Zoos, wildlife, and farmstays in NSW
Swim with turtles on Lord Howe Island, get to know spiders a little better at the Australian Reptile Park or enjoy an up-close look at dolphins and whales across the State. There’s no shortage of creature features in NSW to tick off the bucket list.
Wildlife adventures for families
For a truly wild night, stay at the self-contained Savannah Cabins at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, and check out what happens in the zoo after dark. That’s one of three overnight options at the zoo; also try Billabong Camp and Zoofari Lodge, in essence a private African safari experience relocated to Central NSW.
At Altina Wildlife Park, south of Griffith, all sorts of animals roam the grounds. Don’t miss the four white lion cubs, born last November, or the too-cute twin marmoset monkeys. Mogo Zoo, near Batemans Bay, specialises in looking after endangered species, such as lowland gorillas, tigers, lemurs, snow leopards and red pandas, as well as a pair of newly arrived rhino.
If spiders and snakes are your cup of tea, head to the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby, where you’ll find scaly critters galore, from alligators to lizards. Reptiles may reign supreme but you’ll meet a lot of other species, too: spiders, owls and cassowaries, kangaroos, possums and wallabies. And no one leaves without saying hello to Elvis, the “crankiest crocodile”, or Hugo, the giant Galapagos tortoise.
Like to dance with the devil? Tours of Devil Ark in the Barrington Tops, which is committed to preserving the endangered Tasmanian Devil, are available from now until May.
There’s a new koala breeding and education centre at Port Stephens’ Oakvale Farm & Fauna World. As well as the inhabitants of ‘Koala Country’, there are plenty of other animals to see, pat, feed and milk.
Fall in love with fur seals and little penguins at Montague Island Nature Reserve, 9km off Narooma. Peregrine falcons, crested terns and silver gulls patrol the skies and, if your timing is right, you’ll see migrating whales journey past. There are plenty of whale- and dolphin-spotting cruises operating out of Newcastle, Nelson Bay, Huskisson and Port Stephens.
Farmstays in NSW
Farmstays are a great way for city kids to get to know animals. Between Armidale and Uralla, Wayward Jerseys Farmstay offers a hands-on experience with goats, sheep, chickens, cattle and kangaroos. Also worth a mention is North Farm near Bellingen, where goat milking, egg collecting and cheesemaking are part of the deal.
At Shear Outback, home of the Australian Shearers’ Hall of Fame in the Riverina region, kids can meet sheepdogs and watch sheep being shorn in the Murray Downs Woolshed, in between playing in the onsite maze.
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