I had one goal for the trip to Australia: hugging a koala. This was a little more difficult than you might think; it's only legal in Queensland province, and there are strict rules about how long the koalas can work per day and how much rest they're permitted away from the affectionate public. My dream came true in Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which has 130+ koalas as well as kangaroos, wallabys, wombats, platypus, Tasmanian devils, kookaburras, and many other exotic (to us) animals. Presentations and demonstrations happen all day long, but don't forget to set aside a few minutes for the extremely popular koala-hug photos. My koala was a smallish, woolly female who rested comfortably against my chest and calmly looked at the camera like a true pro. Lone Pine is absolutely a must-do day trip if you're in Brisbane — as the Aussies say, you can't go past it!
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Koala Hugging Heals the Soul
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is not to be missed. It's clean, well-kept, and not at all included in the category of petting zoo. Animals are taken care of, and proceeds from sales goes back into maintaining excellent conditions for the animals.
Feed a kangaroo, hold a koala, pet a dingo, ruffle the feathers of an emu--all possible at Lone Pine. A day at LP is an affordable daytime activity for solo travelers or families. If you're into Aussie animals, this is the place to see and experience them up close.
Also, wifi is available throughout the grounds, so immediate upload of adorable koala pics to social media networks is a plus!
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - A Safe Haven for Tourists
While there are many wildlife parks to choose from in Australia, few come as quaint and authentic as Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on the banks of the Brisbane River.
When we first moved to Brisbane, we put off visiting this well-known tourist spot, assuming it would be a tourist trap full of souvenirs, long queues and tour busses.
When we finally broke down and went for our first “Aussie animal encounter," the entire family was absolutely moved by the boutique-style zoo. We pinched ourselves all day -- we were so clearly in Australia now!
The classic tourist experience you can embrace or skip is having a photo taken holding a furry koala or a substantial python for a small fee.
Holding a koala is not allowed in most Australian states — and while I had my reservations about the ethical aspects of it, it is still one of my favorite Aussie moments. The staff use the encounter as a teachable moment for the whole family. I felt privileged to be nose-to-nose with such a gentle and fragile creature whose future is not looking so good at the moment.