Discover the 4 Best Zoos in Australia (And the Ideal Time to Visit Each)

Mysterious Gray Animals - Koala
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Written by Crystal

Updated: May 22, 2023

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It’s time to plan your next wildlife experience!

Zoos are fun for the whole family, and Australia is home to some of the best exhibits. Whether you want to see koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, or something else, these zoos have it all. Follow along as we reveal a few top choices and the best times to visit. We’ll also take a sneak peek at the different types of animals at each location and let you know about special animal encounters.

What are the best zoos in Australia? Read on to find out.

1. Taronga Zoo Sydney

Taronga Zoo Sydney

Taronga Zoo, which is spread out over 69 acres, offers a range of keeper talks.

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Taronga Zoo Sydney is one of Australia’s best zoos. Here you’ll have a chance to see chimpanzees, African lions, sun bears, red kangaroos, tree kangaroos, gorillas, Asian elephants, and more.

Taronga Zoo is also famous for having a variety of animal talks and shows. Here’s a list of some of the wildlife presentations the zoo offers:

Keeper talks are the perfect opportunity to see the wildlife up close while learning about the animals from the zookeepers who take care of them. The keeper talks are usually free with zoo entry, but space fills up fast!

Plan Your Trip

Taronga Zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Get to this park early to enjoy the presentations that spark your interest.

The best season to visit the park is August to early November since it won’t be too hot or cold. Finally, make sure you bring your walking shoes. This is a big zoo that is spread out over 69 acres in Sydney in the state of New South Wales.

2. Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

At Australia Zoo visitors can enjoy interactive animal encounters and a renowned crocodile show.

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Visit the “Home of the Crocodile Hunter” when you go to the Australia Zoo. Here you’ll enjoy wild native animals and peaceful surroundings on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah in the state of Queensland. There are also a lot of interactive animal exhibits, like roo heaven.

Children can feed wallabies and kangaroos at roo heaven for a small fee. Most interactive animal encounters will have a separate fee from the zoo ticket.

Along with the encounters, there are plenty of animal shows. The entertaining shows occur throughout the day and highlight koalas, crocodiles, birds, tortoises, and more. There’s also the famous crocodile show that takes place during lunchtime!

Plan Your Trip

The Australia Zoo is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, some of the animals have a 4:30 p.m. bedtime. Since there are so many animal encounters and presentations, plan on spending at least 6 hours to get the full experience.

To avoid crowds, plan your trip during the weekdays, and try to get there early. Finally, the best time of year to visit is spring or fall. That way, you’ll be able to avoid the scorching summer heat.

3. Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo

The Melbourne Zoo is the zoo to visit if you want an up-close animal encounter.

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Experience the wildlife adventure of a lifetime at the Melbourne Zoo in Parkville in the state of Victoria. There are over 250 animal species and more than 72,000 species of plants. You can stroll through gorgeous rainforests while watching tigers, monkeys, and more.

The Melbourne Zoo is the zoo to visit if you want an up-close animal encounter. Here are some of the most popular animal encounters at the Melbourne Zoo:

  • Seal Encounters
  • Kangaroo Encounters
  • Elephant Encounters
  • Reptile Encounters
  • Giraffe Encounters.

Animal encounters have a separate fee, varying depending on the exhibit. The elephant encounter is the most expensive but is also one of the longest. The seal and kangaroo encounters last 15 minutes, but the elephant encounter lasts for a full 35 minutes.

Plan Your Trip

Melbourne Zoo opens at 9:00 a.m. every day and closes at 5:00 p.m. Weekends and public holidays are notorious for bringing in the biggest crowds. If you don’t want to deal with large crowds, plan a weekday visit, and get there early. As an added bonus, the birds at the zoo are more active in the morning.

The best time of year to visit Melbourne Zoo is March through May or September through November. Fall weather brings small crowds and lower prices for travel and stay. Springtime is also a low peak season, and the warm weather makes some animals more active. Just make sure you bring a raincoat since spring in Melbourne is bound to have a few rainy days.

4. Rockhampton Zoo

Rockhampton Zoo

Rockhampton Zoo is free to visit and has 30-plus wildlife species.

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Would you like to visit an amazing zoo that’s completely free? Then make your way down to the Rockhampton Zoo in Rockhampton in the state of Queensland. This 10-acre zoo is home to over 30 different wildlife species. Here you’ll be able to enjoy crocodiles, dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, cassowaries, meerkats, otters, and others.

Perfectly situated within the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens, the zoo has been running since 1925. This might not be one of the biggest zoos in Australia, but its free price, beautiful scenery, and exciting animals make it worth the visit.

Plan Your Trip

Rockhampton Zoo is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. daily. Plan your trip around the morning feeding times for the best wildlife viewing opportunities. The morning is also the best time to avoid heavy crowds.

If you can stand the heat, July is a wonderful time to visit. Since the zoo is nestled in a botanical garden, you’ll enjoy all the summer flowers. Just bring plenty of water and the right type of walking shoes. Finally, zoo keepers ask visitors not to wear gumboots since these can scare the animals.

Summary of 4 Best Zoos in Australia (And the Ideal Time to Visit Each)

Here’s a recap of four top zoos in Australia that we took a look at:

NumberZooLocationIdeal Time to Visit
1Taronga Zoo SydneySydney, New South WalesGet to this zoo early for presentations that spark your interest.
The best season to visit is August to early November.
2Australia ZooBeerwah, QueenslandTo avoid crowds, go early and during weekdays. The best time of year to visit is spring or fall.
3Melbourne ZooParkville, VictoriaAim for a weekday visit and get there early. The best months to visit are March through May or September through November.
4Rockhampton ZooRockhampton, QueenslandPlan your trip around the morning feeding times for the best wildlife viewing opportunities and to avoid heavy crowds.
Although hot, July is a good time to visit.


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About the Author

Crystal is a dedicated writer at A-Z Animals, focusing on topics related to mammals, insects, and travel. With over a decade of experience in the world of research and writing, she also fulfills the role of a skilled video and audio engineer. Residing in sunny Florida, alligators are Crystal's favorite animal.

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