Holding a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Koalas at Lone Pine

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Australia on here, but I’ve been reminiscing and will try and cover the countless Australia stories from my time there that haven’t seen the light of day yet. I’ve literally got a list of 40 plus stories to be written about from Australia alone!! Holding and cuddling a Koala was one of the highlights. Here’s the backpacker lowdown on it…

Where can you hold a koala in Australia?

To be honest, you’ll have to go to a zoo and there are plenty of them. There’s decent zoos in Sydney and Melbourne, but I totally recommend Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland. It’s where I went, it’s famous, it’s the oldest and most renowned Koala Sanctuary in the world. So take the hint, and head to it. It’s more than just koalas by the way! Plus some parts of Australia ban koala cuddling and holding!

Holding a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

How do you get to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary?

Three main options:

1. By Bus. Buses do run from central Brisbane up to it.

Bus 445 leaves from stop 40 Adelaide Street

Bus 430 leaves from Platform B4, Queen Street bus station

Adult fares are $6.70 and children, pensioners and students are $3.40 (with valid I.D.). Prices are subject to change and as of August 2013.

2. By Ferry – A company called Miramar run a boat cruise there: Miramar Boats to Koala Sanctuary

3. By Car – if you have a car or are staying with a friend, driving there is the best and most hassle free option. Thanks to my long time travel mate and fellow Northern Ireland football fan, Owen Millar, who was at the wheel and drove us there!

owen millar and jonny blair at lone pine

Owen Millar and I at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – one of my good mates and also a world traveller from Northern Ireland!

What else is there to do at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary?

For the basis of this post, I won’t go into detail about the rest of the sanctuary as it’s vast!! There’s a lot more to it than koalas believe me!

How much does it cost to hold a koala ?

All you really want to know is “can you hold a koala?” and “how much does it cost?”

hugging a koala in lone pine

A koala in Lone Pine. How much to hug and hold him?

So pay your entrance fee of $28 Australian Dollars (that’s a “backpacker price” by the way ;-). Adults and students have other prices). Head to the koala holding place and wait. You have to pay extra if you want a framed photo there and then. Caught up in the moment and loving it, I paid it (I don’t normally).

Holding a Koala Bear at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Holding a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

A Guide to Hugging a Koala

According to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary experts, hugging a koala is easy by following these steps:

1. Stand opposite a koala handler (see previous picture)

2. Place your hands on top of one another in front of your body around waist height
3. Make sure you keep your hands together while the koala handler places a koala on you.
4. Act like “a tree”and support the koala’s weight by remaining still and keeping your hands under the koala at all times (see above)

5. Smile for the camera!

There’s also a  – 6. Do Something Quirky, and so I decided to have my koala photographed with my travelling Northern Ireland flag…

Holding a Koala Bear at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Holding a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Koala Hugging is Illegal in parts of Australia!

Yes that’s right – in New South Wales it is banned which is an extra incentive for you to head up to Lone Pine and have your happy koala cuddling moment.

I’d thoroughly recommend it! It’s a lot safer and less crazy than feeding hyenas that’s for sure, hence why I wrote this post this week to level things up a bit. But if you don’t want to hold them, you can just walk around and admire – they’re cute animals that’s for sure!! If you followed my blog back in 2010, you’ll also remember that I saw koalas in the wild at Grey River in Victoria.

koala bears lone pine australia

If you don’t want to hold a koala, no problem – just admire them!

Safe travels!

Here’s a video I made at the Koala Sanctuary at Lone Pine:

5 thoughts on “Holding a Koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

  • I have a friend who passed on the experience because it was an extra 25. when he went with his kids and he regrets it now. I would – in fact, they’d have a difficult time keeping me from doing it… I might even do it TWICE.

    Was your little friend soft or scratchy?
    Did he smell of eucalyptus?
    How heavy was he?
    Did he cuddle or did you get the sense that he just wanted to hang in a real tree?
    Maria recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – MongoliaMy Profile

  • Hi Maria, I was actually just thinking whether or not I paid extra for it and I’m sure I didn’t – not sure whether I sneaked into for free or it was just free that day as I don’t remember paying and read that other people did.

    Yes – strong smell of eucalyptus – a smell which i love and recognise instantly as I once shared a flat by a golf course in Australia full of eucalyptus trees
    Not too heavy – less than my backpack for sure!
    He grips your shoudlers – theyre very cuddly!!

    Worth doing!

  • Hi Jonny, I’m new to your site and really enjoying reading about your travel adventures and look forward to following along in the future! These pictures are adorable and I loved the video too. This is certainly something on my bucket list and I loved ready your guide to hugging a Koala Bear. Thanks so much for the great post and Happy Travels!
    Barbara recently posted…The Haunted Stanley Hotel – Our Ghost StoryMy Profile

  • Hi Barbara, thanks so much for checking out my blog and following my stories. Glad you found it helpful – that’s one of the main aims of my travel blog – to help and inspire other travellers! The koalas are the cutest animal – its still on my list to hold a panda in Chengdu, but that one don[‘t come cheap! Will check out your blog too. Safe travels. Jonny

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