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From soft to slithery - animal encounters in Queensland

From soft to slithery - animal encounters in Queensland

story by: Anna Sarjeant

From things that hop to foxes that fly and sharks that weigh over 2000 pounds, Australia is home to the most fascinating wildlife on the planet. From cute to quake-in-your-boots, get up close and (un) comfortable with animals in Queensland.  

Koalified hug-givers
Of all the things you can hold in Australia, from snakes and spiders to the hand of an actual Australian (heaven forbid) the Koala is arguably the best of the lot. As soft as a teddy bear and just as inactive, these docile bundles are off the scale in terms of cuteness. 

Venture to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and you’ll meet over 130 native Australian koalas. As the world's largest koala sanctuary, ​cuddles are readily available and for less than $20AU​pp, visitors get the opportunity to cradle a fat-bottomed koala any time of the day. For the really koala-obsessed, Lone Pine offers an additional VIP Wild Koala Encounter. As long as you book in advance you’ll get a behind-the-scenes encounter with one of the sanctuary’s cutest koalas, guided by an experienced zoo keeper. You’ll observe a koala health check and get plenty of koala cuddle time, with a photographer on-hand to record the occasion.  

2. One to cross-s-s-s off the bucket lis-s-s-s-t….
Australia is home to over 140 species of land snakes and roughly 30 species live in the sea. As humans we’re as enthralled by snakes as we are scared of them, which is why Australia is such a perfect destination to feed your fear as well as your fascination. 

​If you’d like to get up close and personal with one of Aussie’s slinkiest creatures, head to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Guests can handle one of its permanent guests; the almighty Burmese python. Described as a ‘slithery cuddle’, head to the Wildlife Studio and the handlers will place a snake around your neck or across your hands - or if it’s a real biggy, both. You can then have your picture taken for a take-home keepsake.

3. It’s not all scary​ 

You couldn’t – and shouldn’t – venture to Oz without getting acquainted with the country’s national animal, the red kangaroo. More affiliated with Australia than boomerangs, didgeridoos and Mick Dundee, everyone’s got a soft spot for a roo. 

Australian kangaroos (of which there are four different types) are so numerous, they actually out-number Australians. Consequently, spotting kangaroos in their native wild is common - but never guaranteed. If you’d really like to introduce yourself, you’re better off planning a visit to the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. With an enormous paddock where an assortment of animals laze and graze, there's plenty to pat. Buy a bag of pellets and you’ll be able to hand feed the critters too.

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