I am going to be blunt – crocodiles scare me. Having visited Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory multiple times, I have a healthy respect for these prolific apex predators. If you want to learn more about crocodiles then Australia Zoo is the iconic place to visit as a result of Steve Irwin’s popular Crocodile Hunter TV series. Unfortunately Steve is not with us anymore, but his family continues to promote wildlife conservation through their Wildlife Warriors charity.
When my family recently decided to spend a week on the Sunshine Coast to visit with family, our number one activity to do while in the area was to visit Australia Zoo for the first time, and in particular to see the iconic crocodile show in the Crocoseum. The day after we arrived the weather was perfect so we decided to proceed with our visit.
I would like to help you to plan your own visit to Australia Zoo, with the benefit of a local’s perspective. While we ourselves are not locals, my sister in law lives on the Sunshine Coast and had purchased a season pass in the previous year so had visited many times. My sister in law visited Australia Zoo with us and was therefore able to share many tips to enable us to make the most of our visit.
- Australia Zoo Review
- Information About Australia Zoo
- Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) and Australia Zoo History
- Australia Zoo Ticket Prices for 2017
- Australia Zoo Discount Tickets for 2017
- Australia Zoo Map
- Australia Zoo Animals
- Australia Zoo Opening Hours
- Australia Zoo Address, Location and Contact Information
- How to Get to Australia Zoo from Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast
- Accommodation Near Australia Zoo
- How to Have an Experience Similar to Australia Zoo in Sydney and Canberra
Australia Zoo Review
One of the reasons we had not previously visited Australia Zoo was due to the price of the tickets. When I had previously researched this option the ticket price had been a major deterrent, considering the prices I can get to visit other zoos. Now that I have visited Australia Zoo I can confidently confirm that while the ticket prices are higher than many other options, it is a destination well worth visiting and the ticket price provides good value for money.
One of the things I really liked about Australia Zoo is that multiple animal encounters are included and available for everyone. In most other zoos in Australia you would need to pay an additional fee above your ticket price to get up close and personal with one animal, let alone many animals.
Also the Australia Zoo shows are quite unique. We attended the Wildlife Warrior show in the Crocoseum and while the crocodile demonstration was amazing as expected, we were quite surprised to see the bird displays which were great to watch (but difficult to get a good photograph!).
Australia Zoo itself is a pristine zoo, which is very well tended and maintained. The wildlife all appear to be happy and well looked after. We visited around 75% of the zoo animals over a 4 hour period, and if we had decided to stay longer we would have easily been able to see the rest of the animals.
As a result we all really enjoyed our visit and would definitely recommend it to you. Our children enjoyed charging around to visit the animal enclosures and also enjoyed seeing the Wildlife Warrior show.
Information About Australia Zoo
Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) and Australia Zoo History
Australia Zoo is a long standing Irwin family business which has existed on the site in Beerwah, Sunshine Coast since 1970. It started life as the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park which was established by Steve Irwin’s parents. During the 1980s Steve Irwin worked with the Queensland Government to capture and rehouse crocodiles, of which over 100 were either relocated or rehoused. Steve took over management of the then expanded park in 1991, the same year he met an American tourist, Terri Raines, who he subsequently married in 1992.
The couple subsequently went on to start filming wildlife documentaries, which led to the creation of The Crocodile Hunter series which led to Steve Irwin becoming world famous, and then going on to produce many other successful shows.
The success of the shows led to significant income, from which Steve and Terri agreed to put all money raised from filming and merchandise into conservation through the Wildlife Warriors charity. The Irwins are the patrons of the Wildlife Warriors charity with Australia Zoo as the major sponsor who covers all administrative costs of the charity. As a result 100% of all donations to the Wildlife Warriors charity are directly used for the conservation and preservation of wildlife.
In 1998 the park was renamed to Australia Zoo, and Steve and Terri had two children, Bindi Irwin who was born in 1998 and Robert Irwin who was born in 2003.
Sadly, Steve Irwin died in 2006 after being hit in the chest by a stingray’s barb while filming and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. His family are continuing his legacy at Australia Zoo with the zoo continuing to grow in size and increasing the number of animals and wildlife on display.
The Irwin family can periodically be seen at Australia Zoo – keep an eye out on their webpage to see if they will be meeting the public at the time you plan your visit. They often run school holiday programs where the Irwin family are in attendance.
