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10 reasons to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

This week we had the opportunity to visit the Lone Pine koala sanctuary in Brisbane’s western suburbs.  This is the only wildlife park within Brisbane itself and it’s very easy to get to either with your own car or public transport.  We really enjoyed our day and thought we’d share our top 10 reasons why nature lovers visiting Brisbane will want to include Lone Pine on their Brisbane itinerary.

Visiting Brisbane? Don’t miss our guide to the top free things to do in the city or the best day trips to take from your base in Brisbane.

(1) Worlds oldest and largest Koala sanctuary

The year 1927 was pivotal for Koalas in south-east Queensland.  It was the year that legislation finally made the koala a protected species stopping them being hunted for their fur.  It was also the year Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a world first, opened in Fig Tree Pocket alongside the Brisbane River.  

The first two marsupial guests of the sanctuary, named Jack and Jill, were joined by many others over the years.  It’s now the largest sanctuary of its kind providing a home and protection to around 130 koalas, many of them born within the sanctuary.

(2) Cuddle a Koala

Sleeping koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Baby koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Koalas are adorable.  There’s really no debate that these guys are high on the cuteness scale.  Lone Pine koalas are born in captivity following tight controls to maintain genetic diversity in the species.  This means that they’re used to humans being close to them and together with their naturally placid nature they don’t seem to mind being held.  At Lone Pine, everyone can hold a koala if they want to and are willing to wait in the line.  Holding the koala is a free experience included in the entry cost, however if you want to take photos you must also buy a professional photo.

Have you held or touched a koala?  Despite their cute and cuddly appearance they actually have quite a coarse fur and aren’t nearly as soft and fluffy as they look.

Koala welfare is a big consideration throughout the sanctuary.  No koala is held for more than 30 minutes a day and the staff are never far away.  These koalas have been around their human carers most of their life and are regularly handled.  Never attempt to approach or touch a wild koala and if you come across a sick or injured animal in the wild or suburban areas call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL they will put you in touch with registered koala rescue and care teams.

(3) Chill out with the free-roaming kangaroos

The kangaroo reserve area is really popular with all ages.  Enter through the control gates and into this free-range reserve where you can walk among the kangaroos and emus.  With 5 acres to hop around in, there is a good amount of space to spread out.  Find your own kangaroo to feed, pat, photograph or even take that selfie of you and your new kangaroo BFF.  You can buy kangaroo food at the general store near the entrance but these pellets are the only food that should be given to them.

Kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

(4) A Gorgeous riverside location

The reserve is built on land right on the Brisbane river. It’s a great outlook and if you have some time before or after your visit you can take a seat in the terraced seating area at the cafe and enjoy this great view.  Right next door there’s a fun kids play area that’s fully fenced so they can play safely while you enjoy your cuppa.

The cafe area has WIFI available and power points for recharging.  It’s a shame it’s not a little closer to home or this would definitely be my new blogging cafe come summertime with the river breeze and shade from the overhanging trees.

The river from the Lone Pine Cafe at Fig Tree Pocket

(5)  Get up close and learn about Australian wildlife

Although the origin of the Lone Pine Koala reserve was all about the Koala and it’s the predominant species at the sanctuary it’s not all you’ll find here.  A wide range of Australian animals have been added to the displays over the years starting with platypus in 1974 and increasing to include bats, dingos, snakes, lizards, turtles, freshwater crocodile, kangaroos, wombats and a wide range of birds.

They have one of the best Tasmanian devil enclosures we’ve seen at any of the parks.  You can view it from a variety of different angles and the animals seem particularly active and happy.

Tasmanian Devil at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Tasmanian Devil at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

The sanctuary has 14 sessions that run throughout the day from 9.45am until 4pm where you can get up close to and/or learn about the wildlife.  The free-flight raptor show is excellent featuring Australian birds of prey up behind the Kangaroo reserve.  Down at the main koala enclosure get in early for a seat at the wildlife encounter, koala and snake presentations, these were both informative and an opportunity to get up really close with the animals.

