I had already been traveling along Australia’s east coast for three weeks – and still not seen a single kangaroo or koala. Quite sad about that I tried to figure out if there is any kind of zoo in Brisbane that has Australia’s famous animals. If I couldn’t see them in the nature (actually, later on I did see countless of wild cangaroos on the country’s highway) I thought it is time to force my luck a bit and go to the zoo.
I didn’t need to to a lot of research, the girl at my hostel’s travel agency told me there is a popular koala sanctuary right here in Brisbane. It is called Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and actually the first and largest koala sanctuary in the world. And they don’t only have over 130 koalas living there, but an equal number of kangaroos and wallabies, along with many other Australian natives such as dingoes, wombats, emus and lots of others.
So how to get to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary?
Going from downtown Brisbane you can conveniently take a bus like I did from Adelaide Street (Stop 40, Bus number 445) or from Queen Street Bus Station (Platform B4, Bus number 430) that takes you directly all the way to the entrance of the Koala Sanctuary without needing to change the bus. The ticket fare is $6.70 for adults and $3.40 for children, pensioners and students (with valid ID). Depending on the traffic the trip takes 30 to 45 minutes.
For a more scenic way to get to the Koala Sanctuary you can also take the “Mirimar Boat” that leaves from the Cultural Centre Pontoon daily at 10am. It’s a 19km (12 miles) or 1 hour and 15 minute ride upstream on the river and all the way from the heart of Brisbane through the suburbs and right to the entrance of the sanctuary (that is located on the river). The boat returns back to the city at 1:45pm. There are two types of ticket options: One way boat fare $27.50 for adults, $24.50 concession and $16.50 for children (aged 3-13). Or you take the whole round trip package that also includes entrance to the sanctuary, tickets are $65 for adults, $57.50 concession and $38 for children.
Of course you can also take a taxi (between $20 and $40 from Brisbane City) or drive there with your own car. Both options take about 30 minutes. There is quite a useful instruction showing you how to go there with your own vehicle on their website, check it out here.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Once at the entrance, you purchase your day ticket which is somewhere around $22 for children (3-13) and $33 for adults. There are student, concession (including YHA member) and other discount groups available that pay around $25.
Once inside, the action begins. It’s like a zoo but what I really liked is that they have lots of animals walking around just like that, like the emu you can see on the picture above or all the kangaroos that have a huge green park for themselves in the center of the park – also without fences.
It was already in the late afternoon when I took this picture with the koala. Normally they charge you five dollars for the picture. But then you can also take him on your arms. I just showed up there as they were about to close for the day and asked if I could please have only one picture taken with that cute koala. The zoo keeper kindly said “ok, sure” and within seconds I had my koala picture taken – for free. Of course I would have also paid the five dollars as it’s normally impossible to take a picture like that in the nature. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the place to go for your great shot with the koala – but don’t underestimate the fun hanging out with all the kangaroos!