Cairns Tropical Zoo

The kids stare transfixed through the mesh of the fence as the crocodile keeper jiggles a hunk of meat. You can all see the large shadow of a 5-metre crocodile gliding through the water towards its keeper. Suddenly, the large beast erupts out of the pool, and snaps at the meat. Your kids gasp as the keeper backs away, holding the prize higher instead of letting go. He keeps backing as the crocodile advances, but at last he throws the meat into the crocodile’s gaping jaws, and the beast pauses to eat. Bursting into relieved, excited chatter, your kids haul you away to the next exhibit.

Price range


Contact details

Captain Cook Hwy, Palm Cove (27 km north of Cairns); (07) 4055 3669

Don't Miss

■ The kangaroo enclosure, where you can pat and hand-feed tame eastern grey kangaroos.

■ The birds of prey walk-through aviary. Some of the birds, such as tawny frogmouths, are masters of disguise, so move slowly and see how many you can spot.
■ The free-flight bird show, which includes the wedge-tailed eagle, the barn owl and several cockatoos.
■ The snake show, where you might get a chance to pat the stars!
■ The crocodile show, when the keeper enters the enclosure to feed a huge, 300-kilogram ‘saltie’.

Fabulous Facts

One of the birds on display is the southern cassowary, an endangered resident of the rainforests. These birds are famous for vicious behaviour, as they have killed several people with their knife-like claws. Despite their attacking abilities, they are not large meat-eaters. They feed mainly on fruit, occasionally picking up a small mammal, bird or lizard. The purpose for the hard ‘casque’ on their heads is not known!

Insider Tips

■ You can purchase tickets that combine entry to this zoo with Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures and Kuranda Koala Gardens.

■ This is a small, manageable zoo; allow two to three hours for your visit.
■ Most of the animals are more active in the morning.
■ Check the daily schedule so you don’t miss any shows.
■ There is a cafe with views of the zoo’s lovely tropical gardens.
■ Koala cuddles are available (extra cost).

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