Best Zoos in Australia

Australia is a natural wonderland brimming with lush flora and captivating fauna. So it's no wonder the country is home to some of the best national parks, bushlands and zoos on earth. No matter where you're travelling for your Aussie vacation, there's a pleasant habitat nearby where you can meet the regional wildlife as well as animals from all over the world. During your travels, be sure to stop by one of these top zoos:

  1. Australia Zoo

    Visit Steve Irwin & family's beautiful zoo.

    The country's namesake zoo is located in the Queensland town of Beerwah. It sits on more than 40 hectares of land on the Sunshine Coast. It was originally established in the 1970s as a 1-hectare wildlife park, where "The Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin would help his parents care for the animals. This park continued to grow and, in the 1990s, Irwin and his family took over and renamed it the Australia Zoo. Since the wildlife expert's death, his wife, Terri, has continued to run the zoo.

    This zoo is a playground for mammals, birds and reptiles. Camels, red pandas, zebras and otters are among the friendly creatures you'll encounter, but you can also get a peek at venomous snakes, Tasmanian devils, crocodiles and other more menacing wildlife. Along with animals, you'll find a stunning display of flora native to the region. Explore the grounds to see cabbage tree palms, paperbark trees and staghorn ferns, not to mention international species such as the African golden cane palm and Asian hibiscus.

  2. Taronga Zoo

    Located along the Sydney harbour waterfront in Mosman.

    This wildlife garden contains one of the best collections of Australian animals in the country as well as a variety of exotic creatures. Start your tour at the main hilltop entrance and take a pleasant downhill stroll along one of the winding paths. You'll come across thousands of critters and beasts, from wallabies to chimpanzees to Asian elephants. Don't miss out on the renowned "Great Southern Oceans" exhibit, a 1.2-hectare site that houses sea lions and fur seals from California, New Zealand and Australia as well as pelicans, penguins and leopard seals. Once you reach the end of your chosen path at the bottom of the hill, hop on the Zoo Sky Safari chair lift, which will take you back to the top where you can select a different path to explore.

  3. Melbourne Zoo

    Featuring over 250 different species

    Melbourne Zoo is situated just a few minutes drive from the centre of the city, and it's home to more than 250 different species. As you walk the grounds, you'll find yourself in the midst of African and Asian rainforests. Monkeys swing from tree to tree overhead while tigers lay and prowl on the forest floor. Many of the habitats are dedicated to animals native to Victoria, including fur seals and the iconic Little Penguin. Don't miss out on the elevated orangutan exhibit or the award-winning "Trail of the Elephants." Additionally, visitors can take part in some of the fun activities and special events that the zoo hosts, like zookeeper discussions, conservation programmes and after-dark tours.

  4. Adelaide Zoo

    See more than 1,800 native species

    Entering this 8-hectare landscape is like walking into a jungle in the middle of Adelaide - the lush greenery contains more than 1,800 species native to the area and from exotic locales. Sign up for a guided tour that gives you up-close and behind-the-scenes experiences, or just explore the site yourself. Stroll past African lions, alligators, flamingos and other beautiful specimens of nature, and keep your eye open for Funi and Wang Wang, the zoo's beloved giant pandas. Several open-air habitats give birds, monkeys and reptiles exciting places to frolic, and many of them are as old as the zoo itself, which dates back to the late 19th century.

    Visitors are welcome to stop by the Westpac Envirodome, which hosts interactive exhibits that teach you about conservation and the importance of nature. It also offers charming places to sit down for a drink or bite to eat.

  5. Healesville Sanctuary

    The most unique wildlife zoo experience

    Situated in Yarra Valley, the Healesville Sanctuary is one of the lesser-known wildlife habitats but well worth the visit. It spans 30 hectares of dense bushland and contains some of the most unique wildlife found in Australia. Along with the more common platypus, dingoes, wombats and kangaroos, you may see the barking owl, black-headed python and Eastern bearded dragon. The sanctuary is known for its "Spirits of the Sky" exhibit, which features the wedge-tailed eagle and other native raptors flying free in the sky. You may also want to check out the "Fearsome to Awesome" presentation - a display of the most deadly snakes in the country. But one of the highlights of the Healesville Sanctuary is that its focus is not on displaying animals for the public's entertainment, but rather for preserving wildlife. In fact, it's home to the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, which treats more than 2,000 sick or injured creates every year.

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