In a GIANT day for a special tortoise at the Australian Reptile Park, beloved resident Hugo the Galapagos tortoise has a lot of candles to blow out today as he hits the massive milestone and of turning 72 years old! The day was full of celebration, with keepers presenting him with a delicious cake featuring watermelon and hibiscus – decorated on a three-tier cake topped with miniature versions of Hugo and Estrella carved out of melons!

The cake was presented to Hugo by keepers and he excitedly (and… very… slowly) approached it before devouring it as quick as he could manage. The fruits are a special rare treat for Hugo, something keepers know Hugo looks forward to every year! After the cake, made by local Central Coast cake maker Cakes By Kyla, Hugo went on his daily walk to receive more pats and love from visitors who came to the Australian Reptile Park to say happy birthday to one of its most famous residents.

Hugo is the oldest resident currently living at the Australian Reptile Park and has called the wildlife sanctuary near Gosford, just north of Sydney, home since 1963.  He has now reached middle age and is expected to live well over 150 years. At 183kgs, he is fully grown and one of the Australian Reptile Park’s most iconic animals.

Head of Reptiles, Jake Meney explains “Anyone who meets Hugo knows he is not your regular tortoise. He is full of personality and will greet anyone with a big smile! I love working with him and watching everyone’s faces light up when they see him for the first time.”

Mr Meney continues, “I always say if you didn’t give Hugo’s shell a rub, you haven’t visited the Australian Reptile Park! It really does give you good luck!”

Visitors can see Hugo at the Australian Reptile Park every single day during the school holidays and even accompany Hugo on his daily walk at 12:30pm. Guests looking for a more personal experience can book a Behind the Scenes tour where they can meet Hugo, enter his enclosure, feed him and give him lots of pats.

The Galapagos tortoise’s diet consists of any green vegetation they can find, along with fibrous vegetation such as grass, tree bark and cacti. In captivity the tortoises will eat carrots, bamboo stalks, hibiscus leaves and flowers, Lucerne hay and other foods that are high in fibre with the odd piece of fruit as a treat.

The Australian Reptile Park is accepting the Parents NSW vouchers and the Spring school holidays is the perfect opportunity to use the vouchers provided by the NSW Government through Service NSW with the promotion finishing on 9 October 2022. For those looking for an extra special experience, animal encounters can be booked with Tasmanian devil joeys, koalas, baby Komodo dragons and more! For more information on these amazing behind-the-scenes tours, head to