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so I'm sure its obvious to say that most people who come to Australia would like to see either a kangaroo or a koala or both at some point during their trip. I would say lone pine koala sanctuary in Brisbane was one of my many favourite days out in Australia to date.
As I had a car i drove straight to the sanctuary, however, there is the option to catch a boat from the city centre, along the river, which I must say I was very jealous of when i arrived as it looked fantastic. I was absolutely buzzing with excitement as i purchased my ticket and walked through the door- I was going to hold a koala! An actual koala!! I had never in my whole life seen a koala or a kangaroo before!
The main reason I wanted to visit Lone pine koala sanctuary was because it is one of the very few places in Australia that you are actually allowed to hold a koala yourself, and then have a photo taken so you can remember the memory for the rest of your life.
I purchased my ticket and queued up, waiting with anticipation for my turn. To my surprise the koala was actually quite heavy, and its nails were very sharp! I don't know if I was holding the koala incorrectly or maybe he was tired or nervous but his nails were digging into me so hard! It was a small price to pay for the photo though! - so sweet!
The excitement wasn't over though, despite the name of the sanctuary, there is a lot more to see. Walking through the park we also spotted dingos, wombats, all kinds of reptiles, Tasmanian devil...and another favourite of mine - kangaroos!
Despite it being a koala sanctuary, a large part of the park seemed to be dedicated to kangeroos, I wasn't complaining and I was a very happy girl, when I found out that you could purchase your own kangaroo food and hand feed them personally! Perfect photo opportunities.
I loved the personal interaction that you could have with the animals, a luxury that you cannot have at most zoos. I left that day with a great big smile on my face and would recommend this place to anyone who visits Brisbane.
The native wildlife is one of the biggest attractions in Australia, and although anybody travelling in the country for any length of time will have a decent chance of seeing many strange and wonderful creatures in their natural environment in the wild, there are some animals that are harder to spot - and if you don't have much time in Australia or won't travel outside cities, you chance of seeing them will be lower yet.
Among the iconic Aussie animals that are not particularly easy to see in the wild are koalas, although you might be lucky in some locations. Another is a platypus, which, being an aquatic creature, is almost impossible to see unless you spend a long time seeking or are very fortunate.
Still, many visitors will want to visit a zoo or an animal park that allows them to see a selection of native animals in one place. Those staying in Brisbane have an excellent choice of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a medium-sized zoo devoted to native animals of Australia, and particularly to its title koalas. It's apparently the largest koala sanctuary in the world, with over 120 of the bear-like marsupials living here. Additionally, they have several species of a kangaroo, wombats, tasmanian devils, wombats, echidnas, and various species of reptiles, as well as a platypus and numerous birds.
The Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Brisbane, within easy drive from the city and can be also reached by public transport (hourly bus no 430 from the city) and river cruise (that is NOT the regular TransLink ferries but a tourist cruise).
The zoo is open 8am to 5pm daily and the entrance costs (at the time of writing in 2010) 30 AUD for adults, 20 AUD for children over 3 years old and backpackers and 80 AUD for a family of two adults and up to three children.
The main attraction of Lone Pine are undoubtedly the koalas. You can see large numbers of them (grouped by life stage: eg young males, older females, mothers with joeys) in open-sided enclosures, sleeping or eating the eucalyptus leaves. Koalas spend about 4 hours a day eating and the rest of the day sleeping, as the diet they are adapted to is high-fibre and not particularly nutritious and they have a very slow metabolic rate and need to conserve energy.
The koalas in the Sanctuary move more energetically when fresh branches of eucalyptus are brought into their enclosures. They also grunt and bark: a strange, guttural noise, unexpected from such a round and furry creature. Watching mothers with joeys on their backs is particularly fun!
You can pat or hold koalas in the Lone Pine (this is inclued in the ticket price), and on an extra payment of 13 AUD you can have a picture taken while doing so (the payment for the picture allows you to take as many as you want with your own camera too). This is a highly managed and supremely artificial process, with a queue of visitors waiting in a row to hold an animal. Each koala that participates is only allowed to "work" for 30 minutes a day and you can see the staff maintain the record and returning the koalas to their enclosures after their shift finishes. There is no hard sell involved in the cuddle-plus-picture activity, and the staff members there genuinely don't seem to mind people queuing just to hold the animal. Koalas smell very strongly but rather nicely of eucalyptus and have very thick, soft, lovely fur that is lovely to the touch.
After koalas, the other showpiece of Lone Pine is their large paddock in which a big number of different species of kangaroo. You can buy a bag of food pellets and attempt to feed the 'roos, which also gives you the chance to pet them. On busy days, many of the animals are full and sated by the afternoon and show very little interest in food, mostly just lying down in the grass, dozing, with only some of standing sentinel quietly and watchfully.
In addition to koalas and kangaroos, Lone Pine has also wombats (they are huge!), tasmanian devils, echidnas and dingos. Plus, a recent arrival - a platypus, an amazing creature which, although in fact a primitive mammal, looks like a cross between an otter and a duck.
There is also a reptile house with many a snake (Australians revel in the number and lethal venomousness of their snakes) as well as some outdoor crocodile enclosures. Near the entrance, several cages hold miserable looking cockatoos and other birds - this display seems unnecessary and not in keeping with relative freedom afforded other animals in the Sanctuary.
