Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nothing symbolizes Australia around the world more than koalas and kangaroos, and there’s an ideal spot in Brisbane, Queensland’s sparkling, modern capital city, where those two characters steal the show.
The creatures take front and center stage at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, located just 50 miles from the Gold Coast.
Visitors can hand-feed the bounding kangaroos and have their photos taken with the cuddly koalas at Lone Pine, rated one of the “Top 10 Zoos of the World” by AOL.
The facility, established in 1927 with just two koalas named “Jack” and “Jill,” now features more than 130 koalas, and 100 species of native Australian animals. In addition to hugging a koala, visitors can hold a snake, an owl or an eagle.
Almost as varied as the types of animals are the ways you can experience them. Be sure to check out “Daily Talk Times,” a detailed breakdown of when and where you can attend animal encounters and keeper presentations to learn more about some of the animals. Examples include a Sheepdog and Sheep Shearing Show, Wild Lorikeet Feeding, the Barn Animal Encounter and a Platypus Feeding and Keeper Presentation.
Those looking for a more intimate encounter can book VIP Wildlife Experiences. Designed for groups of up to six guests, they offer hands-on experiences with tours to fit any budget. For example, youths will never forget becoming Junior & Teen Keeper for a Day, which allows them to spend the day with experienced wildlife education officers. Covering all areas of Lone Pine, participants learn to care for wildlife, including preparing food, cleaning enclosures, training birds of prey and, of course, cuddling koalas.
For adults seeking the ultimate tour experience, there’s the Platinum Tour, offering intimate wildlife encounters and behind-the-scenes access to everything a wildlife sanctuary keeper does in a given day. You can take photos of presentations, feeding, health checks, training and more. Get hands-on with reptiles, raptors (birds of prey), koalas and dingoes, and a Lone Pine photographer will also take pictures of you in action.
The Platinum Tour includes morning tea and lunch, and VIP treatment at shows. Costs range from $620 for one person to $399 each person for groups of six. Sundays include a $300 surcharge (not per person).
Bring your own lunch and picnic at a spot of your choice. Many guests like to picnic along the river near the wild Lorikeet feeding area. Guests also are welcome to dine at two on-site eateries, The Sleepy Koala Café and The Riverside Café. Bringing alcohol to the preserve is not allowed, but both cafes sell beer and wine.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Tickets are $35 for an adult, $22 for a child age 3 to 13 (children younger than 3 are free), and $85 for a family (two adults and up to three children).
For more information, call (07) 3378 1366 or email: [email protected]