So here you are in Oz, you’ve “done” Sydney, Melbourne awaits and you find yourself in Brisbane for a flying visit before heading to the Barrier Reef for some serious scuba. What do you do to fill your time? Our advice is to head out of the city and straight to Australia Zoo. Established by the crocodile-hunting Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo is much more than just a zoo – it is a glowing shrine to the man who made nature fashionable.
Irwin dedicated his life’s work to the zoo, which evolved from a small project undertaken alongside his wife Terri to become Australia’s largest tourist attraction. The ethos behind the zoo is one of experience and education, a place where people come to learn about their natural environment and the animals with which we share our planet. More than observation, the experience is one of interaction – here you can cuddle the koalas, walk with the wallabies, get up close and personal with snakes and of course meet the crocodiles for which Irwin was so famous. The crocodile shows were conducted by Irwin himself until his fatal accident a few years back (Irwin was fatally stung by a stingray whilst filming a segment for his famous show) but the mantle has been firmly grabbed by several members of his talented and personable team.
There are over a hundred species present in the zoo, plenty to keep everyone happy no matter what their age and interests. The zoo can be covered on foot but it is large and little legs are likely to tire easily so it is worth paying the extra to hop on the mini train that serves the zoo throughout the day. If you feel like really splashing out, do consider a platinum zoo experience for a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It may not be cheap but if your budget stretches to it, it is worth the money for your own personal Australia Zoo tour guide to take you to every attraction queue free, one-to-one encounters with numerous living species and three meals served throughout the day in your own private area with just the koalas and crocodiles for company.
Australia zoo lies an hour from Brisbane city centre but getting there couldn’t be easier. Coaches are available for around $5 AUD, departing from various locations in the city centre and along the stretch of coast which is home to some of the area’s most popular hotels. To really make the most of your day, why not consider taking the Croc Coach, which takes you on a journey not just through the beautiful Queensland countryside but also through the history of the zoo itself, to get you in the mood for your day of adventuring. Your tour guide will offer an interesting but not-intrusive commentary as your bus wends its way through the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains and you can relax in comfort at the end of a long day of exploring, accompanied by carefully selected extracts from Irwin’s hit shows.