Outside of the busy city centre, nestled alongside the Brisbane River in Fig Tree Pocket, is the educational and exciting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It is one of Brisbane’s must do tourist attractions, but unlike a zoo, it's local and small scale sanctuary where all the animals are in the bushland natural environment. Families come to meet Aussie animals and learn all about their habits and habitats!
Lone Pine is a 20 minute drive outside of the city, and is easily accessible by public transport. By following straightforward directions and signs to the location along the river, I made my way by car. I was taken aback when I entered Lone Pine and saw how merged into nature it was. The shrubbery pathways intertwine throughout the sanctuary allowing visitors to look and find Australian critters and creatures of all sizes. It is not a commercial attraction, but an attentive environment built for the animals.
I was choosing my own path and own adventure. There was no big bright signs or noises, only the dusty paths to allow each new animal’s enclosure to come as an unexpected wonder. In saying that, the map was handy to locate the show areas for different animals. At the beginning of the day I received a guide with a daily schedule, map, and information about all the animals in the wildlife sanctuary. Its use was particularly convenient to plan out my day. Every 30 minutes there was a show which included; wild lorikeet feeding, barn animal encounter, koala keeper talk, platypus keeper talk etc. If I was ever afraid I couldn’t make the show or had missed out on an earlier session, Lone Pine provided regular shows in the morning and afternoon.
The day I had come to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary the heat had climbed to 37 degrees, and after walking around for more than an hour a rest was definitely required. The daily schedule of insightful shows and encounters made having a rest so much more desirable! Each new show invited me to seat and enjoy the performances and appearances of Aussie animals until there were no more shows to watch!
I was recommended to tune into the free flight raptor show and the sheep dog show. The raptors were astonishing, they listened to commands from their handlers, elegantly flew across the open land and demonstrated their mighty carnivorous behaviour. Tourists all over the world and kids of all different ages were left with their mouths open and hungry for more shows. After the free flight raptor show everyone cleared out to the sheep dog show to see what they had in store!
The sheep dog show was in the middle of the day and unfortunately the kelpie farm dog could not not do his job at rounding up the sheep in the heat, at the risk of heat exhaustion. There was no sheep or dog action, but the dog handler managed to talk to the crowd about the origins of the sheep dog, its role in farming and lastly the wool from the sheep they rounded up.
More interactive experiences included patting a koala in all its cuteness (but not quite liveliness from all the eucalyptus), as well as stroking a snake and feeding the kangaroos with $2 special kangaroo food. To hold a koala does have an additional cost as it comes with a professional photo, but can be the highlight of the day and a souvenir for life!
Visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary can easily become a compacted and active day outdoors, so coming prepared with lots of water, snacks and lunch can allow completion of the whole daily schedule and map. This day out at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary can then be finished by the Koala & River Cruise, a river cruise beginning right in front of the sanctuary. It takes you upstream along the Brisbane river and is a perfect way to finish off the day! I had a fantastic time at the Sanctuary and can see why it's so popular with young families and tourists, making a great experience gift for school holidays or birthday treats!