Taronga Zoo boasts some of the best views of the Harbour anywhere in Sydney. Those breathtaking vistas coupled with after-hours access to the zoo’s cutest critters have long been the major selling points of Taronga’s overnight glamping attraction, Roar and Snore.
Now, the zoo is upping the ante with an even more luxurious getaway experience. The Wildlife Retreat is Taronga's first permanent accommodation, set to open in October. This purpose-built complex features 62 high-end, stylishly appointed suites, seamlessly built into the wooded slopes of the Australian Habitat section. Guests can look forward to a nocturnal encounter with a passing bandicoot or share a harbourside sunrise with a sleepy echidna, all from the comfort of five sustainably designed lodges, created by Cox Architecture.
There are multiple ways for guest to make the most of their stay. You can choose to get up close and personal with native animals in their natural habitat on guided tours with the zoo’s passionate keepers, or simply enjoy the surrounding bushland and its roaming fauna from your private balcony, which offer either harbour, bush, zoo or treetop outlooks.
Top-quality dining is also an integral part of the Wildlife Retreat experience, with a carefully curated menu focused on Australian cuisine at Taronga’s Me-Gal restaurant. Locally sourced and seasonally specific are the watch-words of this kitchen, overseen by award-winning Turkish-Australian executive chef Gursu Mertel.
Not unlike Roar and Snore (which costs $320 per adult), the price of a night at the Wildlife Retreat isn’t cheap, with prices for two guests for one night from $790, including two-course dinner, buffet breakfast, after-dark zoo tours, as well as complimentary general access to the entire zoo during normal opening hours. While this might sound steep, it’s not just the luxury accommodation, top-shelf food and unprecedented animal access you’re paying for. Income from the Retreat goes towards this not-for-profit wildlife organisation’s important conservation efforts, preserving Australia’s under-threat wildlife for future generations.