Imagine waking up to not just the sound of birds, but elephants, tigers, chimpanzees and gorillas too. This extraordinary experience is what awaits guests of Taronga Zoo’s all-new Wildlife Retreat, set to open this October.

Nestled in the centre of Sydney’s iconic zoo, this luxury eco-retreat will allow overnight visitors to get up-close with native Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.

Owned and operated by Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Wildlife Retreat has more than doubled the space for Australian wildlife by reclaiming unused land.

The project will significantly contribute to Taronga’s ongoing animal conservation programs both in Australia and overseas, as well as increasing employment opportunities in hospitality and tourism.

One of Sydney’s most famous attractions, Taronga Zoo cares for more than 4,000 animals across 350 species, many of which are threatened. Through its Wildlife Hospitals, the zoo helps rehabilitate 1,400 injured or orphaned native animals each year.

Expanding on the zoo’s Roar and Snore glamping experience, the new permanent accommodations by Cox Architecture will consist of five lodges housing a total 62 designer rooms and suites.

Guests can choose from a Bushland Room, Animal View Room, Harbour View Room or a Treetop Suite – all surrounded by a lush sanctuary home to koalas, native birds, echidnas and platypus.

“For a zoo to remain relevant, it must constantly evolve,” says Taronga Zoo CEO Cameron Kerr. “Through the Wildlife Retreat, we will foster genuine connections between people and Australia’s fascinating wildlife and inspire them to care as passionately as we do about our most precious residents.

“Guests will leave not only rejuvenated, but also with the knowledge that their stay has made a meaningful difference to wildlife and its conservation.”

In fitting with Taronga’s commitment to sustainability, the Wildlife Retreat has been environmentally designed with a minimal carbon footprint and aims for a 5-star Green Star rating.

It features rooftop-mounted solar power systems, cross-laminated timber to naturally heat and cool the building, recycled water from Taronga’s on-site water treatment plant, WELS water-efficient fittings, LED lights and energy-efficient appliances.

Prices start at A$790 per night for two adults, which includes a buffet breakfast, two-course dinner at Me-Gal restaurant, guided walking tours, admission to Taronga Zoo and exclusive animal encounters.

Heroing locally sourced, seasonal produce and exquisite wines, Me-Gal restaurant is inspired by the native Australian culinary environment.

Led by internationally renowned chef Gursu Mertel, it serves up signature dishes including Pan Seared Barramundi, NSW Beef Fillet and Fraser Island Spanner Crab.

The Wildlife Retreat sits next door to the Epicure at Taronga Zoo function venue, which boasts two stunning ballrooms, terrace and balcony spaces with panoramic views, multiple meeting rooms and garden courts, plus an exquisite food and drink selection.

The Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo will open on October 10, 2019. Click here to book.

For the chance to sleep with some of Africa’s rarest animals, head to the luxury Jamala Lodge in Canberra – where you’ll share accommodation with tigers, meerkats, lemurs and giraffes.