Another highlight during my trip along the Sunshine Coast was my visit at the Australia Zoo. Australia Zoo is a 100-acre zoo located just 45 minutes north of Brisbane on Steve Irwin Way, near Beerwah/the Glass House Mountains. It is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter made the zoo a popular tourist attraction.
Australia Zoo was opened by Bob and Lyn Irwin on 3 June 1970 under the name Beerwah Reptile and fauna Park. Their son Steve had helped his parents since childhood to care for crocodiles and reptiles and to maintain the growing number of animals in the zoo. In 1982 the park was renamed to the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park and the area was doubled with the purchase of another 4 acres (1.6 ha). Steve and Terri changed the name of their now growing wildlife park to Australia Zoo. As filming generated extra funds, Steve and Terri put all money raised from filming and merchandise into conservation and building new exhibits.
It is now the home of some of Australia’s most unique and amazing wildlife, as well as some remarkable animals from overseas. Visitors will see a wide variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles, and can view crocodile feedings, hand-feed giraffes, and have hands-on animal encounters with wombats and koalas. In my opinion Australia Zoo is more like a wildlife park instead of a traditional zoo. They make sure everything is species appropriate, they teach visitors about wildlife, nature and endangered species and help us build an emotional relationship with the animals so that we can actually relate to them and their natural environment. In my opinion, this is the right concept to go for any kind of zoo and I have to admit, that – so far – it’s my favorite zoo in the world – and I have visited A LOT!
I was so thrilled to meet Terri Irwin and her team and had a wonderful, private zoo tour, including pretty amazing encounters!
photo credentials: V’s World