Discover where to cuddle a koala in Brisbane and why you can’t cuddle koalas in other parts of the Australia. There is no escaping the fact koalas are cute, cuddly and very Australian. No wonder locals and visitors are lining up to catch a glimpse of our furry friends. Whilst there are many places throughout Australia where you can see a koala there are not many where you can actually get up close and cuddle one. In fact, Queensland is one of the only states in Australia where you can still hold a koala.
We have compiled a list of venues in and around Brisbane where you can cuddle a koala, and have also mentioned a few further afield in Queensland.
If you are planning on enjoying a koala experience, make sure you take advantage of the time with a knowledgeable keeper or handler, and learn how we can all contribute to protecting these precious animals.
Considerations When Cuddling a Koala
Before snuggling up to a cute and cuddly koala there are a few important things to consider:
- Quite often there are age or height limits when participating in a koala experience (make sure you are aware of these before booking)
- Be gentle, quiet and respectful when cuddling a koala
- Do not touch the koalas head, face or any other body parts unless directed by the handler
- Do not take food or drinks near the koalas
- Footwear must be worn – no bare feet or high heels.
- Ensure you have washed and sanitised your hands before and after your koala experience
Where Can You Cuddle a Koala in Brisbane?
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Home to over 70 species of Australian wildlife, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary houses more than just koalas. You can cuddle a koala and get a printed professional photo as a memento, or if you prefer, you can just pat a koala. Tickets go on sale approximately 15 minutes prior the experience, which occurs twice a day.
Read our detailed review of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Cuddling a koala, getting a photo and learning all about these cuddly creatures and their environment is a popular experience at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. And if you are still craving extra koala time, perhaps you may like to enjoy breakfast with the koalas or a High Koala-tea (additional charges apply.)
Read our detailed review of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Aside from the thrill seeker rides at Dreamworld there is also the tamer animal experiences to enjoy. You can cuddle a koala and get a photo or if you are too young or don’t meet the height requirements (135cm or taller) then you can get a photo while patting a koala. Koala experiences are only available at Dreamworld a few days a week, so be sure to check their website before visiting.
Read our detailed review of Dreamworld.
Paradise Country on the Gold Coast is all about the animals. Here you can venture behind the scenes, meet the resident koalas and even feed them some of their favourite food, with a photographer capturing the experience (a USB of photos is available to purchase.) There are strict age limits and group numbers allowed per experience so be sure to book in advance. A koala breakfast is also available at Paradise Country.
Read our detailed review of Paradise Country.
The popular Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast will delight animal lovers. In addition to your admission, you may choose to book a Koala Encounter, which occurs twice a day. Here you can cuddle a koala and take home a photo fridge magnet as a memento. Participants must be eight years or older, and numbers are strictly limited, so book online, well in advance, to secure your booking.
Read our detailed review of Australia Zoo.
Located at The Big Pineapple, and home to native and exotic animals from around the world, cuddling a koala is just one of the experiences available at Wildlife HQ. On offer, twice a day, guests can pay an additional cost, to hold a koala and take home a complimentary souvenir photo.
Read our detailed review of Wildlife HQ.
Koala Handling Legislation
Under the Queensland Government Code of Practice of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria, the following conditions must be met in regard to koala handling interactions within Queensland:
- All time that an individual koala is handled is to be recorded. Handling time includes any time when a koala is removed from its normal place of residence.
- The maximum period that an individual koala may be handled is 30 minutes a day.
- The maximum period that an individual koala may be handled is 180 minutes a week.
- An individual koala must not be handled more than 3 days consecutively before receiving a rest day.
- Only captive-bred koalas of suitable temperament are to be handled.
- Only fully weaned or independent koalas are to be handled.
- At absolutely no time is a female koala to be handled when it has pouch young or back young.
- A paid ticket to the attraction is usually required in order to take advantage of a koala experience.
Koala Experiences in Other Parts of Queensland
Other places around Queensland where you can get up close and personal with a koala include:
Billabong Sanctuary – Townsville
Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary – Yeppoon
Kuranda Koala Gardens – Kuranda
Rainforestation Nature Park – Kuranda
Wildlife – Hamilton Island
Wildlife Habitat – Port Douglas
If you are keen to learn some interesting facts about koalas check out Koala Facts for Kids or to find where to spot a koalas in the wild (but definitely not touch one) then take a look at our Finding Koalas in the Wild article.