Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things to do in Brisbane: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Entrance

Shady trees near entrance
A cafe at entrance
seating area of cafe

If you are travelling to Brisbane; Australia with your kids, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a lovely place to bring your kids to get up close with Australian animals. Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary is located at 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket Queensland about 30 mins drive away from Brisbane Airport or 15 mins drive from Brisbane City itself.  I love the place as I think the area is just nice for  a day out with kids without tiring us out too much (Australia Zoo was so big, it was difficult covering the whole zoo with a senior and two small kids).

Wildlife at Lone Pines Sanctuary includes birds, raptors, reptiles, platypus, koala, dingo, tasmanian devil,  bats, echidna and wombats. We didn't see the platypus as there was only one and there were a lot of people at the platypus viewing area (which was quite small) when we were there.

Flying Fox
Dingos playing around
The memorable animals from Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary for us non-Australians must be the numerous koalas (they have 130 adults koalas) that were hanging on low branches for us to see. My kids were very excited seeing a koala so close up and the koalas were very active too. We saw a few climbing around and eating leaves which was a new experience for us since the only other time we saw a koala was in a Melbourne koala sanctuary where the koalas were mostly high up on trees and sleeping. I even got to cuddle a koala when taking a picture with the koala which surprises me a bit since I thought that cuddling a koala is banned. Apparently, it is only banned in New South Wales but you can still do so in Queenslands and the best place for cuddling a koala is no other than Lone Pines Koala Santuary since they have a lot of koalas and they can rotate these koalas to ensure that the koalas has enough rest in between these cuddling sessions.

An active koala
We also get to see some dingos in action, they were running around, one chasing the other -playfully I think- and we saw the wombats feeding though I can't recall seeing the echidnas and the tasmanian devils being nocturnal was asleep when we were there. Always thought Tasmanian Devils were big  (based on cartoons :p ) was surprised to see them so small.

Tasmanian Devil (smaller than I expected and nocturnal)
Wombat, we got to see its feeding :)
But the best thing about Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary must be the expansive and scenic kangaroo feeding area. My 18 months old was running happily across the green field chasing after the birds -ignoring the kangaroo initially but he began to get curious towards the end- while my 3 year old son was eagerly feeding the kangaroos. There were so many kangaroos just lying on the field, I guess they get fed a lot by the visitors as they don't seem to be too eager to eat (which is actually not so bad as I find hungry kangaroos standing on their feet asking to be fed a bit intimidating especially so when they are higher than you when they stand upright) I think we spent a good half an hour there, it was lovely, my son came out of the kangaroo feeding area happy and kept recounting the experience over and over again in the car. You can also feed the emus in the same compound but I think the emus are too big and I didn't dare go near it.

The kangaroo feeding area 
my son feeding the gentle kangaroo

On the way back, my kids were amused by the parrots that kept repeating themselves, it was "Hello" and "Bye Bye" for a good 10 mins by the parrots and my kids before the kids allow us to take them back to the car.

staring an emu in the eye at the feeding area

Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary is open daily from 9.00am -5.00pm except on Anzac Day and Christmas (they still open on these two days but shorter hours) and admission costs about AUD32 for adults and AUD21 for kids. Alternatively, get a family pass at AUD80 for 2 adults and 3 children.

When you are at Lone Pines Koala Sanctuary, do take full opportunity to snap a picture with a baby koala or a baby crocodile even if you are thinking of heading to DreamWorld at Gold Coast later on your trip as the crocodile picture taking in DreamWorld is only available on selected days and not everyday.