You might think of Brisbane as nothing but an ever expanding cityscape, full of cranes erecting skyscrapers and dense suburban streets. But if you head out to Fig Tree Pocket, just a quick drive down the Centenary Highway towards the west side, you’ll come across a leafy pocket of space that’s home to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary—and it’s well worth the trip.
You probably vaguely know that there’s a koala sanctuary out that way—but what you might not know is that there’s 70 other native species who call Lone Pine home, and you can get up close and personal with just about all of them.
Always wanted to meet a wombat? You can do that here—there’s several in residence. Or how about a dingo? A Tasmanian Devil? A platypus? Yep, all those native Aussie animals you know all about but have never actually seen in real life are here, lapping up the good life in a natural setting with dozens of carers.
As well as the animals you can see from behind a fence (but still well within photo-taking distance), you can opt to cuddle with a koala during session times, or just get a selfie with one perched in a tree if those claws are a bit much for you (we feel you). If you visit at the right time of year, you’ll even see baby koalas firmly attached to their mothers’ back all around the sanctuary—or, as we hear, any koala’s back. Turns out parenting is a group effort in the koala world—who knew?
Make sure you grab a packet of kangaroo feed at the entrance to take with you to the kangaroo enclosure, where a mob of friendly roos and wallabies hang out with a couple of emus. Hot tip: If you visit early morning or during the afternoon when it’s cooler, the roos will be way more inclined to come up and say hi, though they’re pretty hungry at any time of day, and you’ll be out of roo food and tearfully telling kangaroo joeys you’re out of snacks in no time.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see then it’s time to make a pitstop at the newly refurbished Riverside Cafe on your way out. Yianni Passaris, who you might know from Morning After, Yolk and Ping Pong, has helped the crew here create a delicious grab and go menu to go with their smooth 5 Senses coffee, and we hear the toasties are next level. There’s comfy booths to set up in under the shady trees if you want to sit and stay a while.
Entrance to Lone Pine Sanctuary is just $37.80 or $56 for an all year round pass (book online and you can save 10% for the day ticket or 20% for the yearly ticket), with proceeds funding their wildlife hospital, research projects and sustainability efforts as well as caring for their resident wildlife. If you want the full experience, you can add a platypus, owl or reptile encounter or a koala discovery tour for more personal experiences. Read up on all the animals you’ll meet and book your tickets here.
Not into animals? Check out these Brisbane art galleries instead.Image credit: Lone Pine Sanctuary