August 11, 2012

Pax's Outback Adventures...

A Review of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary tourist attraction
Well yesterday I finally achieved a goal I have had since I was a wee little nipper - that was to return to visit the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary and see if it is as wonderful as my memories created it [I was 4 years old the last time I ventured there]
And I have to say that from the very start it exceeded my memories.  

First stop for me was the Platypus house.  And YES - I may be a sucker for a happily sploshing egg-laying duck-billed beaver-tailed otter-footed mammal  [I had not realised that Platypii have the same "roll on back at waters surface and kick water about" goofiness that Otters do. Such fun to watch!]
Unfortunately the Platypus house is a "no flash" photo area and since I had yet to change my camera settings I obtained no shots of the frolicking aquatic one. Next Time, Gadget, I promise!

But lets get to the actual review...

The Sanctuary is located in one of the outer suburbs of Brisbane, Australia, and has been in operation since 1927.

There are a few ways to reach it -

  • by car (parking is free);
  • by river boat cruise (expensive @ $65 per adult as it does not include your ticket into the sanctuary. Plus you only have 2.5 hours to see all the animals before the ship departs)
  • by bus (being frugal I chose this method - cost was $4.70 each way and it was a nice 40 minute trip in the morning - a bit longer going home due to traffic.  Just a note if you chose this method - the buses back to the city can get rather full of returning tourists so be patient and don't stress if you have to wait for the next one - they seem to run every 30 minutes or so).  And if you get the 430 or 445 bus it stops directly at the Sanctuary front door.
 Once you reach the Sanctuary - it's ticket buying time.  Cost is $33.00 for adults and $22.00 for children.  Discounts are available for students and pensioners and groups.  See here for details
Once paid, you get a cute koala stamp to the back of the hand - this gives you entry in & out for that day.
Now a word about the staff and the general "air" in the place.  This is very much a Low key run place.  It's not one of the glitzy Touristy type places where you are monitored by staff at all points.  You (as an adult) are expected to read the safety notices posted about the place; and not act like an idiot [most of the signs are simply "Caution - these animals may bite" and symbol signs for "do not put your fingers in this cage" etc] The most dangerous animals are the Crocodiles - safely caged away in their exhibit - but any and all animals can react negatively to stupid human behaviour so it's wise to remember to look but don't try to touch unless there are signs saying otherwise (more on that below)
And as it says in it's name - there are Koalas EVERYWHERE you look in the central area. 
SO on to the slide show.... 

Let's look firstly at all the other animals they have...
Map of the Sanctuary.

One of the Dingos.  I saw 3 wandering around their double area enclosure
however there may have been more snoozing in the back area (for a winters day it was quite warm)
This is a wild Kookaburra - perched on the fence of the Sanctuary's
Kookaburra cage.  He was happily chatting with those inside
Southern-Hairy Nosed wombat.  Really big and very active for a mostly nocturnal animal
A Goanna (Perentie) - Australia's Largest lizard bred
The Emus and the Kangaroos are in an large paddock. Access is via a double gate system (so they don't get out and bound everywhere). Feeding the Roos is encouraged ($2.00 bags of feed are available at the central cafe. It contains feed pellets - about 3 handfuls or so for maximum Kangaroo slobberage to occur). And the Roos *KNOW* if you have the feed in your pockets! Photo number one followed me around until all the feed was exhausted and then hopped off to beg more from other visitors. Oh - Feeding the Emus is NOT encouraged - their pecks can be quite painful.

And yes... I was a goofy happy Pax at being able to feed and gently pet free roaming Kangaroos. Their fur is sooo soft!
And a quick review here of their Cafe slash souvenir stall slash Internet access area.
Food is limited to two main meal choices - fish & chips with salad (the "Salad" is 2 types of lettuce) OR Chicken burger with chips/salad. They have other snacks (chicken nuggets / sandwiches etc) but if you are vegetarian or keen on healthy food you are out of luck. Bringing a picnic lunch seems to be fine with the owners so you can always bring your own.
Oh and NO COKE! (the horror the horror) - this is a Pepsi zone only [I made do with purchased bottled water so was fine].
The Meals are cooked to order so expect about a 15 to 20 minute wait for your food (they give you a buzzer when you order and when your food is ready the buzzer lights up like a Christmas tree). The Seating inside the cafe is a bit limited - a few long tables surrounded by chairs. You are expected to share the space so don't be offended if a stranger grabs the seat next to you.
Wi-fi access is free to those buying food. Ask for the password at the counter.  There are also 3 or 4 computers set up in the back for "paid access" (a dollar or so for 20 minutes access I think)
The Souvenirs seem to be all very good quality but the price reflects this. 8 inch Toy Koala was $34.95 / lapel badges $5.00 each / postcards 90 cents each. Remember to buy your Roo Food here before going on further in to the park.
OH...and it is here that you purchase your tickets for "Pose with a Koala" photos. The price varies - $20 for one photo / $30 for two... Once you have purchased your ticket they are fine with your companions taking extra snap shots at the same time for no cost (so long as you don't use a flash).
The Lines were long and my money mostly spent on other things [I'll post a separate blog on what I ended up buying :D] so I did not get a photo. Next time perhaps.
Now the Koalas.... Pens - only a few are enclosed (these pens seem to be for the breding aged ones & mothers with babies) but most of the pens are roofed enclosures with a simple wall separating we Humans from the furry ones. Great for photos.

During the day they have interactive presentations on all the different animals. There are no additional charges for these - all are included in the entrance price. They also have a "Wild Lorikeet" feeding session twice a day. I missed the morning one and decided to leave at 3pm rather than stay for the 4pm "Feed the Birdies". Next time I go I'll remember to pace myself a bit more (more sunscreen too!) so I can stay longer.
It's most definitely worth the entrance ticket - where else can you get to feed and pet a Kangaroo / Cuddle a koala and ooh & ahh over other Australian Wildlife with minimal staff control?
The Sanctuary is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Every day of the year (opening times for Christmas Day and ANZAC day are shorter).


  1. Is that Miss Pax, pretty in pink? It does sound like a fun day. The wild Kookaburra must have been there for visiting hours to see his jailed kin.

  2. Sounds like a great time, and it DID live up to expectations. But I remember Osama from the Sydney Zoo, and "I" won't be trying to pet any kangaroos... :-)

  3. I have my own suspicions about the animals.... they KNOW how to do "cute to the tourists". Lulls them into a false sense of security. :)

    I've always loved Lone Pine and went several times as a child - and have the obligatory (i.e 99% of Brisbane born children have this) picture of me with Koala (well - I was only about 2 so is a picture of my father juggling holding me and koala...)

    Glad you had a great day!

  4. @Coffeypot - lol no - some random child.

    @Old NFO - oh oh - did you have an incident of "Frisky Kangaroo"? (true story... an International speaker for a local convention was taken there by some friends and he must have been wearing "Eu du Frisky" cologne. From the retelling he discovered just how "friendly" our marsupials can be.)

    @Megs. I can find my Mum's "obligatory Koala photo" but not mine. Obviously I need to rectify that on my next trip there :D

  5. Oh, man! That looks like a great place to take Bug. She and I would both love it. Obviously, I would first need a ticket to Australia. Oy. Koalas are soooo cute, however, if I was being poked by a human, I would bite, too.