EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.
SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion. Russell Shakespeare

FROM breathtaking hinterland where huge mountains tower over lush bushland to the stunning coast and all the amazing scenery in between, I am so lucky to live on Queensland's beautiful Sunshine Coast.

As a photographer, it is a perfect place to capture stunning images that convey the magnificence of this area and share it with the world.

I am so blessed to have the amazing childhood that I have, growing up in a zoo!

Australia Zoo has always been home and being surrounded by so many amazing animals and my family who are so very passionate about them has made me passionate as well.

This has sparked my love for photography.


I very much enjoy taking photos of the gorgeous animals we have at Australia Zoo. It is incredible to have the ability to share this with others; to inspire and empower people through photographs of the beauty found within our natural world.

Here on the Sunshine Coast, I love exploring and photographing the Glasshouse Mountains. Only a few minutes from Australia Zoo, the Glasshouse Mountains consist of 11 hills, each as uniquely amazing as the other.

Of an afternoon or early morning, I love photographing the mountains as the sun rises or sets. It casts a stunning glow of reds and oranges on the mountainsides, painting the sky with fiery red colours.


Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Robert Irwin

Another wonderful place to photograph would be the Kondalilla Falls. It is a great spot to take long exposure photographs to capture the movement of the impressive waterfalls.

Furthermore, there are some lovely hiking trails throughout the hills of the Maleny and Montville areas, where few people frequent and many remarkable botanical species can be found, as well as abundant bird life and wonderful scenery.

My family and I travel quite extensively with our conservation work and I get to experience astounding wildlife and wild places. That is why I love photographing the great places we visit, as I can share my experiences with people who might never get the opportunity to travel to that location.

From Africa to North America, I have taken many photos that convey stories about those particular places. I have had a really fun time sharing these stories through galleries, newspapers, magazines, photography competitions and even selling prints of my photos at Australia Zoo.


Black Rhino, South Africa.
Black Rhino, South Africa. Robert Irwin

Other than Australia, one of my favourite destinations to photograph would have to be Africa.

It has some of the most extraordinary wildlife on the planet including big cats, large herbivores like elephants and also a wide variety of bird and insect life, not to mention a myriad of unusual plant species.

My favourite animal species in Africa would certainly be the black rhino. It is a critically endangered species and it has almost become extinct through poaching, as the horn is considered extremely valuable by some and is used in traditional medicine.

Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warriors continue to support black rhino conservation at the Ol' Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya to reduce the amount of poaching and hopefully end poaching of these precious animals.

With so few left, I feel very privileged to have had the chance to photograph a few wild individuals of this perishing species this year while on a visit to the conservancy.

Another very special area to photograph is throughout North America, as there is such a variety of landscapes from mountains to large forests and even vast deserts.


Bald Eagle, Oregon, USA.
Bald Eagle, Oregon, USA. Robert Irwin

My mum grew up in Oregon, where we often visit family. Throughout the countryside there are many animals like small mammals, reptiles and a variety of birds, my favourite being one of the most iconic birds of prey, the bald eagle.

I have been lucky enough to see them hunting, flying overhead and even feeding their small, fluffy chicks. They are an animal that takes your breath away every time you see them.

Though we have a great time travelling, Australia Zoo and the Sunshine Coast will always be home.

At the zoo we have around 1200 animals, so there is always a new adventure every day.

Every year we celebrate Steve Irwin Day on November 15. It is a fun day where all of the visitors and staff at the zoo recognise everything my dad did for conservation and how he inspired so many people.


Crocodile Teeth, Northern Queensland, Australia.
Crocodile Teeth, Northern Queensland, Australia. Robert Irwin

My family and I love the Sunshine Coast, not just because of Australia Zoo but also its relaxing scenery and kind people, as well as the amazing wildlife and for me, the wonderful photography opportunities.

I have lived here my whole life, however I am always finding new and fun places to visit in this magnificent part of Australia and we are so lucky to call it home.

Topics:  australia zoo editors picks photography robert irwin

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