Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary picture
Marco Simoni/Getty Images

Key Info

708 Jesmond Road


Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
  • 2.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

For many, a trip Down Under wouldn't be complete without a koala bear sighting. Pay a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and you won't just see these snuggly creatures up close; you'll also have the chance to cuddle with them. Here at the world's oldest and largest koala sanctuary, where conservation and research is the reserve's main mission, these marsupials are the star attraction. You don't have to pay extra to hold a koala, but you will have to fork over 18 Australian dollars (about $14) to have your photo taken with one. You can take your own photos with the koala, but only after you've purchased a professional photo from the sanctuary.

Aside from the 130 koalas that call the sprawling sanctuary home, there are plenty of other native Australian animals to see. You can hand feed kangaroos (for an added fee) and hold pythons. You can also catch several animal presentations throughout your visit with the sanctuary's resident lorikeets, platypuses and sheep dogs. Even if you're not one to get up close and personal with animals, you should still consider the sanctuary a worthwhile visit. Recent visitors say its verdant atmosphere and its seat on the Brisbane River make the sanctuary a pleasant (if pricey) place to experience Queensland's landscape. The sanctuary hosts two cafes, but past visitors say you can save some money (and enjoy a little more meal variety) by packing your own picnic lunch; it allows outside food to be brought in.

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with reduced hours on ANZAC Day. Adult passes are AU$36 (about $27.50), while kids tickets cost AU$22 (approximately $17). Family ticket packages for three children and one or two adults are also available. Entry includes access to all shows and activities (except koala, raptor and snake photos and kangaroo feedings), as well as facilities like restrooms, a cafe and a gift shop.

To get to this attraction, which sits in the Fig Tree Pocket suberb, visitors can take the No. 445 or a river cruise via Mirimar Cruises. This river cruise, which leaves from Cultural Centre Pontoon (directly across the river from the central business district), includes admission to the sanctuary when you purchase a round-trip ticket. Round-trip tickets for adults cost AU$73 (or $56) and AU$40 (less than $31) for children between 3 and 13. Check out Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary's website for more information.

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#1 Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha

After you've admired the sweeping views at the Brisbane Lookout, Mount Coot-tha, walk (or drive) about 1.5 miles northeast to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha. At this 138-acre subtropical conservatory, you'll find a host of native and exotic plants, not to mention the largest collection of Australian rainforest trees in the world. Within the garden you'll come across several themed spaces, including the Japanese Garden, the Lagoon and Bamboo Grove, the Fern House and the Fragrant Plants and Herb Garden – all containing different varieties of plantlife. When you're not admiring the spectacular flora, see if you can spot the fauna: Visitors say you'll likely come across iguanas and other reptiles, not to mention plenty of insects and birds.   

Past visitors said the gardens provided a beautiful setting for kids to burn off some energy. The Brisbane City Council also offers a "Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail" with surprises and facts for youngsters to discover as they make their way through the garden. And do be sure to bring your camera since this outdoor attraction boasts plenty of photo-op-worthy spots, including areas with superb views of the city.

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