It is impossible to go past the undeniably cute faces of koalas – tiny black noses, fluffy grey ears and an unquenchable lust for eucalypt leaves makes them Australia’s most iconic animal. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the best place to get up close and personal with a koala, as well as an array of other native Australian animals.
If it is cuddles with a koala that you are after, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the place to go. A short bus ride from the centre of Brisbane, nestled in natural bushland, is Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the first and largest koala sanctuary in the world. Over 130 koalas call Lone Pine home, as does an abundance of other native Australian animals – there’s plenty of kangaroos, possums, Tasmanian Devils, echidnas, dingoes, emus and cassowaries to keep visitors entertained. Established in 1927, the sanctuary is at the forefront of koala conservation and education.
The highlight of any visit to Lone Pine is the chance to take a photo holding a koala, but there’s much more on offer. Over 130 kangaroos and wallabies that roam freely around a large enclosure are happy to pose for photos, and the local flock of rainbow lorikeets enjoy being hand fed. If you’re up for something scalier, a snake or baby crocodile can also be cuddled – or held at a distance, if that’sa bit easier to handle – and there’s the opportunity for photos with owls and wedge-tailed eagles. Handlers frequently run interactive demonstrations and shows to teach visitors about the wildlife they are handling.
Lone Pine is a 35-minute bus ride south of the centre of Brisbane, but the best way to get there is by boat – Mirimar II cruises depart from the Cultural Centre pontoon at 10am daily, returning to the city at 1.45pm. Mirimar takes a little over an hour to cruise down the Brisbane River to Lone Pine, giving visitors the chance to lay back, soak up the sun on the deck and watch the stunning riverside scenery fly past.