Australia Zoo Ticket Prices for 2017
Australia Zoo standard ticket prices are as per the below table. You can purchase tickets either online or at the entry gate.
|Australia Zoo General Admission||1 Day Pass||2 Day Pass||Annual Pass|
|Child (3-14 years)||$35||$51||$59|
|Family Pass (2 adult + 2 children)||$172||$258||–|
|Family Pass (2 adult + 3 children)||$189||$283.50||–|
|Pensioner / Student||$47||$69||–|
Additional animal encounters and tours are also available, including tours of the Australia Zoo Wildlife hospital and private tours. For children aged 4-15 years old there is also the Zookeeper for a day program which runs during school holiday periods.
Australia Zoo Discount Tickets for 2017
There are a range of options to obtain discount tickets for Australia Zoo as follows:
- If you are a member of the Australian military forces (Navy, Army, Air Force) if you show your identification card you should get a 50% discount on your ticket. Note that you do not receive any further discounts for your family.
- If you are a member of the RACQ, NRMA, RACV, RACT, RAA, RAC and AANT you can save 10% off tickets which include a sneak peek in the Wildlife Hospital. You must purchase your tickets online before you arrive, or you can purchase on your mobile phone and a mobile voucher will enable entry.
- Coupon Sales sites such as Groupon periodically offer other discounts.
- The Entertainment Book offers a 15% discount on Australia Zoo entry tickets. The Entertainment Book is available for purchase from not for profit organisations around Australia and New Zealand.
Australia Zoo Map
The latest Australia Zoo Map is available on this link.
Australia Zoo is easy to walk around, and they also have a mini train which picks up and drops off on a defined route. In our case we progressively walked to the furthest end of the park and then caught the train back to the entrance.
Australia Zoo Animals
Australia Zoo has a large range of animals to see. They have a great range of Australian animals including many crocodiles (as you would expect!), snakes, lizards, koalas, emus, kangaroos, parrots, wombats, dingos and Tasmanian Devils. They also have animals from Africa and Asia, including rhinos, cheetahs, lemurs, tigers, giraffes and zebras.
All of the animals live in spacious enclosures and appear to be very well tended.
Australia Zoo Opening Hours
Australia Zoo is open from 9am to 5pm daily and is closed on Christmas Day.
Australia Zoo Address, Location and Contact Information
Australia Zoo is located in Beerwah, which is 75km north of Brisbane in Queensland. Beerwah is part of the Sunshine Coast, and has close proximity to Noosa, Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Maroochydore.
The Australia Zoo address is 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519.
The Australia Zoo contact phone number is +61 7 5436 2000.
Brisbane to Australia Zoo Distance
The distance from Brisbane to Australia Zoo is 75km to the north of Brisbane. The driving time from Brisbane to Australia Zoo is approximately 1:05 hours.
Gold Coast to Australia Zoo Distance
The driving distance from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast to Australia Zoo is 153km to the north of the Gold Coast. The driving time from Surfers Paradise to Australia Zoo is approximately 1:50 hours.
Sunshine Coast (including Noosa, Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Maroochydore) to Australia Zoo Distance
- The distance from Noosa to Australia Zoo is 76km to the south west of Noosa.
- The distance from Maroochydore to Australia Zoo is 34km to the south west of Maroochydore.
- The distance from Mooloolaba to Australia Zoo is 29km to the south west of Mooloolaba.
- The distance from Caloundra to Australia Zoo is 23km to the west of Caloundra.
How to Get to Australia Zoo from Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast
Australia Zoo Public Transport and Bus Tours from Brisbane
Options to get to Australia Zoo from Brisbane include:
- Driving in your own vehicle or hire vehicle is 75km each way and just over one hour from Brisbane City to Australia Zoo.
- Catch a train from Brisbane to Beerwah Rail Station. A free Australia Zoo courtesy coach meets most train arrivals during opening hours to transfer visitors to the zoo. If no bus is present when you arrive then call +61 7 5436 2000 to arrange to be picked up during opening hours.
- Catch the Croc Express day bus tour packages to Australia Zoo from Brisbane. After you click on the link type through to the Viator website type ‘Australia Zoo’ into the search box and you will see a range of day coach tour options. Viator is a world wide reputable travel company and is a quick and convenient option to book your visit to Australia Zoo.
Australia Zoo Public Transport and Bus Tours from Gold Coast
- Driving in your own vehicle or hire vehicle is 153 km each way and approximately 1:50 hours from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast to Australia Zoo.
