"Crikey! The Best Place to See Australian Animals"
Could Australia Zoo be the most famous zoo in Australia or perhaps even the southern hemisphere? It’s probably most famous for Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, than it is for its animals these days.
But spending a day here will ensure you get to meet some real Australian animals (including the crocodiles) as well as some classics like elephants and tigers. If you have kids or have a genuine love of animals, then this really is the place for you.
Australia Zoo is in Beerwah, which is just over an hour from Brisbane (68km) heading north on the A1 towards the Sunshine Coast. Driving is probably the easiest way to get here. If you haven’t got a car, you can be picked up from your Brisbane hotel by Crocs Connections, which is run by Australia Zoo. It will give you a full day at the park (you’ll get there about 10.15am and leave the park at 4.10pm.) This adds approx $50 per adult onto the cost of the entry ticket.
If you plan to visit and are staying on the Sunshine Coast, the zoo also puts on a courtesy coach that stops off along the main towns along the Coast including Noosa, Caloundra, Maroochy and Coolum.
Meet The Family
Given Steve Irwin is what has made Australia Zoo so popular, it seems only right to introduce them:
Steve Irwin is quite frankly an Australian legend and an ambassador for Australia. He was born near Victoria but he moved with his parents to Queensland when he was 8 years old. They opened a reptile park and it was here that Steve grew to love crocodiles and snakes. He would regularly take part in animal feedings and general maintenance.
He became a crocodile trapper which meant removing crocodiles that came too near to populated areas. In 1991 his parents handed him the family business – the Reptile park and in 1992 he renamed it Australia Zoo. It was here and in the same year that he met Terri who he married. Whilst on honeymoon there was footage of him trapping a crocodile and it was this film that was used for the first episode of Crocodile Hunter. It aired in over 100 countries. Steve’s broad Australian accent and use of the word “Crikey” not to mention his dare devil tactics with crocs, made him an instant hit around the world.
From then on his fame grew and grew. He put his popularity to good use, educating the world on environmental issues and even set up the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation.
On 4th September 2006, whilst out filming a documentary for his daughter entitled “The Ocean’s Deadliest”, Steve Irwin was pierced in the chest by the barb of a stingray. It is thought that he is only the second Australian to die from a stingray.
Terri, Bindi and Robert
Today the remaining Irwin family carry on Steve’s dream. Australia Zoo continues to go from strength to strength and his wife Terri continues to fight for environmental issues.
His daughter Bindi is a celebrity in her own right and has her own clothes line and even her own doll.
Robert, who was only 2 when Steve died, has his father’s love of snakes. He was so proud when he got his first snake bite!
What Animals Can You See?
This zoo has all the Australian Animals that you can think of including Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Possums, Tasmanian Devils, venomous snakes and Crocodiles.
There are also tigers and elephants as well as birds, cheetahs, camels and turtles.
What Are The Must See Shows?
The key attraction is the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Show that takes place at 11am and 2pm daily. This is the show that takes place in the Crocoseum. You’ll get introduced to the Crocodiles as well as snakes birds and elephants. This gets very busy so get here early for a good seat.
There are other shows throughout the day. Try to catch the Koala show at 1pm and the elephant feeding at 10.30am or 3pm. The large tortoise show at 10am is also a must see, just to appreciate their size.
How Much Does It Cost?
An adult ticket will cost you $54 and a child ticket is $32 (3-14 year olds) There are family packages available. A family of 4 costs $161 and a family of 5 costs $177.
There is a 10% discount for groups of 10 or more.
The park is open every day from 9am-5pm. Check opening days around Christmas.
You can bring your own food but there are plenty of food options at the zoo.
How To Make Your Trip Extra Special
There are lots of add ons that you can buy to make your experience at the zoo that bit more special. These are perfect for birthday treats or an extra memorable part of your trip to Australia.
The Platinum Zoo tour gives you access to all areas, you get up close and personal to the animals and you get the best seat in the house for the show. A photographer will capture your day on camera, a perfect souvenir. It’s not cheap though!! It will cost $2000 for an adult and $200 per child!
Animal Experiences Alternatively, you can pick your favourite animal and enjoy a special up close and personal experience. Prices range from $650 to $30. The most expensive is the walk with the tigers. The cheaper experiences include spending half an hour with an animal like the Dingo or Koala. You get to hold them, play with them and there is a souvenir photo included. You need to book in advance and be at the park at a certain time. The tiger experience for example, usually takes place before the park opens.
Guided Tours For just $15 per person you can get a 2 hour guided tour which will give you some in depth knowledge about the animals and the parks history. Personal guided tours are also available on request.
Hand Feed the Kangaroos – You can buy some food and hand feed the Kangaroos at Roo Heaven.
There are usually plenty of special events throughout the year. There are special offers including free face painting and sometimes reduced entry prices.
Steve Irwin Day is celebrated every year around 15th November. The aim is to raise money some of Steve’s favourite charities, in particular the Wildlife Warriors and there are extra fun things going on at the zoo.
The Australia Zoo also gives you opportunities to volunteer or sponsor an animal. From $50 you can sponsor an animal of your choice for 12 months and receive a certificate and other goodies.
You can also apply to be a volunteer and work at
for up to 4 weeks. You need to be 16 years or older to apply and there is no guarantee of employment at the end of it. But, it’s a great way to work with animals and see what it’s like to be a zoo keeper. You’d need to live in the area too as accommodation is not provided.