Featherdale Wildlife Park was one of the highlights of our trip to Sydney. Towards the end of our day trip to the blue mountains, and following a long yet informative documentary about kangaroos, we arrived at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
We beat the queue because we were part of a larger group with priority entry. Once you get inside you realise how many visitors can fit in the place. It is deceptively big. There is almost a set route to follow, meeting the residents on the way. They also have a game to play as you go; collecting all the stamps for the animals on the card. So off we set.
One of the first things that you’ll notice is that a lot of animals are free to roam around. Those more dangerous are kept in enclosures – looking at you cassowaries.
There’s also several ‘feeding stations’ where you can get a small pot of food to hand feed the furry folk. Although given we got there in the afternoon I think a lot of them had already gorged themselves. They weren’t too fussed about Nic’s food. Still, it was nice to get up close and personal. Although it wasn’t my first time getting up-close and personal with the kangaroos.
We checked out most of the animals in the initial open enclosure and were fortunate enough to see two joeys sparring.
The next section was particularly busy; a koala enclosure. You could get close to these little guys which made it great for snapping pics. Given the difficulty of finding koalas on the Great Ocean Road, the ease was welcome.
Can you hold a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park?
No, you can’t hold a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park. That luxury is reserved for the staff that work there. It’s against the law to hold a koala in New South Wales without the correct accreditation. You can get experiences with some of the other critters.
There are other smaller koala enclosures littered around Featherdale Wildlife Park, but this one was the best. We even managed to see one drop to the ground and try to bolt for the exit. They’re much quicker than you might expect from an animal that spends so much time sleeping. I hope he/she wasn’t too startled by the army of onlookers.
At this point, it becomes a little more zoo-like. You can choose your route, and there are a lot more cages. Though, they serve to keep the birds from flying away.
Unfortunately, this is roughly when the weather started to turn, and we needed to speed up if we wanted to see everything. We were still desperate to find those elusive stamps.
In all honesty, I was surprised to find my all-time favourite bird here. I’ve only ever seen them from a distance in the wild, but Featherdale Wildlife Park allowed me to see the native peregrine falcon in the flesh. Eating its dinner no less!
That kind of took some of the shine from the other animals, including the original good boy, the resident dingo. It turns out that the dingo stamp was missing, as well as the crocodile, which left us a little disheartened. I did, however, quickly learn how to get a few pics of animals through the cages.
Having walked through various enclosures, seeing the kangaroos, wallabies, emus, cassowaries, crocodiles, dingoes, koalas, and my favourite falcon, we headed towards the cafe/gift shop/exit, snapping a few brightly plumed parrots on the way.
Our reward? A collection of all the missing stamps that had either been absent, broken, or too damn hard to find. It was time to leave Featherdale and head back to Sydney, but I already wanted to go back.
If you’re planning a trip to Sydney or the Blue Mountains, I’d recommend at least considering Featherdale Wildlife Park for your itinerary. Of course, if you only want to see the animals Sydney is also the home of Taronga Zoo.
Featherdale wildlife park vs Taronga zoo
If you’re an animal lover like me you’ll likely be trying to figure out which is the better option, particularly if you’re strapped for time.
I’d say the easiest way to figure this out depends on whether you have children with you. Featherdale Wildlife Park is smaller, so there’s significantly less walking. You can park right outside and feed the animals there too. As far as children are concerned it’s more engaging.
Taronga Zoo has a much better variety of animals, and you can enjoy the ferry ride across to the zoo too. But, the zoo is much bigger so you’ll find yourself doing much more walking around. There are a lot of slopes and hills to navigate. If you’re not particularly fussed about getting too close to the animals, or the bigger crowds, Taronga is the place to go.
How far is Featherdale Wildlife Park from Sydney?
You’ll find Featherdale Wildlife Park 38 kilometres from the centre of Sydney. It isn’t too far, but it’s far enough that you might want to package it in with a few other sights.
You’ll find it features on a lot of itineraries for day trips to the Blue Mountains. So, if you’re aiming to visit both, then that’s probably the best way to go about it.