- Catch a train to Beerwah Rail Station, with departure options ranging from as far south as Varsity Lakes. A free Australia Zoo courtesy coach meets most train arrivals during opening hours to transfer visitors to the zoo. If no bus is present when you arrive then call +61 7 5436 2000 to arrange to be picked up during opening hours.
- Catch the Croc Express day bus tour packages to Australia Zoo from the Gold Coast. After you click on the link type through to the Viator website type ‘Australia Zoo’ into the search box and you will see a range of day coach tour options. Viator is a world wide reputable travel company and is a quick and convenient option to book your visit to Australia Zoo.
Australia Zoo Public Transport and Bus Tours from Sunshine Coast
- Catch a train to Beerwah Rail Station, with departure station options ranging from as far north as Gympie. A free Australia Zoo courtesy coach meets most train arrivals during opening hours to transfer visitors to the zoo. If no bus is present when you arrive then call +61 7 5436 2000 to arrange to be picked up during opening hours.
- Con-X-ion offer Sunshine Coast attraction transfers to Australia Zoo with options for direct pick up and return to your accommodation. There are typically three pick up time options each morning and a single return time in the afternoon. Attraction transfers do not include your entry ticket to Australia Zoo.
Accommodation Near Australia Zoo
Hotels and Motels Near Australia Zoo
There are a huge range of different hotel and motel options near Australia Zoo and you can choose whether you want to stay close to the beach – think Caloundra or Twin Waters, or up in the mountains behind the Sunshine Coast – think Maleny and Montville. Or you can stay in the middle in Beerwah and close to the Glasshouse Mountains.
The best options to find a hotel or motel near Australia Zoo is through the Hotels Combined comparison accommodation booking site, which has a large range of accommodation options in the area. The Hotels Combined site is an Australian only site which compares multiple accommodation sites (such as Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com etc) to help you find the best deal to purchase your accommodation. After clicking on the link type ‘Australia Zoo’ into the search box to find the available accommodation options for your group size and planned visit dates.
My recommended hotel and motel picks are:
- For a beachside family friendly option, the Lindomere Apartments in Kings Beach Caloundra – they are a short walk to the patrolled surf beach at Kings Beach and also close to many great restaurants
- For a more budget and family friendly hotel option within a short drive to the beach the Caloundra Central Apartment Hotel will suit the bill!
- For a quality mountain experience the Montville Mountain Inn Resort is a great option – and a great option to also explore the huge range of art galleries in the Montville area, as well as nearby National Parks and waterfalls.
If you prefer self contained apartments or houses then another good option in the area around Australia Zoo is AirBnB.com – there are quite a few accommodation options available to suit most group sizes and budgets. Click on the link then type ‘Australia Zoo’ into the search field, the size of your group and your travel dates to see the options available. I regularly use AirBnB for my own accommodation and my main tip to get the best outcome is to choose properties with many recent good reviews. You can only leave a review of a property and owner on AirBnB if you have completed a booking which means that the reviews are authentic.
Caravan Parks and Camping Near Australia Zoo
For caravan parks and camping options near Australia Zoo the best options are:
- Big 4 Caloundra Waterfront Holiday Park is located in Caloundra. Accommodation options include powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
- Big 4 Forest Glen Resort which is located near the Big Pineapple, 23km from Australia Zoo and is centrally located for most Sunshine Coast activities. Accommodation options include powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
Other nearby caravan park and camping options include:
- Landsborough Pines Caravan Park (the closest to Australia Zoo) offers powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
- Ocean View Caravan Park offers powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
- Dicky Beach Family Holiday Park offers powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
- Golden Beach Holiday Park offers powered camping and caravan sites as well as on site cabins.
- Coochin Creek Camping Ground offers unpowered caravan and camping sites.
- Glasshouse Mountains Camping Ground offers powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites.
How to Have an Experience Similar to Australia Zoo in Sydney and Canberra
If you can’t get to Australia Zoo there are many other great zoo options in Australia with Australian animals (and some with crocodile shows) with my recommended options as follows:
- Brisbane – Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
- Gold Coast – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sydney – Taronga Zoo, Wildlife Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park
- Canberra – National Zoo and Aquarium
- Melbourne – Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary
- Adelaide – Adelaide Zoo
- Perth – Perth Zoo
- Darwin – Territory Wildlife Park and Crocosaurus Cove (where you can swim with the crocs), and if you want to see the crocodiles in the wild then check out the Adelaide River Cruises Jumping Crocodile Cruise
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