There is a cafe selling fastfood and snacks inside the zoo, and outside, another one, and open air facility which has comfy sofas with a view of the river!
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an excellent choice if you want to visit a zoo or an animal park in or near Brisbane that showcases native Australian animals (particularly if you are interested in the mammals rather than reptiles or birds). It's relatively inexpensive (especially if taking a full advantage of the family or concession tickets) and manageable in a 2 to 3 hours visit (though you could easily spend more time here, especially if attanding all the shows and talks). The grounds are pleasantly forested, the setting nice near the river, the selection of animals is just right for those interested in native wildlife and the staff members are knowledgeable and helpful. The shows and talks that the Sanctuary offers are fairly interesting, and the kangaroo paddock is really fun. And finally, the koalas themselves very much steal the show: although having them amassed in such huge numbers certainly isn't very natural, they seem happy enough (and they prove it by breeding successfully) and are among the cutest animals there are. The choice to hold one (and to pay or not extra for the photo) is yours alone to make, but (barring the risk of being weed on) it's more fun that it seems and even those disliking such commercial gimmicks might be surprised by their reaction.
If you want a fully-fledged zoo with all the classic zoo animals like lions and tigers, or a theme-park freak show, Lone Pine will not satisfy and you'd be better forking out on the nearby Australia Zoo (or, if you can, visiting the Taronga Zoo in Sydney). Even better, wait until you get home as Europe and North America alike has excellent zoos with plenty of Old World animals for significantly lower prices than the big Australia zoos.
If you are only interested in koalas, they can be seen (but not held or touched) for free in Daisy Hill Koala Centre (25km from the city, acessible by public transport). If you are travelling further on in Queensland and will be near Rockhampton, you can see (and touch) them for free in Rockhampton's zoo. They can also be spotted in the wild (but never in large numbers) in certain locations inlcuding Magnetic Island.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an animal park set in the natural wildlife of Brisbane, Australia. This was one of the main reasons that we stopped off in Brisbane as it is the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, and home to over 130 of the cute little animals.
The koalas can be found in their own homes all over the sanctuary where they are separated by age and gender including the teenage boys, kindergarten and the retirement home. Due to the fact that they sleep 19 hours a day, the koalas will more than likely be asleep in the fork of a tree when you pay them a visit but, as this is their natural habit, this is the only place you would want to see them.
The main reason for the popularity of the park is the fact that you get the opportunity to hold and cuddle a koala. Many celebrities have taken part in this experience including Janet Jackson and even the Pope. You won't find this experience in many other places in Australia as koala cuddling is banned in New South Wales so the chance to do this really is very unique and a great Aussie experience. There are a range of options you can choose from including a big photo in a cardboard frame ($16), big calendar ($10), 8 postcards ($10) or a pack of 10 varied sized photos ($20). You can have the photo either alone or with anyone else you wish and the professional photographer will take a couple of snaps and print out the best one. The great thing about this is that you also get the time to take a few of your own snaps so that you have more memories of it and you get a bit longer with your koala. My husband and I each took turns in holding the koala on our own whilst the other took photos and then the photographer took our photo together for the main picture. They can get a little agitated after being held by a few different people but our one was lovely and friendly for us and just sat its bum in our hands without a care in the world. They're really soft and they actually put their arms around you and cuddle you back -I really wanted to take it home with me! They do smell a little bit though but it was so cute that this didn't matter a bit.
If you're not a koala fan you can also have your picture taken with some other animals including snakes, baby crocs and birds of prey.
At the back end of the park, there are huge fields covering 5 acres of land, containing hundreds of kangaroos and wallabies. You can buy bags of food to feed them with and this is also a very unique Aussie experience. They're all very friendly and will happily eat the food out of your hand and let you stroke them at the same time. We were feeding them for ages as there were so many and this is a wonderful thing for children as well as adults.
Various Shows take place at set times throughout the day including a sheep dog show and bird of prey show. The bird of prey show is a definite to see where you can view some huge birds swooping down from miles away and flying straight over your head.
Other native Australian residents of the sanctuary are echidnas (similar to hedgehogs), snakes, emus, wombats, Tasmanian devils, kookaburras, fruit bats and some gorgeous dingoes which you can stroke as they take their daily walk. At certain times of the day the beautiful rainbow lorikeet birds are fed and, if you're standing nearby to witness this, you will almost be deafened with their screeching.
There's a great café that sells hot and cold food and drinks and you can sit here and eat your lunch with all sorts of creatures walking around your feet including peacocks, chickens and huge lizards. Just be careful that they don't steal your lunch!
Entry prices are $25 (£12) for adults and $19 (£9) for children but, if you have a backpacker's card, you can receive 15% off.
It's not too far out of the centre of town, about a 15 minute drive, and hidden away down winding tree-filled lanes. You can take bus numbers 445 or 430 from the town centre, a taxi which will cost you about $20-25, or some hostels will drive you there for free.
Of all the wildlife parks and sanctuaries we visited whilst in Australia, this was easily one of the best. The connection and closeness you get with the animals is like nowhere else and, for this reason alone, this makes the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary one of the best Australian wildlife experiences.
The world's first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas.