Kangaroos in Sydney: Visitor's Guide

Sydney's skyline and opera house and harbour bridge at night

Kangaroos in Sydney are less common than you might expect. Although kangaroos and its close relatives the wallabies can be found basically everywhere in Australia, they do not really like living in the big, busy and urban city of Sydney. A friend of mine recently asked me about kangaroos in Sydney and that got me thinking what are the best places to see kangaroos in Sydney? 

It’s tough to see wild kangaroos in Sydney, you might see some wild kangaroos or wallabies in the outskirts of Sydney, for example at Western Sydney Parklands or Garigal National Park. The best way to see kangaroos in Sydney is to go to Taronga Zoo Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park or Wildlife Sydney Zoo.

Where can I see kangaroos in Sydney?

Place Chance of seeing kangaroos Chance of getting close Pat and feed a kangaroo or joey Entry fee Variety of animals
Featherdale Wildlife Park almost guaranteed yes yes, book their “cute and cuddly” encounter Adult: $34, Child: $19, click here to check prices for families great variety
Taronga Zoo Sydney almost guaranteed depends you can pat kangaroos if they come to you Click here to check the current entry fee great variety
Wildlife Sydney Zoo almost guaranteed likely You can pet the kangaroos if advised by the keeper, but you can’t feed them if you book online: Adult: $35 Child: $ 24.6 mostly Australian animals
Western Sydney Parklands low, best in the late afternoon or early morning unlikely not recommended and extremely unlikely free local wildlife, mostly birds and sometimes kangaroos or wallabies
Garigal National Park low, best in the late afternoon or early morning unlikely not recommended and extremely unlikely $8 per vehicle per day (applies at Davidson Park only) local wildlife, mostly birds and sometimes kangaroos or wallabies

Best Places to See Kangaroos in Sydney

Do you want to see wild kangaroos in Sydney?

I’m willing to bet the answer is yes, we all do!

You definitely have to be creative to see wild kangaroos in Sydney. This busy urban city isn’t the perfect habitat where kangaroos and its close relatives the wallabies or wallaroos want to live. Kangaroos prefer wide-open plains where they can graze in the late afternoon and early morning. They also like forests that provide them shelter during the day. In contrast, wallabies prefer bushy areas with dense vegetation on the ground. That’s hard to find in Sydney. 

If you really want to see wild kangaroos in Sydney go to the Western Sydney Parklands or Garigal National Park - without any guarantee of success. 

If you have a tight schedule, you’d be better off going to Featherdale Wildlife Park, Wildlife Sydney Zoo or Taronga Zoo. They are easily accessible by public transport and you will most likely see plenty of kangaroos and wallabies. 

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Featherdale Wildlife Park is on the western outskirts of Sydney, about 40 minutes and 35 km away from Sydney CBD. 

Why you should go to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney: It’s the perfect place to actually get close to kangaroos in Sydney. There are walk-through enclosures where you can feed and pet kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons. Kangaroos, wallabies, and pademelons are very alike in body structure, kangaroos are bigger than wallabies and pademelons are some of the smallest of the macropods (the family of kangaroos). 

You will be able to take nice photos with them if you like. They sell kangaroo food for about $3 per coup. That usually helps to attract kangaroos. 

The best place to get close to joeys

If you want to get close to joeys book the “cute/cuddly” encounter in advance. It’s not cheap, at the time of writing the price was $80 per adult and $60 per child, but that already includes the admission to Featherdale Wildlife Park. But if you want to get close to joeys its probably best to do that at Featherdale. Never try to get close or even touch joeys in the wild! 

Other things to see at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney: Besides having kangaroos, wallabies, and pademelons, Featherdale is one of the few places where you can get close to other animals like koalas, birds (kookaburras, buzzards, emus, penguins …), reptiles (snakes, pythons, lizards, monitors, turtles, frogs, spiders, …), Tasmanian Devils, and other endangered species. 

This place won the best Major Tourist Attraction award in 2005 and 2009 and many celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith, Kristen Stewart, and Robert De Niro have already visited the place. 

You can spend several hours there, it’s on 7 acres of land and you won’t get bored with this animal diversity. It’s particularly interesting for oversea visitors who don’t have much time in Australia. 

How to get to Featherdale Wildlife Park

Taronga Zoo Sydney

If I’m being honest I have never been a huge fan of zoos. 

Taronga Zoo is a little bit different, though. 

Why you should go to Taronga Zoo in Sydney: It’s all about the views! It’s probably the most spectacular view of any zoo when you go there. Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo Wharf on a beautiful sunny day and you’ll have a perfect view over Sydney harbor. 

Taronga Zoo Sydney is also one of the best places to see kangaroos in Sydney. 

Taronga Zoo Sydney was officially opened more than 100 years ago. It’s a place to see giraffes in front of Sydney's skyline

There’s an Australian Walkabout with red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, agile wallabies, red-necked wallabies, and tammar wallabies. The Australian Walkabout is an area where kangaroos and other animals are free range and guests are advised to remain on the path. But if a kangaroo hops by and says hello you’re welcome to give it a gentle pat. However, you can’t feed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Check out this article on why you can’t feed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo

How to get to Taronga Zoo Sydney and which ticket should you get?

