Ultimate Aussie holiday to add to your list

Waking up with a koala at your window or a kangaroo at your door isn’t something many of us get to experience.

Sure, seeing one up close at the zoo is great, but Taronga Zoo takes things to a whole other level.

I’d been wanting to do the iconic Sydney zoo’s ‘Roar and Snore’ experience for a while, but when I heard their Wildlife Retreat was available for younger kids to experience, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

As an animal lover, the thought of waking up among them excites me as much as a little kid whose imagination is sparked when you tell them you might hear lions roaring through the night.

While no lions kept us up, staying at the retreat meant we were the first to get into the zoo in the morning to see the big cats as soon as they were let into their enclosure.

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You might not hear lions roar but you certainly can see koalas out of your window.Source:Supplied

Owned and operated by the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Wildlife Retreat features 62 rooms in five environmentally sensitive and sustainably designed lodges.

It also has ‘The Sanctuary’, a thoughtfully designed habitat, created especially for guests of the retreat, home to an array of native wildlife including wallabies, bettongs, short-beaked echidnas and koalas, and can be enjoyed either on a guided tour or viewed from the comfort of guests’ rooms.

This tour was just as much as a highlight as everything else, including the night tour which saw a bunch of kids run wild like animals themselves through the zoo so – in our guide’s words – they’d be knackered back at the room and the adults could treat themselves to a bottle of wine once they were in bed.

She noted a bottle also served an important purpose, going towards supporting Taronga’s important conservation and research projects in Australia and around the world (another bottle then, please!).

Proceeds from every stay support Taronga’s ongoing work caring for animals within its two zoos and through conservation programs around the world.

That’s what also makes this holiday experience so great – it educates and inspires guests on conservation efforts.

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The Sanctuary is a thoughtfully designed habitat, created especially for guests of Wildlife Retreat at Taronga. Picture: Lisa Diederich PhotographySource:Supplied

Cameron Kerr, chief executive of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, says they hope guests will leave not only rejuvenated, but also with a sense of empowerment to make a difference, and with the knowledge that their stay has made a meaningful difference to wildlife and its conservation.

There are four room options to choose from that overlook bushland, animals or the Sydney Harbour and a few package options.

We enjoyed the family escape package, but there’s also a romance upgrade for those without kids.

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Nothing says a holiday better than a cocktail with a view. Picture: Lisa Diederich PhotographySource:Supplied

The retreat has views of Sydney’s iconic harbour. Picture: Lisa Diederich PhotographySource:Supplied

Prices for midweek stays at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga start from $550 per room twin share which includes certain tours, breakfast and entry to the zoo for your entire stay.

The writer was a guest of Taronga Zoo

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