Koala-Ty Time: The Ultimate Lone Pine Koala Experience

Say G’day to the first and largest koala sanctuary in the world, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. What first started out as a safe refuge for the sick and injured koalas back in the 1920s, has now blossomed into one of the best tourist places in Brisbane.

Jack and Jill were the first two koalas to find refuge here. Over the years, the numbers have grown, and now you can get up and close with over 130 koalas who live here peacefully – carrying on the legacy of the ancestral duo. So why is ‘Lone Pine’ and not ‘Jack & Jill’ in the name, you ask? Well, it got its name from the towering lone Hoop Pine, which was the mooring point for Brisbane River cruises carrying visitors to the sanctuary. You can still see it standing proudly near the ticket counter.

But enough about the past, if you’re hankering to visit here anytime soon, then this blog will make sure your trip to the koala pine sanctuary is the best it can be!

Getting there: car or cruise

Lone pine koala cruise from brisbane

First things first, how are you getting there? The Lone Pine Sanctuary is located along the banks of the iconic Brisbane River, in Fig Tree Pocket. It’s a quick, convenient car ride from the Brisbane CBD, but you can go with public transport as well, the Fig Tree Pocket Bus. You can also access the sanctuary from the Brisbane River with a day trip on one of the popular Lone Pine koala cruises, if you’d like to experience the best of Brisbane’s landmark attractions from the water.

Koala cuddles & photo sessions

For many, the crème de la crème here is of course the ‘Hug a Koala’ experience. The koalas are undoubtedly high up on the cuteness scale, and they're used to hanging around humans since they're raised in close captivity. Although these cuddly creatures may look soft, they have quite thick, woolly fur like that of a sheep, to protect them from harsh weather. But seriously, you can't resist their charm, and guess what? They love a cuddle as much as we do. And as a souvenir, you get a free photo! (that too on your own device) Just make sure to book the experience beforehand – ideally along with your entry ticket, or you might end up waiting forever in long lines.

Meet other Aussie friends

wildlife of australia

Although it may sound like this interactive zoo is all about the koalas, that's far from the case. You’ll find a motley crew of some of the furriest, slimiest, and the fiercest wildlife of Australia, in various habitat-specific enclosures. From spying platypuses, creepy bats, and scouting lizards to slithering snakes, lively birds and wise owls, there’s a whole lot of interesting characters on display. Recently, they've also added the iconic Aussie natives, the Tasmanian Devils, into the mix.

Hand-feed a roo

Kangaroos of lone pine

The kangaroos of Lone Pine are well awake and up and running in the morning, when the zoo is less crowded. Besides cuddling a koala, one of the major highlights of visiting Lone Pine is feeding the resident roos. You can buy ‘roo food at the entrance and hand-feed them in the free-range feeding zone. Remember: these are the only foods that should be given to them. So find your own roo pal – feed, pat or take a selfie of you and your new marsupial bestie!

Learn about Aussie wildlife from the pros

The sanctuary is not merely for cute meetups and ‘gram-worthy snaps, the pros here are very passionate about doing their things, conserving and educating. Catch shows and talks that spill the beans about the lives of these fellow earthlings, and the conservation efforts being done to protect them.

See the fastest animal in action

Peregrine falcon at lone pine koala sanctuary

The Raptor Show is another drawcard of any Lone Pine visit. Watch some of Australia’s most exquisite feathered creatures in motion as they show off their incredible aerial manoeuvres and speed.

The star of the show is the Peregrine Falcon, dubbed the ‘fastest animal in the animal kingdom’. What usually ensues is a breathtaking display of agility and speed as the falcon takes to the sky. You'll be left in awe as it performs mid-air acrobatics, and you might even find yourself holding your breath as it dives with lightning speed to capture its prey.

A gorgeous riverside setting

The setting is the ace in this exciting deck of experiences. The sanctuary is surrounded by lush eucalyptus trees and bordered by the incredible Brisbane River, making it a place to chill. There's a spacious green area with a shaded spot just outside the premises, where you can bring your own food and have a relaxed meal. The sanctuary has free wifi connectivity and has open air blogger lounges for those heavy social media users. So while you refuel your body you can recharge your phone as well!

And if you’re wondering if there’s (human) food inside the sanctuary, the answer is yes! There’s a cafe and tiny restaurant inside the sanctuary grounds. The cafe has a spacious outdoor area within the Koala forest area, where you can rest and have a bite while admiring a few koalas.

Here are some FAQs to plan your trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary 
  • Is it expensive to cuddle a koala at Lone Pine ?
    It might be a bit pricey for some, but the opportunity to get up close with these adorable animals and capture incredible photos can be well worth the money.
  • Are ‘koala cuddles’ included with the cruise and Lone Pine Sanctuary tour?
    No, only the entry ticket is included in your tour. All exclusive wildlife experiences should be purchased separately.
  • Which is the easiest way to go to Lone Pine?
    A convenient way to do the Lone Pine is to pair with a river cruise. A Lone Pine koala cruise will pick you up and drop you back at Brisbane’s South Bank.
  • When is the best time to go to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary?
    The zoo opens at 9am. Try to reach the zoo during this time as it is when most of the animals are active, and it will be less crowded.

A trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is like a big, warm koala hug. But it’s not just an opportunity to hang out with these amazing animals, you also get to learn about conservation. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is where nature meets fun, giving you an awesome day out and a newfound love for Australia's incredible wildlife and the people working hard to keep it safe. So, visit this iconic Brisbane tourist attraction for some koala-ty fun you won't soon forget!