(6) Feed the lorikeets

Twice a day at 9.45 am and at 4 pm you can head down to the river’s edge and feed the rainbow and Scaly-breasted lorikeets with a specially prepared nectar mix.  These birds are extremely common in Brisbane but are so pretty and social that you don’t want to miss seeing them up close.  Take a bowl and collect your own flock but be prepared that they do like to jump around and may prefer to sit on your head or arms.  If you don’t want to get that up close and personal with the birds just stay a couple of steps away from the food bowls.

Lorikeet Feeding at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

(7) Watch the worlds fastest animal in action

Did you think the cheetah was the fastest animal on earth?  I know I used to but while he can run at an incredible 120 km an hour the peregrine falcon will leave him in the dust diving at up to 389 km an hour.  They’re a powerful bird and skilled hunter, they’re also one of the most widely distributed birds around the world found on most continents and island groups except Antarctica and New Zealand.

The free-flight raptor show includes a range of other rescued birds found in Australia including the Brahminy kite, barn owl, barking owl and huge wedgetail eagle.

Peregrine falcon at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

(8) Easy access for locals and visitors

Lone Pine is the only wildlife park of its type within Brisbane and its location makes it very easy to access not only for those with their own transport but for visitors staying in the city.  

If you are driving it is about 15 minutes from the city and there is plenty of free onsite parking available.  For those using public transport, you have a couple of options, bus or ferry.  You can take the bus 430 or 445 from the city, it takes around 40 minutes and you get off at stop 42 in Fig Tree Pocket.  Alternatively Mirimar cruises run a daily trip from the pontoon outside the Cultural Centre in Southbank at 10am.

(9) Free wifi and open-air blogger lounges

If you’re a heavy social media user or just want to sit for a few minutes and recharge, both you and your phone, there are several of these blogger lounges scattered around the park.  Complete with power and USB recharging points, tables and free WIFI what more could the travelling blogger ask for.

It’s not just the designated areas either, the whole park offers free WIFI so you can still post to Instagram even if your data plan is running a bit low.

Bloggers lounge Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

(10) Movie and market night

An added bonus of heading out here on a Friday is the chance to wander through the produce and food market.  It starts at 3 pm and runs through to 7.30 pm.  Pick up something for tea from the range of market options and enjoy it in the beautiful cafe seating area overlooking the river.  Bring the kids for takeout and movie night and watch the movie on one of the 3 open-air screens from 6 pm.

There is plenty of parking and entry to the markets and movie is free.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Visitor Information

Address:  708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket, Brisbane

Entrance Fee:  Adults $36 |  Children $22.  You can purchase tickets at the gate or for a fun option combine a visit to the park with a boat cruise up the Brisbane River to and from the city.

Opening Hours:  9 am until 5 pm daily.  Shows run through the day

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

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Seema jain

Saturday 4th of April 2020

Have visited Australia, but never been to this sanctuary. Next time. Thanks for bringing it to my notice


Monday 13th of May 2019

Thank you very much for making my dream proposal a reality! Everything was just PERFECT. From planning to the execution of the idea was beyond expectation. Special mention to the AMAZING and ACCOMMODATING staff namely, SAM, SARAH, TESSA and all the raptor team thank you very much. My fiancée and I are still in a state of euphoria.

Lone Pines has everything it has to offer when it comes to customer satisfaction. You’ll never go wrong. I can vouch 101%. Thank you once again.


Friday 12th of April 2019

I'm coming to Brisbane In September from England, I'm definitely looking forward to visiting the koala sanctuary.

Toni Broome

Monday 15th of April 2019

Enjoy your time in the city! They really are an adorable animal.

Clark Sebert

Wednesday 24th of August 2016

Don t miss the sheep dog show at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It was amazing to see the dogs guide the sheep into a corral and then climb on top of them. Plan your day with the show and activity schedule once you enter. Check the Lone Pine website for the latest shows, information and ticket prices.

Vicky and Buddy

Tuesday 9th of August 2016

Toni this place sounds awesome!! I hadn't realized that koala fur wasn't that soft. I'd still love to hold one though. And I think it's really cool that the sanctuary has blogger lounges. That's such a modern feature to have!

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