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giraffes taronga zoo roar and snore

Image credit © Cara Wagstaff

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Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo Sydney

Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo are home to over 4,000 animals from 350 different species, with many of these animals currently threatened or endangered. Their ‘Roar and Snore’ experience has been operating at Taronga Zoo Sydney since 1999, and the revenue generated goes directly to looking after the animals – not just those living at the zoo, but all those throughout the world protected by Taronga Conservation Society Australia. We check out the zoo sleepover experience and report back with the details.

taronga zoo animals

© Supplied

Fast Facts

Traveller: Cara Wagstaff
Room type: Safari-style tent
Address: Taronga Zoo Sydney, Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
Cost: from $295 per adult and $175 per child
For families: Bubbly zoo guides who go above and beyond to make sure families have a roaring good time.

We start our zoo sleepover with an after-hours guided walk through the zoo, now all of the daytime visitors have left. Spoiler alert: this is definitely the best time to visit as the animals truly come to life. They are active, playful and ready to be fed – even the usually sleepy koalas.

Before long we arrive at our campsite, nestled on a cliff top with panoramic, million-dollar views of Sydney Harbour. The main tent is surrounded by 17 smaller tents, and we are met with delicious platters of fruit, cheese, corn chips and drinks for both kids and adults to enjoy.

Filling up on goodies we almost forget to make room for dinner, which is served in The View restaurant which looks out on the sun setting across Sydney Harbour and the twinkling lights of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and our personal favourite, Sydney Tower. Dinner is served buffet-style with vegetarian pasta, beef stir fry, marinated chicken, salads and bread rolls on offer.

Sunset views Taronga Roar and Snore

Image credit © Cara Wagstaff

After dinner we start our night-zoo safari, first stopping in to say hi to Rin Tin the crocodile. Rin Tin seamlessly glides through his pond thanks to the ridges on his back, a predatory mechanism we learn is used by crocs to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. Don’t feel too sorry for him being all by himself however – he did have a mate, but zoo staff had to remove her after he tried to eat her! I guess the break up wasn’t mutual.

Next we head to Tiger Trek, but unfortunately, the tigers aren’t feeling too social tonight. We meander back to basecamp for a night cap of chocolate brownies, tea and coffee before collapsing into bed. Tonight is especially windy so we don’t hear much, however, we’re told guests will usually hear the tigers, native birds, white-cheeked gibbons and George the resident peacock.

Gorillas at Taronga zoo sydney

Image credit © Cara Wagstaff

Animal encounters

In the morning we wake up at 6.45am and meet our fellow zoo explorers in the main tent for light refreshments of bliss balls, juice, tea and coffee. We then set off towards our first surprise ‘behind-the-scenes’ encounter, meandering past condors, tortoises, bongos and barking seals before arriving at our destination: the elephant temple (currently home to a trio of giraffes while their paddock is being renovated).

giraffes at Taronga zoo

Image credit © Lorinda Taylor

Our hosts introduce us to the three tall guys, Jimmyu, Nyota and Zarafa who are up to five and a half metres tall. The little ones in our group squeal with delight as the giraffes’ tongues wrap around their little hands as they feed them their breakfast.

Our next stop is a visit to the elephants; the zookeepers introduce us to two adults and one baby. We watch on in awe during their feeding and enrichment time, where they get to play with a plethora of toys.

The morning concludes over a continental breakfast at The View cafe. We savour our last intimate moments with the beautiful creatures before the gates open to the public once more at 9.30am. Guests are welcome to spend the day exploring the zoo at their leisure, but we leave feeling content with our special overnight experience.


The 17 stand-up tents are fitted out with power points, lighting and full-size beds sleeping up to four, making it more of a glamping than camping experience. The toilet block is within walking distance and has hot water showers and towels available.

roar and snore city view

© Image supplied

Families will love

Most of our guides also moonlight as primary school teachers so are amazing with the kids in our group, joking that they look like Happy Meals to the scary creatures and encouraging them to come to the front of the exhibits for the best views and photos.

Holidays with Kids stayed at Taronga Zoo Roar and Snore as a guest of Otterbox. Check out Otterbox’s latest range of phone cases and outdoor equipment here.

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