Cuddly koalas, cute kangaroos and amazing crocodile shows – get up close to Australia and the world’s most amazing animals in Brisbane’s famous wildlife park.
Originally opened as a local wildlife sanctuary by the parents of famed “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo has grown over the last 30 years to include animals and exhibits from all over the world as well as one of the world’s biggest wildlife hospitals. The world-famous animal lover, who was killed tragically by a stingray in 2006, grew up feeding and handling crocodiles and turned his talents into a successful worldwide television series. He invested the earnings from his hugely popular show in to turning his parents project into one of the country’s top tourist attractions.
His wife Terri now runs the zoo and, along with her children Bindi and Robert, has continued her husband’s work in expanding the amount of international species on show and financing conservation projects in Queensland. Australia Zoo now houses a huge array of wildlife from around the world but, naturally enough, it is the iconic Australian animal exhibits that really catch the eye. Among the aussie species on show are Tasmanian devils and wombats and, of course, kangaroos, which are housed in a special enclosure where visitors can pet and feed the docile marsupials. The 5,000-seat ‘Crocoseum’ is the centrepiece of the zoo, where Steve used to give crocodile demonstrations and where daily shows are held, during which trained handlers play with some of the world’s largest reptiles.
The Serengeti eco-system is replicated in the African Safari exhibit, which is the place to go to see zebras, giraffes and rhinos amble through the savannah. The Tiger Temple is another of the most popular attractions, and visitors here have the opportunity to view beautiful Bengal and Sumatran tigers swim underwater from a special viewing area.
All these exhibitions are included in the price of admission but for an extra fee you can take part in one of the handling and feeding demonstrations, or the guided tours, including the Platinum Adventure, in which you’ll get hands-on encounters with animals. The zoo is 80 kilometres north of Brisbane in Beerwah on Steve Irwin Way and is accessible by car, train and bus. Open daily except major public holidays.