Finding koalas in the wild in Brisbane might be easier than you think, but you will still need a pinch of patience and a bit of know-how. Even with all best intentions (and directions), it must be said that there are never any guarantees.
Even if koalas are all around you, they can be harder to spot in a tree than you would think. Obviously you need to be looking up but you also need to have eagle eyes- which is why kids can be the perfect addition to any koala mission.
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Tips for spotting a koala in a tree
Sometimes spotting a koala is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even the best koala spotters who do this for a job still miss a koala hiding in plain sight. But here are some tips which may make spotting one of Australia’s cutest creatures in the wild.
- Scan the upper reaches of the branches to spot a koala in its natural habitat, looking especially to the higher forks in the trees.
- If your walk takes you back in the direction you have already come, scan the same trees again because often a different angle can give you a better chance of seeing a furry koala bottom in a tree!
- Looking at the trees from a distance can make it easier to spot a koala ‘blob’ among the branches.
- When your neck gets sore from looking up, look down. Sometimes you will spot koala scat/poo on the ground, which is a telltale sign koalas are in the area. The fresher the poo the closer the koala is likely to be.
- A sure ‘sign’ koalas may be living in the trees above you is the presence of a koala sign. So if you see one of these bright yellow koala signs, keep your eyes open for potential koala spottings.
- Make the mission about more than just looking for koalas. Take a walk, bring a picnic, and enjoy time in the great outdoors.
Finding Koalas in the Wild in Brisbane
Spotting a koala in the wild never gets old. There is something magical about seeing this cute and fluffy creature lazing about in the tree tops living their best life while life goes on below them. Thankfully there are still many places in and around Brisbane where you have the chance of spotting a koala.
Brisbane Koala Bushlands – Burbank
Brisbane Koala Bushlands is located at 137 Alperton Road, Burbank. Just 15kms from the Brisbane CBD lies the Brisbane Koala Bushlands in the suburb of Burbank. This special nature reserve, protected especially with koalas in mind, offers a variety of different family-friendly walking trails. The 1.4km Stockland circuit is perfect for little legs and is pram and wheelchair friendly. Facilities include toilets, BBQ’s and picnic spots.
Daisy Hill Conservation Park – Daisy Hill
Daisy Hill Conservation Park is located at Daisy Hill Road, Daisy Hill. Well known for the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, the Daisy Hill Conversation Park is home to a number of wild koalas. This protected reserve occupies 435 hectares and features a range of shared walking tracks where you might be lucky enough to spot a koala.
If you don’t have any luck seeing one in the absolute wild, then you could also visit The Daisy Hill Koala Centre when it is open to see their outdoor koala exhibit. Facilities at the Daisy Hill Conservation Park include toilets, BBQ’s and picnic tables.
GJ Walter Park – Cleveland
GJ Walter Park is located at 72 Shore Street East, Cleveland. It is any wonder residents are trying to stop the impending 3600 unit development in the surrounding wetlands. It isn’t just the mangroves and the birdlife but also the koalas that are important to this community. Directly next to the Toondah Ferry Terminal (and the proposed development area) is GJ Walter Park and more than one koala is known to call this area home. If you want to see their faces you can find them on Instagram @wildredlands. Facilities at GJ Walter Park make for an ideal picnic destination featuring toilets, a small playground, large grassy areas, picnic shelters, lots of shade and of course koalas!
Indigiscapes – Capalaba
Indigscapes is located at 17 Runnymede Road, Capalaba. Indigiscapes at Capalaba is known to be home to several wild koalas. Indigscapes also features three walking trails of easy grades. The walks are perfect for Brisbane toddlers as they are only 20 minutes long and the Tallowood View Trail is pram and wheelchair accessible. Facilities include a discovery centre, cafe, toilets and native nursery.
John Oxley Reserve – Murrumba Downs
John Oxley Reserve is located on Ogg Road at Murrumba Downs. John Oxley Park spans 10 hectares of public park and nature reserve and Moreton Bay Regional Council lists this location as a place where you can spot a koala. The nature reserve features a specially made bush pathway (1.5kms long) leading to a boardwalk by the North Pine River. The nature reserve is home to 242 bird species, 13 mammal species, 8 reptile species and 8 amphibian species. Facilities include toilets, BBQ’s, lots of shade and a playground.
Mungarra Reserve and Sweeney Reserve – Petrie
Mungarra Reserve is located at 2 Carmody Court, Petrie. Connecting to Sweeney reserve, they form part of the same koala corridor. You can expect a regular kids park (including skatepark) that sits next to a eucalypt corridor, which is where the koalas are known to hang out. You can walk from Sweeney Reserve to Mungarra Reserve in about 30 minutes. Facilities include toilets, BBQ’s and a playground at the Mungarra Reserve End.
Vennam Bushland National Park – Mount Cotton
Venman Bushland National Park is located at Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton. Imagine 416ha’s of protected koala habitat and you can say hello to Venmam Bushland National Park. Once privately owned, it now belongs to the koalas and wildlife.
There is said to be about 50-60 koalas living here but even if you aren’t lucky enough to spot a resident koala, there is plenty of other wildlife to enjoy including wallabies. There are two walks to choose from that may include creek crossings so just don’t dress to impress and take lots of water. Facilities include BBQ’s, picnic tables and environmental toilets.
What if I don’t see a koala in the wild?
Each and every one of these locations definitely has regular sightings of koalas so it’s more about timing and luck than anything else. That said, we do have lots of places you can see the koala in sanctuaries and zoos throughout South East Queensland. Many of these koalas (if not all) are rescued koalas who, due to injury or for health reasons, can’t be released back into the wild.
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary features many koalas and also have a fascinating research centre to explore.
- Australia Zoo has both resident koalas and a koala hospital you can tour as part of your visit to the zoo.
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has both a sanctuary with koalas and also a koala hospital.
- Daisy Hill Koala Centre has an outdoor koala exhibit with several resident koalas.
Other things to know about koalas
- Read our koala fact sheet for lots of weird facts about koalas.
- Koalas are listed as a vulnerable species but in areas of South East Queensland, this situation is much worse with many facing the risk of death due to disease, car strike, dog attacks and removal of their habitat.
- Wild koala day is on May 3rd of every year, and is an opportunity to plant a koala tree and attend some koala friendly events.
- Koalas need our help. Plant trees where you can and use your voice to petition against the loss of koala habitat where you can.
- If you see a koala injured or sick then you MUST call a local rescue group immediately. If you are unsure who that is in your local area, pop onto your local suburban Facebook Group and ask or call the RSPCA immediately or take it to a local vet. Even if the koala is dead, stop if you can, definitely call someone in case it has a joey in its pouch or in case its stomach contents can be used to help baby orphaned koalas. NEVER drive past an injured or dead koala and do nothing. Their lives depend on it.
Map for Spotting Koalas in the Wild
To help making navigating to the above venues easier we have provided you with this handy map. We have even included the places where you are guaranteed to see a koala (in case you don’t see one in the wild).
If you know of anywhere else in Brisbane where koalas can be spotted in the wild feel free to put it in comments below. We know some communities don’t want some of their spots mentioned and we have purposely excluded some of the most sacred places from this list. If your comment isn’t approved this might be why.