Zoos and wildlife in NSW

You can get close to wildlife and experience extraordinary animal encounters at zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across NSW. Come face to face with rare native animals, take a safari with exotic creatures and learn about the important conservation work that’s being done. 



Wildlife parks in regional NSW 

The whole family will love visiting Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a sprawling open-range zoo in Dubbo that is home to over 4,000 animals from 350 species. There are native animals like koalas, kangaroos and wombats, as well as exotic species from all over the world. Animals are separated by moats, rather than fences, so you'll feel as if you are right in their habitat.

Zoofari Lodge, Taronga Western Plains Zoo - Dubbo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo - Credit: Rick Stevens | Western Plains Zoo

Take a truck tour through the Lion Pride Lands and see African big cats up close. Walk through the immersive Wild Herds exhibit, hand feed a giraffe or let a curious meerkat crawl onto your lap. You can walk, drive or ride a bicycle through the zoo, and even spend the night among the animals at the self-contained Savannah Cabins. There’s also the Zoofari Lodge and Billabong Camp, where you can observe nocturnal activities in the friendly native wildlife section. 

Zoofari - Taronga Western Plains Zoo - Dubbo

Zoofari Lodge at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo - Credit: John Patrick Photography

You can go behind the scenes and see rare white lions, rhinos and other exotic animals as well as native kangaroos and goannas at Altina Wildlife Park. The park is near the Murrumbidgee River, a popular spot for fishing and canoeing. Also in the Riverina, the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens encompass a mini zoo, free flight aviary, children's adventure playground and rainforest section. 

Wildlife parks on the South Coast 

Symbio Wildlife Park, located just south of Sydney, is where you’ll meet meerkats, lemurs, tigers and cheetahs. You can spot Australian animals such as wombats and echidnas, hand-feed kangaroos and take a selfie with a koala at the sanctuary near Stanwell Park, a popular hang-gliding spot on Grand Pacific Drive.   

Interactive animal experiences at Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh

Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh

At Shoalhaven Zoo in Nowra, listen for a cacophony of calls from lions and monkeys and watch out for Australian natives like koalas, cockatoos, kookaburras and crocodiles, too. Birdland Animal Park in Batemans Bay offers an intimate, hands on experience with wandering peacocks and regular wombat pats. Mogo Wildlife Park has a world-class breeding program for endangered animals and you can meet the incredible gorillas, rhinos, lemurs, Sumatran tigers, white lions, cheetahs and more who are helping to save their species.

Wildlife parks on the North Coast 

Watch Elvis the five-metre saltwater crocodile being feed on weekends at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast, then see spiders, snakes, platypus and even a giant Galapagos tortoise and Komodo dragon up close. Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is a short drive west. It's the largest working wildlife sanctuary in the country and you can walk among free ranging emus, kangaroos, possums, reptiles and more. A one-hour drive north, attend a daily show, watch monkeys being fed, touch a reptile, meet a meerkat and more at the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park.

Further north in Port Stephens, cuddle a wombat or feed a kangaroo at Oakvale Wildlife Park. At the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary you can see these furry friends in their natural habitat, walking through the trees on an elevated platform, and look through the large viewing window of the Koala Hospital to see sick and orphaned koalas being rehabilitated. Then spend the night at one of the stylish glamping tents.

In Port Macquarie, the Koala Hospital is the world's first hospital dedicated solely to the care and conservation of koalas. Visit the exhibit enclosures, treatment clinic, intensive care units, rehabilitation yards (many of which have trees for koalas to learn to climb as part of the rehabilitation process) and Koalaseum. Also in town is the award-winning Billabong Zoo, where visitors can pat, stroke, feed, hold, hear and see over 80 species of mammals, reptiles and birds. 

Further north on the Coffs Coast, drop into the Butterfly House, a unique experience in which you can stroll among hundreds of Australian butterflies in an indoor subtropical rainforest setting. Learn about Australian animals at Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, a bio-park formerly known as Macadamia Castle. The sprawling park is home to more than 150 animals and you can meet the cute sugar gliders Sebastian and Samson, wise Socrates the barn owl, and plenty more creatures and critters. 

Aquariums & marine encounters 

Incredible experiences like patting sharks and swimming with stingrays await on your animal odyssey at the Shark, Ray & All Creatures Rescue Centre in Port Stephens. There are 190 sharks and rays in residence here, including a three-metre tawny nurse shark and a giant smooth ray. 

In Coffs Harbour, swim with dolphins and sea lions, feed the penguins, and get a kiss from a seal at the Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary. The exclusive Trainer for a Day experience will take you behind the scenes of the park, learning about animal care, feeding, training, rehabilitation and much more.

More aquatic adventures await at Solitary Islands Aquarium in Coffs Harbour, Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre in Terrigal and Merimbula Aquarium in Merimbula. 

Zoos & wildlife experiences in NSW