by Deb Lidster
Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket is a must do experience for tourists and locals alike. The world's first and largest koala sanctuary was founded in 1927 with two koalas. Today the sanctuary boasts more than 130 of these cute and cuddly creatures.
Spread over 15 hectares of bushland beside the Brisbane River, including a 2 hectare kangaroo reserve, visitors can view a variety of Australian animals including the koala, kangaroo, cassowary, Tasmanian devil, dingo, wombat and platypus.
Entry to the sanctuary includes access to shows like wild lorikeet feedings and the birds of prey flight show. Educational presentations take place throughout the day with plenty of opportunities provided for guests to get up close and personal with an array of animals; from cuddly koalas to slithering snakes. You can have your photo taken with a koala anytime of the day with proceeds used to build new enclosures, plant eucalyptus trees, and care for the animals.
Another highlight is the kangaroo reserve where you can hand feed more than 100 kangaroos and wallabies in a natural setting. There's also a small farm with baby chicks, goats, miniature horses and more. Shows here include sheep shearing and sheep dogs.
There's a cafe on-site selling food and drinks with indoor and outdoor seating available beside the Koala Forest.
Things to note: Lone Pine offers a number of special events and programs throughout the year including school holidays when kids can become a keeper for a day. Lone Pine is accessible by car, bus or boat. Mirimar Cruises, who have been ferrying passengers to Lone Pine for over 70 years, depart from the Cultural Centre Wharf at 10am daily for a leisurely 1 hr 15 min river trip that takes in historic homes, modern mansions, wildlife habits and a bat colony. The return journey departs Lone Pine at 1.45pm.