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Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Opens

October 11, 2019 Attraction No Comments Email Email

Taronga Conservation Society Australia has today opened the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, a new overnight eco-retreat on Cammeraigal country,nestled within Taronga Zoo on the edge of Sydney Harbour. 

Located just fifteen minutes from the bustle of urban Sydney, the Wildlife Retreat offers guests an extraordinary opportunity to have a sleepover with Australia’s unique wildlife while supporting Taronga’s important conservation and research projects in Australia and around the globe.

Owned and operated by Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga features 62 rooms in five environmentally sensitive and sustainably designed lodges and ‘The Sanctuary’, a thoughtfully designed habitat, created especially for guests of the Retreat. ‘The Sanctuary’ is 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.

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said Taronga Zoo Sydney is loved by locals and tourists alike and the opening of the Wildlife Retreat will make it even more exciting. The world class retreat will make learning about what Taronga does to conserve our unique and precious fauna even more fun and relevant.


Cameron Kerr, CEO of Taronga Conservation Society Australia said the retreat was an important step forward for Taronga Zoo in securing a shared future for wildlife and people.

We are so very proud to unveil our new Wildlife Retreat at Taronga and in doing so provide a new way for our guests to develop meaningful connections with amazing Australian wildlife. We have taken great care in the development of the Retreat to ensure it has a strong focus on environmental sustainable design and that it’s respectful and in keeping with the natural landscape. We are delighted with the result and we look forward to welcoming guests from across the country and around the globe,” said Kerr.

Guests of the Wildlife Retreat will wake up to the sounds of native wildlife and stunning views of the harbour and surrounding bushland. Throughout their stay, they can choose to join guided tours with passionate keepers and guides, or to simply connect with the wildlife and its habitat in their own time, reassured by the knowledge that their stay has made a meaningful difference to this not-for-profit, conservation zoo organisation.

The Wildlife Retreat at Taronga builds on the success of Taronga’s existing overnight experiences, including Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Roar & Snore and the Zoofari Lodge, Billabong Camp andSavannah Cabins at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo which are enjoyed by more than 40,000 people each year.

“We know that our overnight experiences are a great way to inspire our guests to towards conservation-minded behaviours and that they will leave with a significantly increased intention to make a conscious effort to do things to help conserve the environment.

“In creating the Retreat, we hope that our 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,” said Kerr.

Taronga worked closely with Cammeraigal Traditional Custodian, Professor Dennis Foley, and Gurindji Woolwonga woman, Susan Moylan-Coombs to embed Culture within the retreat experience, providing guests with an opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future as they walk on Cammeraigal country.  Dennis Foley’s ‘Three Sisters’ artwork provides the motif that is featured on the wallpaper in the rooms alongside aerial photographs and hand illustration by Yanyuwa artist Tim Moriarty.

The Wildlife Retreat at Taronga opens to guests from Thursday 10 October 2019. Rates start at $790 per night for two adults and includes two-course dinner, buffet breakfast, immersive and exclusive Australian animal experiences and complimentary general admission to Taronga Zoo.  Taronga Conservation Society Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and proceeds from every stay support Taronga’s ongoing work caring for animals within its two zoos and through conservation programs around the world.

Experience

The guest experience at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is an all-inclusive one, incorporating elegant accommodation, a two-course dinner at the Me-Gal restaurant, breakfast and a range of guided tours.

Dinner at Me-Gal restaurant, with its sweeping views of Sydney Harbour, is one of the most special and memorable elements of a stay at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga. A two-course meal is included in the guest package, with an option to add a third course and wines at an additional cost.

Guided tours are available through The Sanctuary, a thoughtfully designed habitat, created especially for guests of Wildlife Retreat at Taronga. Encounters with the unique Australian animals who live within the sanctuary will ensure that a stay at the retreat is an unforgettable one; guests will share their surrounds with Tammar Wallabies, Red-necked Pademelons, Long-nosed Potoroos, Red Kangaroos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Koalas and Short-finned Eels who inhabit the waterways.

The Daybreak Walk is a quiet, guided walk through the Zoo in the early morning; an opportunity to walk on Cammeraigal country at first light and to see Taronga with fresh eyes, as a natural habitat where the plants that grow throughout the Zoo provide shelter and food for wild inhabitants of the Zoo. It is also a chance to enjoy the serenity and incredible views that the harbour-front Zoo offers at this time of day.

Hot and cold buffet breakfast offers an array of delicious items and importantly focuses on free range and sustainably sourced produce.

