Symbio Wildlife Gardens, Helensburgh, near Sutherland

Symbio Wildlife Gardens near Wollongong is a family owned zoo, and one of the largest privately owned freehold zoos in New South Wales. Bordering the Royal National Park, Symbio occupies sixteen acres of bushland about 45 minutes south of Sydney and 25 minutes north of Wollongong . Symbio started in 1975 as a small wildlife park and has now gown to an award winning zoo and tourist attraction. Major redevelopment has taken place since the park was bought by the Radnidge family back in 2000. In 2004, an award-winning freshwater crocodile habitat was built. Other recent additions to the park include the Meerkat exhibit and Marmoset Monkeys and Cotton Top Tamarin Monkeys exhibit.

Animals at the zoo include red pandas, crocodiles, alligators, meerkats, koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, monkeys, dingoes, birds of prey, snakes, reptiles, ostrich, emus and farmyard animals.

Visitors to Symbio are allowed to touch, feed and cuddle various species of animals including kangaroos and koalas. You can cuddle the koalas at 12 and 3pm daily. The Zoo is family oriented and aims to give visitors a memorable fun experience with special memories and photos, as well as an educational experience. You can meet a Barking owl called “Arnie” who appeared with Delta Goodrem in the video clip “Not Me Not I” and he also featured in the Movie “Son of Mask”.

When you arrive at the park you can purchase animal food for the kangaroos. At the time of writing the Zoo was offering a free bag of kangaroo per family if print the map from their web site and present it when paying admission. (Check Symbio web site for details and conditions).

If you are interested in reptiles, you will enjoy the daily demonstrations. The Park has some large pythons including Burmese Pythons and the Australian Olive Python. The Park features colourful parrots from Australia and overseas, including Australian Eclectus Parrots, Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Lorikeets and South American Sun Conures. You can see these parrots close up in the walk through bird aviary.

Facilities at the park include undercover shelters, picnic areas poolside or on the park lawns. You can also splash out in the free swimming pools. The kiosk sells snacks, refreshments, ice creams and essentials like sunscreen.

Symbio is actively involved in school education, and hosts group tours and also excursions for tertiary students. A mobile zoo ‘Zoo2u’ has been introduced which has traveled to many schools in Wollongong, Sydney and the Western suburbs. Symbio participates in the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP), a cooperative program involving leading Australasian zoos to promote species management. Symbio is involved in several ASMP programs for species such as Red pandas, Meerkats, Tasmanian devil, Cotton-top Tamarin and Southern cassowary.

Symbio is located 15 minutes south of Sutherland, just off the Southern Freeway at the Helensburgh and Stanwell Park turnoff. You can also get there via the old Princes Highway. Heading south, the park is on the right hand side on Lawrence Hargrave Drive just off the Freeway.

The Zoo is open from 9.30am to 5.00pm every day except Christmas Day.

Related posts:

  1. Gorge Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
  2. Rockhampton Zoo, Rockhampton Botanic Gardens
  3. Peel Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Pinjarra
  4. Featherdale Wildlife Park, western Sydney
  5. Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek, Tasmania

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