The Great Koala-Cuddling Expedition (At Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
There’s a faded old photo of me, aged four, cuddling a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane.
It was my first excursion without my parents, who had agreed to let Dad’s baby sister take me out for my birthday.
I don’t remember actually cuddling the koala but I do remember awaiting my aunt’s arrival at our house with great excitement, along with a HUGE sense of smug superiority because my sister wasn’t coming with us.
I hadn’t thought about Lone Pine or that photo for years. Not until my new IRL friend Tracey mentioned the place, saying it was a far cheaper Australian animal experience than Australia Zoo (which I briefly considered going to on our great kangaroo-spotting expedition).
And so the great koala-cuddling expedition was born, even though I am not usually an avid “attraction” visitor. But there’s a reason why these kinds of places are popular, right?
On a dreary wet day, my sister (the one who didn’t come with me last time), Miss M and I set off for Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Despite the dismal weather, we had a blast and Miss M got to meet some famous and not-so-famous Australian animals. We even got a sneaky kiss from a dingo!
We saw lots of super-cute koalas …
… but I baulked at paying another $20 to get a photo of us cuddling a koala. (I know, I know, I’m being super-stingey this trip, but it is a budget trip home. And we’d already paid an $80 entry fee for the three of us.)
We did see other people cuddle koalas, which was almost as good as cuddling one ourselves. The cuteness is almost too much to bear!
We also met …
… a cassowary ….
… a lovely dingo (who stuck his head into my sister’s bag and then licked my hand. And everyone knows canine licks are really kisses!!) …
… lots of wet kangaroos …..
… LOTS and LOTS of cute koalas ….
… and an owl …
Lone Pine is obviously used to dealing with budget travelers like us. (And school groups, of course.) There’s a huge picnic area behind the canteen, where my sister, Miss M and I ate our budget picnic lunch. Surrounding the picnic tables are even more koala enclosures and while we enjoyed our home-made sandwiches, we watched the koala keepers replenish the koala’s gum leaves. The excitement was too munch for one young buck, who celebrated the arrival of fresh food by doing laps of his pen. And if you think sleepy cuddly koalas are cute, you should see how adorable energetic earth-bound koalas are!
All in all, it was a great day out, despite the rain. Public buses run right to the front door of Lone Pine Sanctuary, making it accessible for everyone despite is far-flung location in suburban Brisbane.
I highly recommend Lone Pine, even if you (like me) consider yourself a traveler rather than a tourist. Travelers need to see cute fluffy animals too, right? Plus, I’m practically a local and I have been there twice.
8 years ago