Sydney's Taronga Zoo plans AU$44m eco-resort to draw international visitors

Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, is seeking permission to develop a AU$44m (US$32.1m, €29.6m, £21.3m) eco-resort inside the zoo in an effort to draw more international visitors to the harbourside attraction.

The eco-resort masterplan will "deliver a new overnight conservation experience", according to a planning document from the zoo, which will allow visitors "total immersion" within the Australia Habitat section of the zoo, which showcases native animals and fauna.

The eco-resort will comprise five luxury pods wrapped around a wildlife sanctuary to house animals including wallabies, echidnas, bandicoots, platypus, koalas and freshwater eels. Each pod will range in height from two to four storeys, offering 58 bedrooms and four suites in total. The development will also include a four-storey kitchen and dining facility, as well as a guest lodge housing a bar and reception area.

In addition to the new eco-resort, the plans envisage construction of a kangaroo habitat, aviaries, landscaping, a new walk-through exhibition and other changes to signage and viewing platforms for Australia Habitat.

As part of the submission to the NSW government department of Planning and Environment, Taronga Zoo said the resort would be “tucked inside” its prime harbourside site. The document also says the development will attract international and interstate visitors "looking for a unique nature-based experience close to the city" as well as mid-week corporate events and domestic visitors looking for a "special night or weekend away."

The application has been classed as a state significant development, meaning its fate will be determined by minister for planning, John Rau. The development will be funded internally by the zoo, with revenues generated used to support conservation programmes for threatened species.

Zoo officials are hoping to start construction in 2017, once full planning approval has been granted. An environmental impact statement is yet to be conducted.

"As phase one of the Australian Habitat and Wildlife Retreat project are still in the approvals process and have not been let to tender yet," a spokesperson told AM2. "Architects and contractors’ details are yet to be determined."

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Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, is seeking permission to develop a AU$44m (US$32.1m, €29.6m, £21.3m) eco-resort inside the zoo in an effort to draw more international visitors to the harbourside attraction. The eco-resort masterplan will "deliver a new overnight conservation experience", according to a planning document from the zoo, which will allow visitors "total immersion" within the Australia Habitat section of the zoo, which showcases native animals and fauna. The
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Zoo officials are hoping to draw international visitors to the park with the resort option
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