After a delicious breakfast overlooking Sydney Harbour, guest can set out with Taronga’s expert Guides to enjoy more of the Zoo before the gates open to the general public. The tour includes a visit to the Wollemi Aviary, surrounded by rare, unique Australian birdlife, and an opportunity to see iconic Red Kangaroos and Tasmanian Devils.

Prior to and following an overnight stay, guests are also welcome to enjoy complimentary general admission to Taronga Zoo Sydney, home to over 4,000 animals of 350 species.

Design 

Designed by leading Australian architects at Cox Architecture, the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga features five environmentally-sensitive, sustainably-designed lodges built into the native bushland setting of Taronga Zoo. There are 62 elegant rooms that either overlook the wildlife habitat or boast wonderful views of Sydney Harbour. Through every element of its concept, design and experience, the Wildlife Retreat has been thoughtfully designed and curated to cater to couples and families alike, and to appeal to local guests as powerfully as it does international visitors.

Environmentally sustainable design lies at the heart of the Retreat and has driven a range of initiatives, such as external corridors and timber cladding to reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint. Set in a beautiful location in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga has been sensitively designed to fit with the existing landscape: the accommodation pods are clad in reconstituted timber and metal and are just two to four storeys high, with native planted green screens to integrate them into the surrounding bushland.

Taronga strives to lead in the areas of resource efficiency, waste management, supply chain, care of the land and social responsibility, and has worked with consultants to ensure sustainability was considered in every component of the design, construction and operation phases of the Wildlife Retreat. In fitting with Taronga’s commitment to sustainability, the environmentally focused design is targeting a 5 star Green Star rating.

Rooms

With stunning interiors by design leaders CHADA, guest rooms at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga are beautifully appointed and designed to reflect their native bushland setting. Nestled amongst the natural landscape of Taronga Zoo Sydney, the thoughtfully curated rooms rendered in calm, elegant tones allow guests to overlook bushland, come eye-to-eye with animals or gaze across stunning Sydney Harbour.

There are four room options to choose from:Bushland Rooms overlooking iconic Australian bushland, with wild birds scattered amongst native trees and native flora; Animal View Rooms with views overlooking the Wildlife Retreat’s Sanctuary, a lush habitat where iconic Australian animals roam, climb and perch among the branches right outside your window; Harbour View Rooms with vistas across Taronga Zoo and Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge and Treetop Suites, the retreat’s deluxe, spacious suites with panoramic harbour views and open-plan ensuite with statement bathtub.

Artworks within the room have been created by Tim Moriarty, a Yanyuwa artist exploring contemporary and traditional media. He created the aerial photographs through the use of drones and hand illustration. His art explores the far reaches of the continent, from Tasmania in the south to the far north of the Kimberley, the Lost City, NT and many places far and between, creating a vast contemporary ‘canvas’. The images represent the way people, animals, storylines and songlines move across the diverse landscapes of Australia.

Dining

A highlight of any stay at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is its dining, featuring uniquely Australian menus with a strong focus on fresh local produce and native ingredients. With sweeping views of Sydney Harbour, the retreat’s restaurant, Me-Gal,  is named after the Cammeraigal word for ‘tears’ and evokes the saltwater surrounding the restaurant’s beautiful location.

For dinner, guests can enjoy such delicious fare as Fraser Island spanner crab with timbale, pea mousse, fried native saltbush and salmon pearls or a locally sourced New South Wales beef fillet with King oyster mushrooms, dutch carrot, pistachio, cavolo nero, potato espuma, served with a Hunter Valley shiraz jus.  The produce is responsibly sourced and features MSC certification where appropriate. Breakfast is also locally inspired with a focus on fresh seasonal fare, and features a hot and cold buffet with locally made jams and condiments, and artisan pastries.

Conservation

Owned and operated by Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga will contribute essential funding towards the care of Taronga’s animals and broader conservation and education programs in Australia and around the world, as well as increasing employment opportunities in the areas of hospitality and tourism. Taronga is a not-for-profit organisation and works tirelessly to achieve a shared future for wildlife and people, striving to be a centre for conservation excellence and an inspiration to individuals and communities.

The Wildlife Retreat will return essential funds back to Taronga to be used towards the care of Taronga’s animals, ensuring the long-term viability and essential research outcomes of the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning and the expansion of broader conservation and education programs in Australia and around the world. Taronga is a not for profit organisation and all revenue from the Wildlife Retreat will further Taronga’s work and ensure long-term sustainable income streams to fund increasingly ambitious conservation goals.  

Taronga supports more than 60 conservation and research projects in Australia and around the globe. They vary from helping the tiny critically endangered Corroboree Frogs in Kosciusko National Park, Orang-utans in Borneo and African Elephants in Mozambique. And of course, all this vital conservation work comes at a cost.

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