You should definitely combine these two questions. 

I’d recommend you to do it like that: 

  1. Go to Circular Quay and take the ferry F2 to Taronga zoo ferry wharf. Use your opal card, it’s simple and cheap. Enjoy the view on the ferry, it’s one of the best things about the whole Taronga experience. 
  2. Arrive at Taronga zoo ferry wharf and either take the bus or gondola to the entrance. Head toward the gondola. The gondola is included in your zoo entry so buy your ticket in advance. 
  3. Once again, enjoy the view of the opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Soak up amazing Sydney Harbour views from the gondola (they call it Sky Safari) and catch a glimpse of some animals. 
  4. The gondola takes you to the entrance at the top of the hill. 

Get your ticket before you go to Taronga, so you can take the gondola to the entrance and jump the queues. 

Should you get the Taronga zoo and ferry pass?

Captain Cook Cruises operates fast ferries from Circular Quay, Watsons Bay and Darling Harbour to Taronga zoo ferry wharf. The Taronga Zoo Express ticket includes the ferry to the zoo and back to Sydney’s top ferry wharfs, the entry fee to Taronga zoo and the Sky Safari cable car. This ticket, however, could be slightly more expensive than buying the entry fee to Taronga zoo and using the Opal card separately. Click here to check the current prices. 

Wild Life Sydney Zoo

This wildlife park in the City of Sydney is located at Darling Harbour, in the heart of Sydney. This zoo is specialized in the animals of Australia, you’ll see koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, wombats, platypus, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, the super cute quokka and lots of other animals. 

I’d recommend to go there early in the morning, not just to beat the crowds but Australian wildlife is often nocturnal and most active between dusk and the morning. This means the majority of animals are very active, especially the kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. 

It’s a small place so I combined my visit to Wild Life Sydney Zoo with a visit to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Take your time and enjoy every animal you can see. You can get extremely close to most animals, though. 

Can you pat kangaroos at Wildlife Sydney Zoo?

At Wildlife Sydney Zoo you’ll find the eastern grey kangaroos, agile wallabies, and the kangaroo island kangaroos at the kangaroo walkabout. They can roam around freely and visitors can walk through this area. It’s up to the animals whether they get close to you. 

It’s designed in a way that kangaroos can always have their privacy but the place is built in a way that you can always see the wildlife from lookout points. 

Can you feed kangaroos at Wildlife Sydney Zoo?

You cannot feed kangaroos at Wildlife Sydney Zoo. Last time I visited Wildlife Sydney Zoo they offered a kangaroo keeper talk at 3 pm where you can learn more about kangaroos.  

Western Sydney Parklands

The Western Sydney Parklands are not an individual park. It’s a group of parks in Sydney’s western suburbs. There are regular sightings of mobs of eastern grey kangaroos and swamp wallabies. Because it’s not a controlled environment there is no guarantee to see wild kangaroos or wallabies. There are better and worse times to go there, though. Kangaroos are least active at 12 pm and they are most active in the hour before sunrise and at sunset. 

Western Sydney Parklands are 40 km and 40 minutes east of Sydney CBD. 

Garigal National Park

You won’t see kangaroos but there is a chance to see swamp wallabies in this national park. Wallabies are, in general, harder to find than kangaroos. The easiest way to see kangaroos is to go to open grasslands in the late afternoon. Usually, a mob of kangaroos grazes in the evening. Wallabies, however, prefer forests and areas with dense vegetation on the ground. This means you have to rely on your ears to hear wallabies hopping in the bushes. 

Garigal National Park is 18 km and 25 minutes north of Sydney CBD. 

Why You Won’t See Wild Kangaroos in Sydney

You will have noticed that it’s not so easy to see wild kangaroos in Sydney. Kangaroos, in general, are shy animals and hop away as soon as they see humans. Sydney offers just a few places where kangaroos feel comfortable. It’s a vibrant and highly urbanized city and large areas of grassland and forests are hard to find. Additionally, cars are a real threat to kangaroos and wallabies. Kangaroos behave like deers, they hop across streets when a car is approaching and they often won’t hop away when they are standing on the street and a car’s headlights dazzle the animal. 

Just go to Places Close to Sydney

a young kangaroo grazing at Murramarang National Park NSW

It’s not easy to see wild kangaroos in Sydney. Go to places close to Sydney instead. 

New South Wales offers a tremendous amount of great locations to actually see wild kangaroos. Many of them are just an hour away from Sydney CBD. I know from my own experience that it makes a huge difference whether you see wildlife in a zoo or in its actual habitat. Many kangaroos in the most well-known places are quite tame, though. Is it a good or a bad thing? I don’t know, but it’s good that you can get quite close to some wild kangaroos. 

The best places to get close to wild kangaroos near Sydney

I’ve really enjoyed the Blue Mountains, Murramarang National Park, and the Jervis Bay area. Check out this article to learn more about my 10 favorite places to see wild kangaroos near Sydney.