to the other end of the park. We did not use it as the walk was not that long and we could easily walk the distance.
Water fountains are located throughout the zoo as well as toilets. There are designated smoking areas available.
You are advised to not feed the animals food that has not been purchased specifically for them at the kids zoo, on the Steve safari shuttle or the dingo diner as it will make the animals sick.
There is first aid available however you are told that first aid comes to you and to contact a member of staff and stay in the location of the sick or injured person until first aid arrives.
You are also asked not to drop litter just incase it gets into the animal enclosures and causes the animals harm.
Overall I think this zoo is great all the animals look very happy and have enough space to wander about. A lot of zoo’s I have been to the animals look distressed and this just wasn’t the case here. It was nice to see the crocodiles up close and learn new things about them. You are given interesting information about all the animals and each enclosure is marked with a comment to tell you about them, sometimes giving facts about the species. The zoo gives you the overall feel that Crocs Rule!