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Koala Encounter

I have posted a few times on a few topics regarding our upcoming trip to Australia this August. We now have our itinerary in place, and will be spending the greatest amount of time (albeit not enough) in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. In which location will I be most likely to actually hold a koala? I noticed that there is a restriction in New South Wales, so does that mean I can only take pictures of them at any zoo in Sydney? A friend visited Australia quite a while ago and can't remember where she held a koala. If anyone has any suggestions I am open to all recommendations!

Posted by
1955 posts

There is a wild life Park on Tasmania (which as you likely know is part of Australia) where you can get up close (and possibly hold, if they are not sleeping....staff would determine) a Koala. They were sleeping when we were there, but got some great photos literally a foot away with no barrier/fence between us and the Koala bears.

Watching the Tasmanian Devils was also totally interesting. We fed kangaroos, too and got some great photos (visitors go into the large pen).

Definitely worth the trip to Tasmania, and Tasmania was incredibly beautiful (we were there in January a few years ago). Fields of poppies (used for medicine) were blooming, and the rolling hills were absolutely lovely.

Posted by
1806 posts

Not sure if there are restrictions now, but I got to hold a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park when we made a stop there on our way from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. They also let you hand feed kangaroos and wallabies in a special section. Although I have also been to Adelaide and Melbourne, I did not actively look to hold a koala or visit any other zoos in those areas. We did catch some great photos of wild koalas outside of Melbourne near the start of the Great Ocean Road. You may want to consider stopping at Philip Island outside of Melbourne to check out the penguins and if you have time for an overnight, Kangaroo Island is absolutely worth exploring (no zoos, but lots of wildlife to be spotted - and great sites to explore - like Remarkable Rocks).

Posted by
99 posts

Is your itinerary set in stone? You can hold koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane and at the Australia Zoo, about an hour north of Brisbane. There are also places in Cairns where you can hold koalas.

Posted by
15051 posts

When I was there in 2009, it was against the law to touch a koala in New South Wales (including Sydney) and Victoria (including Melbourne). In Queensland (Brisbane) it was legal. I took a "backstage" tour at the Sydney zoo and got very close to the koalas, but "no touching."

Posted by
32 posts

Hi Linda, Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills is great to get up close and personal with a koala and lots of other native animals. Their website has details of what's on and how to get there. The park is a 20 minute drive from the centre of Adelaide and can be reached by public transport also.

Posted by
203 posts

Definitely can't hold them in NSW and I think most other places are stopping it. There may be the odd place but they are very sensitive animals and it can't possibly be good for them to be passed around. Perhaps it would be better to see them in the wild. Halls gap in the Grampians is a nice spot to see them.

Posted by
703 posts

linda , here is some information about koala encounters.

while I don't know your itinerary, there are plenty of day trip options in and around the capital cities that you are visiting that would have koalas to see and be close to. ( perhaps not hold though)

interestingly, holding a koala is not something that most Australians would have done. I think its a 'tourist' thing. feeding and touching kangaroo is very popular by comparison.

in your earlier posts you where having trouble deciding on your itinerary ? sounds like you have it sorted? try and get out of the cities if you can ( if only on day trips)

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you again to everyone for their helpful responses. I ended up booking a package at the Cleland Wildlife Park and can't wait to hug the little cuties!

Posted by
703 posts

linda, one place that is worth noting is the Australian reptile park, about 1 hour north of sydney.
they have a range of animals, not just reptiles. also other cuddly and unique Australian natives.

if you were thinking of trips out of sydney, the reptile park is right on the main highway heading north from sydney ( going north toward the vineyards and newcastle/ port stephens - dolphin watching etc) you can catch the train north ( which is not a bad trip also as the scenery is quite good around the central coast area ( where the reptile park is - eg: near gosford)

hope this helps.