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  • Writer's pictureTania Wee

[Review] Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo - What sleeping Amongst Australia's native animals is like

Move aside, quokkas.

I have found my new favourite animal in Australia and it’s called the echidna. Never mind the fact I almost stepped on one while on the Sanctuary tour at the Wildlife Retreat Taronga Zoo.

It was a thrill watching the two rescued echidnas scurrying across the Sanctuary from the N’Gurra lounge balcony after we had checked in at the Wildlife Retreat. Our Animal View room faced the aviary section of the Taronga Zoo and in the morning, we were greeted by the chirps and songs of the colourful birds roused for their breakfast feeding. Guests can also opt for rooms facing the Sanctuary and might be able to glimpse the resident koalas right outside their windows.

Staying at the Wildlife Retreat allowed us unlimited entry into Taronga Zoo on the arrival day or check out day. That way, we could explore the zoo, return to the retreat for our complimentary Sanctuary tour or to rest in the room and resume the zoo adventure later on or before we checked out. We stored our luggage at the lobby making it super convenient for us.

The resort is designed around its Sanctuary, allowing guests a chance to get up close and personal with some of its rescues and resident animals on a guided afternoon tour. The animals were free roaming which resulted in me almost backtracking into a curious echidna who wanted to sniff my boots. Fortunately for me, it was a mild-mannered creature with spikes similar to a hedgehog but with larger feet armed with claws. We were informed that it was one of the four mammals that laid eggs in Australia.

We also got to meet the resident bettongs, pademelons and wallabies amidst the well-designed habitat nestled amongst the lodges and walkways. Taronga Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world that are non-profit and focuses on conservation and education. In fact, every stay at the Wildlife Retreat supports their conservation programs in Australia and globally.

Dinner was spent at the award-winning Me-Gal Restaurant. Reservations are highly recommended upon check-in especially if you want the tables with a view of the Opera House and the city skyline at night. Guests have the option of two course or three course meals.

After ordering our two course meals, the waiter brought us warm bread and salted butter to kick things off. This was quickly followed by our starters, the Sydney Rock Oysters, half dozen locally sourced oysters which were satisfyingly refreshing and the slow Cooked Beef Cheek with sweet potato puree, watercress salad and walnuts.

Keeping to our surf and turf theme, our mains were wild Caught Barramundi and the Grilled NSW Beef Tenderloin. The freshness was evident in the ingredients, all locally sourced by the restaurant on a seasonal basis. The beef could have used some extra seasoning to enhance the richness of the meat but then again that could just be the Asian in me who likes her flavours strong. Personally the seafood truly shone that evening.

For those travelling with kids, the restaurant was also armed with a kid's menu and high kid chairs.

Our breakfast was also at Me-Gal and was served buffet style. While minimal in offering, the quality of the food was great especially the sausages and salad. They also had a pastry island with bread, croissant and puff pastry. Here's where I shall impart something I learnt - warm up the croissant in their moving toaster oven, slater it with nutella or butter while warm and be rewarded with the best breakfast treat ever. Then come back to this article and thank me later.

Check out was a reluctant process and we stalled leaving our room right up to the last minute to enjoy the room amenities. Our king size bed was very comfortable and for those with many electronics to charge, the room has an abundance of plug points and USB points.

At the 10am check out, we left our luggage at the reception for safekeeping before we made a beeline for the zoo again to spend the rest of the morning there. As we were early and the weekend crowd had yet to arrive, we could explore the place in relative ease.

Perks of staying right next door to the zoo, am I right?

A stay over at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga includes:

  • a 2-day entry into the Zoo,

  • complimentary car parking,

  • buffet breakfast at Me-Gal,

  • a guided tour of The Sanctuary,

  • Free luggage storage before check in and after check out.

Want to stay at Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat? Then get in touch with Sedunia Travel to make this experience happen!

Contact 03-21484566 or email

Browse for more Sydney and New South Wales packages here. Packages are customisable, can be extended and are completely ready to go based on YOUR travel dates.

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