It should go without saying that “seeing some kangaroos and koalas up close” is on most visitor’s to-do lists for a trip to Australia.
When searching for a place in/near Sydney that would provide such an experience, Taronga Zoo regularly popped up as an option, but I wasn't interested in going to a zoo. Most zoos keep the animals at a distance, and don’t focus on a specific set of animals. I’ve seen lions, tigers, and bears before and didn’t want to spend money on things I’m familiar with; I wanted an authentically Australian animal adventure. A couple of keystrokes and key terms on Google pulled up Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Featherdale specializes in Australian wildlife, and provided an interactive experience with the animals. It was also less expensive than Taronga. That was all of the convincing I needed.
A short train ride outside of Sydney’s city limits took us to Blacktown, and from there, a short ride on a metro bus dropped us off in front of the park. The whole trip took less than an hour.
Featherdale definitely gave the hands-on wildlife experience I was looking for. From the moment you walk in, there are several areas in the park that have the kangaroos and wallabies walking freely with options to feed them and the chance to get up close and personal with a koala bear. The park also houses Tasmanian devils, emus, dingoes, quokkas, and plenty of other local wildlife for you to discover, with many of these exhibits also having scheduled feedings/interactive time throughout the day for visitors to participate in.
The staff members were all extremely knowledgeable about the animals and seemed genuinely interested in the welfare of the wildlife, which is usually a good indication as to how the animals are treated at a facility.
Featherdale only takes about 2 hours to fully experience, so if you go early enough, you’ll still have plenty of the day left once you arrive back in Sydney for other activities. Many people opt to make Featherdale a stop on their way to visit the Blue Mountains, which is a full day itinerary.
TRAVEL HACK: Go during the week for lighter crowds and more time with the animals.
Learn more about Featherdale Wildlife Park by visiting their website: http://www.featherdale.com.au