From the very moment we found out that we would have a week in NSW, Australia, I knew that I wanted to hold a koala. After further research, I found out that you actually have to go up to Queensland to hold them, but Derik and I were open to a little road trip! We hopped into our sweet new rental car, graciously provided by Europcar , and hit the road bound for Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
We arrived in Brisbane at night, and stayed in an adorable little apartment overlooking the harbor. Unfortunately in the morning we woke up to a downpour, and I was worried my hopes and dreams of cuddling koalas and feeding kangaroos at Lone Pine would be dashed.
After reading a few reviews online about it being ok to visit during the rain (due to the enclosed koala shelters and ponchos for purchase), we headed on over. Luckily for us, due to the rain, Lone Pine wasn’t that busy even with the national holiday weekend.
Rated as one of the ‘Top 10 Zoos in the World’ by AOL, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the world’s oldest (founded in 1927) and largest koala sanctuary. They’ve had more than 80 years of experience with Koalas, and they also house many other animals (kangaroos, snakes, birds, dingos, and more). The sanctuary was created to help preserve Australian wildlife. I was impressed with the care and attention each species of animals were given, and the animal enclosures were absolutely spotless.
The primary attraction at Lone Pine is, of course, the Koala holding. You can actually hold one of these cuddly little animals for free, and that makes this sanctuary stand out even more as it’s one of the only places in the world that allows you to do this. If you wish to have your picture taken (by you or a professional photographer) you do need to purchase a photo ticket though ($16). There are 130 koalas at the park, and each gets held (if they feel like it) for a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Koalas are super picky, and there are certain ones that just might not ‘like’ you. Derik’s Koala was chill with him immediately, but I went through three Koalas before one named ‘Buckley’ liked me enough to hold on to me. HA! I must not be that much of a Koala whisperer.
Playing and petting kangaroos is free as well! If you wish to purchase a bag of feed (looks like rabbit food) for them to eat, it’s only $3, and will last you quite a while if you’re not overly generous with the handouts at first.
The entry fee is $33 per adult, and Derik and I thought this was more than reasonable after spending a day in the sanctuary. The money you spend on your ticket goes right back into everything they do there, and with all the animal interactions and things we learned in the park, you get your money’s worth!