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We Review: Wildlife Retreat At Taronga

Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is located on Cammeraigal country in the leafy North Shore suburb of Mosman. This award-winning eco-retreat is nestled within Taronga Zoo and overlooks the magnificent Sydney Harbour.

Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is located on Cammeraigal country in the leafy North Shore suburb of Mosman. This award-winning eco-retreat is nestled within Taronga Zoo and overlooks the magnificent Sydney Harbour.

Guests can arrive at Wildlife Retreat by car with complimentary parking provided as part of your stay. If you prefer to use public transport, you can catch a ferry to the Taronga Zoo wharf and connect to a bus, which has a stop near the Retreat.

Facilities

Guests staying at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga have access to Taronga Zoo throughout their stay, with a private entrance connecting to the zoo. It certainly made it easy for us to arrive at the zoo at opening time, and allowed us to see many of the animals (including the lion cubs) at their most active.

A highlight of our stay was the Sanctuary Tour, which is exclusive to guests staying at the Wildlife Retreat. The tour can be booked on arrival for timed departures during the afternoon. We enjoyed joining our tour guide and a small group of fellow guests for the 30 minute walk/wheel through the exclusive area. Be warned: all animals have right of way, and nobody gets between an echidna and their dinner – not even a wheelchair. Our guide seamlessly directed us around the wheelchair accessible route throughout the tour.

One man standing and one man in a wheelchair, looking down at two echidnas on the ground
Don’t get in the way of a hungry echidna!

In the evening, we dined in Me-Gai for dinner, where we enjoyed delicious food with a side-order of stunning harbour views at sunset. The menu heroes locally sourced quality produce, which changes with the seasons. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available. Child-friendly meals are also on offer, and although the restaurant has five-star decor, the staff are down-to-earth and don’t mind a bit of mess under a high-chair.

Having an early riser in our family, we took advantage of a 7.15am tour of the zoo. A staff member educated us about various members of the zoo family. We found the birds particularly chatty at that time of the morning – all before I’d had my first cuppa of the day! Insights into the personalities, origins, and diets of the various residents really adds depth to a zoo visit, and something we all enjoyed.

Accommodation

Wildlife Retreat at Taronga offers luxury accommodation without compromising on the facilities that make a stay truly accessible for a wheelchair user. It’s always delightful to find an accessible room with a view, and as we pulled back the curtains in our room, not only could we see various animals meandering around the dedicated Wildlife Retreat Sanctuary, but also the Sydney Harbour Bridge glistening in the distance.

Being a family of four adults, we appreciate any accessible accommodation with the option of an interconnecting room. It’s also handy for those travelling with family, friends, or support staff. While it’s nice to have the option of being together, it’s also sometimes nice to be able to close the door if needed.

Accessibility

The plush accommodation of Wildlife Retreat at Taronga has been designed with accessibility top of mind.

Entry to the room is via the simple tap of a card. Once inside, we were immediately wowed by the features of the spacious room and generously sized and stylish accessible bathroom. It’s proof that accessibility and sleek design can blend beautifully.

The bathroom is equipped with all the necessities for ease of use, including lever taps, grab rails, a backrest on the toilet, and shower bench. Guests can choose between two shower heads, one hand-held and adjustable and the other a large overhead rainmaker. Lowered features and ample space for toiletries ensure that everything is within easy reach.

The bathroom in the accessible accommodation at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, including a roll-in shower with bench and two shower heads, grab rails, back-rest on toilet.
The bathroom in the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga accessible accommodation is both suitable and stylish.

An iPad in the room provided us with information about the Wildlife Retreat at the touch of a button.

While Wildlife Retreat’s accommodation is spread out over a large area, the accessible accommodation is close to reception, the restaurant, and N’Gurra Lounge which is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink.

Accessible parking is provided for guests in Taronga Zoo’s undercover multideck carpark (maximum vehicle height 2.1m), approximately 400m from the entrance to Wildlife Retreat. Guests can leave luggage with hotel staff at the entrance prior to parking.

Our family had a wonderful stay at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, and appreciate that accessibility and sustainability can co-exist so harmoniously in a luxury property. Whether you are looking for a staycation, a destination for a celebration, or simply a unique accommodation option, we highly recommend a stay at the zoo.

This review first appeared in Travel Without Limits magazine. You can subscribe here.

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