I make it a point to go to a zoo in every major city that I go to, that is, if they have a zoo of note. And in Australia, none come as famous as the Australian Zoo so that was our first destination straight from the airport to kick off our Australia holiday.
The Australia Zoo is of course most famous not for its animal but for its founder – the late Steve Irwin, the famed Crocodile Hunter. The Australia Zoo is on the outskirt of Brisbane, about 1.5 hours drive away and as a testimony to the fame of Steve Irwin, the road leading to the Zoo has been named after him!
First thing we saw when we went in was this lizard lying in the open. And then we saw more and more of them. These are native Water Dragons and free roaming in the zoo. Cute little fella ain’t it.
Of course our purpose in coming to the zoo or any foreign zoo is to see any animals that we might not be able to see in the wild or anywhere else and not some common reptiles. So we were looking forward to seeing some native Australian animals like the Playtus; Tasmanian Devil and of course Australia’s famous venomous snakes. But sadly the zoo has no Playtpus and we didn’t see any Tasmanian Devil in its enclosures. We did see the Dingo though.
There were plenty of Koalas and we can even touch them at one of the exhibits.
Then there is the Wombat, another native Australia animal.
And of course the kangaroos and wallabies. They are so tame that visitors can just sit down next to them to pose for photos like this.
And of course since Steve Irwin is famed for his crocodile hunting, there were crocodiles galore. But sadly the crocodiles were all house in big neatly manicured enclosures. Good I suppose for the public to view them but not very natural looking.
The plus point about the Australia Zoo is that it is a sprawling place and the animals are kept in relatively spacious open concept enclosures (only the snakes are in glass house).
Unfortunately, there are very limited species of animals available and the landscaping in most cases is very artificial – like the Africa exhibit housing the giraffes and zebra which looks like a nice garden or the Bengal tiger’s enclosure which is a replicate of an ruined Indian Temple!
Talking about the tiger, the zoo seems to have a rather lackadaisical attitude towards safety. At the Tiger exhibit, there were 2 keepers standing nonchalantly inside it while 2 tigers walked around. Granted that the tigers were “home” grown from cubs, still these are wild animals and safety should never be taken for granted.
Likewise during the animal show, I was shocked to see the keepers stressing the crocodiles with noise to make it run/swim towards them. I thought these type of death defying antics only come from the Thais but apparently I thought wrong.
Anyway, long story short, I like the spaciousness of most of the exhibits but not the artificial setting. There are too few animals but they do have some “animal encounters” where visitors can get up close to the animals, though I don’t know how much stress it cause the animals. Generally, good for a day walk especially with children but certainly not in the league of top zoos of the world.
More photos in the gallery here: