Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Review
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, located in Brisbane’s South, is the ultimate in animal fun for Brisbane Kids. Boasting the largest koala sanctuary in the world, they were also the first to establish an environment especially catering for the welfare of koalas. The number of koalas in their care fluctuates, and at the time of writing this review there are 130 koalas in their care. Lone Pine has a strong belief in the protection and the importance of the natural flora and fauna in Australia, with their tagline being ‘The earth is not only for humans’.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – What you need to know
- It is open 7 days a week and is open on most public holidays so check their website before you go (link is down the bottom of the review).
- It is much cheaper to buy an annual pass than go casually so if you think you might go more than once it is worth investing in a pass that will also give you discounts in their shop and cafe.
- It is one of Brisbane Kid’s favourite animal places in Brisbane because it is not so big that it is overwhelming for families, and yet has more than enough animals and interesting shows to make it a really wonderful outing with kids.
Different ways to get to Lone Pine
- Lone Pine is located 12km’s from the city on 708 Jesmond Road at Fig Tree Pocket, Queensland 4069.
- They are just minutes from the Western Freeway so perfect for interstate travelers coming from the CBD or Airport by car.
- They are only 20 minutes or so from the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens and Planetarium (again, perfect for visitors).
- You can also catch a boat cruise to Lone Pine. It takes about 75 minutes and leaves the Cultural Centre Pontoon in Southbank at 10am daily. The pontoon is located on the boardwalk outside of the State Library. It’s a great boat ride for visitors to Brisbane (but also locals), traveling past some of Brisbane’s most iconic homes, historical locations and other points of interest. You can book a boat tour through Mirimar Cruises (you can’t book via Lone Pine).
- If you prefer to stick to the road and want to catch a bus then you will find buses in the CBD with bus number 430 from Queen Street Station and bus number 445 from Wickham Tce stop 158.
The Animals at Lone Pine Sanctuary
- The platypus enclosure at Lone Pine is one of the best you will find. It is in a darkened room where you can sit in quiet for a moment and simply enjoy the frolicking of the elusive Australian platypus.
- The kangaroos at Lone Pine enjoy a massive open fenced enclosure. There is an array of both joeys, mothers and adolescents as well as the mightier looking male kangaroos. There is an area within the enclosure where the roos can go and escape the humans so they can take time out but you will never find a lack of kangaroos. You can purchase kangaroo food from the shop at the beginning (and the cafe). 💡 Insider tip is to get there earlier in the day because kangaroos are lazy characters and tend to eat their way through the morning before an afternoon of snoozing on a full belly.
- Within the kangaroo enclosure, you will also find wandering emus. Emus really are one of the coolest Australian animals you will see. If you haven’t seen one before then make sure you try and look one in the face and see what hilarious character-filled faces they have. No wonder they made it to the Australian coat of arms.
- A visit to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is never complete without a cuddle from a koala and there are plenty of opportunities for this- literally there are koalas EVERYWHERE! 💡 Insider tip: If you get a photo at Lone Pine, also get a photo on your iphone, (if you can), at the same time so you can send copies to relatives.
- The wild lorikeets at Lone Pine are incredible, and there is nothing quite like feeding time. Standing there with a feeding tray as the colourful chattering birds make their way to your shoulders and heads is an experience you won’t forget. Kids, in particular, will LOVE (or possibly be terrified) by this experience. 💡 Insider tip: check the feeding times and make sure you head here early to grab a good spot and an opportunity to feed the birds. The first feed is very early in the program so if you get there on opening then consider that this is midway into the park and you will need to walk a small distance.
- The wombats at the zoo are the cutest animals you can imagine as are the devils which live next door and the dingoes not too far away.
- Lots of other Australian birds and bats line the walkway as you come in. There is a cheeky cockatoo who you will want to have a chat with.
- The sheepdog is very much a part of Australian culture and history and Lone Pine offers the unique opportunity to see a sheep dog show in action.
- The sheepdog area is near the barn-yard animals. This is a hands on activity and the kids will love to see and touch the farm animals.
- The birds of prey are always interesting to see and you can check out the bird show while you are there. It is very intimate and if you sit in the aisle you can literally feel the rush of the wings as they go past you!
- Other animals at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary include crocodiles, Australia’s biggest lizard, snakes, echidnas, possums, cassowaries, wallabies, kookaburras, owls and scrub turkeys (who can be found messing up the gardens all over the place).
Gem Panning at Lone Pine
Next to the cafe at Lone Pine is the most interesting setup allowing kids to pan for gems. They are given a bag of stones and a sifting tray and then make use of a flowing type wooden river setup to extract their gems. It is an additional cost but this is a very popular activity and the kids love to remove their gems and use a card to identify what they have found.
The show schedule at Lone Pine
Seeing the shows at Lone Pine is a must, but you will need to make sure you manage your strolling time around the times of the shows. The times are subject to change, but the current ones can be found below (just check their website to be sure they haven’t changed).
If you aren’t fussed on photos then these would be our suggestions for the Top 3 must-see shows at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary –
- Lorikeet feeding. Seriously nothing compares to watching the excitement of a child as they try and feed a lorikeet that has perched on their head.
- The free-flight raptor show. This is an incredible show, best seen in the early morning showing when it is cooler (in our opinion).
- The sheep dog show is hilarious and a favourite with the kids. You simply won’t believe how clever these dogs are!
Food And Shop Options
- You can absolutely bring your lunch to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and lots of cold water is recommended. There is a cafe onsite that offers all the standard type food. They do great chips and sausage sizzles on most weekends and plenty of healthy options like sandwiches etc. If you order hot food you will be given a buzzer allowing you to head off with your kids and sit and wait for your meal. There are bountiful places to sit and eat at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary with many of the allocated lunch areas situated next to koalas.
- There is a coffee shop outside the sanctuary that is used by both visitors to the sanctuary and also locals who just want good coffee.
- There are obviously bathrooms at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Movies and markets
Lone Pine run a market and movie night every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, from 4pm-8pm. This is subject to change so check here before you drive. This is situated outside the zoo and run as a separate activity.
Educational opportunities at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Vacation Care at Lone Pine Sanctuary
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary also offer an exclusive vacation care program that your Brisbane Kid would love! Bookings are essential for this popular event.
Lone Pine for Schools
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a lovely excursion opportunity for Brisbane school kids from prep up to year 12. They also offer a special needs excursion program with all the programs catering for the needs of the child within their age group. Schools also have the opportunity to self-guide a tour or do a combination of self-guiding and one of the curriculum based programs run by a Lone Pine Guide. The programs get more complex depending on the age group and cirriculm focus for the children.
To find out about their opening hours and ticket prices for Lone Pine Sanctuary head to their website.