NSW Government has granted approval for an AUS$40 million (US$30m) resort hotel at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. The project is part on a wider AUS $164.5 million revitalisation of the zoo planned over the next decade.
Featuring 62 guest rooms spread across five pods, Taronaga Wildlife Retreat builds on the success of the zoo’s popular Roar and Snore camping facilities, as well as Zoofari Lodge at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Work on the new accommodation in Sydney will begin his August ahead of an expected March 2019 completion date. Also planned is an extension to the zoo’s existing Taronga Function Centre, including a new restaurant, function room and outdoor terrace.
Taronga Wildlife Retreat will wrap around a sanctuary housing animals such as wallabies, echidnas, bandicoots, Platypus, Koalas and Freshwater Eels. The zoo says it will provide an opportunity for those staying overnight to learn more about wildlife and the threats Australian species face. Visitors will be hosted guides who will provide tours and talks.
Design of the retreat will be sensitive to the local site, and minimise visual impacts from Bradley’s Head Road and Sydney Harbour. Approval was given with strict environmental conditions, including the adoption of energy, water and waste reducing measures.
Fierce opposition to the project was received from Mosman Council. The local authority argued it would attract those seeking high end accommodation close the city and overlooking the Harbour, rather than regular guests of the zoo.
“Taronga Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this country,” notes NSW state planning minister Anthony Roberts. “This retreat will only further enhance its attractiveness to international and domestic visitors alike.”
10-Year revitalisation plan
The next 10 years will be an exciting time for Taronga Zoo. Across the site, new developments are underway that will revitalise the experience for both guests and wildlife. Planned projects include the incredible new Sumatran Tiger experience, African Savannah exhibit and Taronga Institute of Science and Learning. In addition, phase two of the Australia Habitat revitalisation is due for completion in 2021. The revitalisation is being jointly funded by the Taronga Conservation Society and NSW (New South Wales) Government.