Queensland’s Australian animals encyclopaedia
From the cute and the cuddly to the slippery and scaly, not to mention all those animals with a bit more bite, Queensland has loads of animal encounters for those of you with a bit of a wild side!
While some visitors are lucky enough to see our native wildlife in the, um, wild, we’ve put together a complete list of all the places in Queensland where you’re guaranteed to see iconic Australian animals. No matter your final destination, you can cuddle a koala, feed a crocodile, snap a selfie with a kangaroo or take a walk with wombat at just about any of these local zoos and sanctuaries.
Now you’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Rated as one of the top ten zoos around the globe, the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary has been welcoming visitors for over 80 years to cuddle a koala.
Koalas are not the only native Australian animals hanging out at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. With nearly 100 species calling this sanctuary home, you can also spot some kangaroos, platypuses, Tasmanian Devils and echidnas.
Queens Park Nature Centre
Queens Park has everything for a great family day out! With a playground for the little ones (featuring a liberty swing for children with disabilities), an Environmental Education Centre and Japanese-themed Nerima Gardens, you can easily spend a whole day here.
Also within the grounds is the Ipswich Nature Centre. The free zoo features a boardwalk that navigates around the animal enclosures so they’re accessible for prams and wheelchairs. Watch wallabies, quolls and emus go about their daily routine; pet farm animals in the barn and view some feathered friends in the rainforest aviary.
Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre
Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre is based at the edge of the enchanting D’Aguilar National Park and is home to the South East Queensland Wildlife Centre. Uncover the secret life of a platypus, watch the wombats and if you’ve still got an itch for more, grab your binoculars and head out on a bush-walking track for bird spotting.
A few more places to visit around Brisbane:
- Daisy Hill Koala Centre
- Lyell Deer Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Watch and learn at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. From daily animal feeding and encounters to interactive shows, you will be sure to walk away with more than just a photo.
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in the spirit of conservation, and they are dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of Australian animals not just in the sanctuary, but within the community as well. Visitors can get a bird’s-eye view of the vets and volunteers in action at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, based within the grounds.
David Fleay Wildlife Park
A wildlife park with a difference; explore unique and endangered Australian animals in specially recreated naturalistic habitats ranging from cool rainforest, wetlands and open eucalypt forest. You can explore the David Fleay Wildlife Park on your own or join the rangers in one of their daily wildlife shows.
The park plays an important role in demonstrating the conservation initiatives of David Fleay, who established the property in 1951. They continue his work of research, breeding and education; offering the chance to see many different threatened native animals in the one location.
Not just for thrill seekers, Dreamworld also boasts one of the largest native wildlife parks in South East Queensland – Dreamworld Corroboree. With hundreds of native and iconic Australian animals, you can get cuddly with a dingo pup or wombat, feed a croc or go on a sunset safari!
For your not-so-Australian animal experience, head to Dreamworld’s Tiger Island. Here you can watch the big cats play with their handlers or experience these majestic animals for yourself – take a morning walk, feed them and don’t forget the selfie.
A few more places to check out in the Gold Coast:
Go wild with over 1,200 native Australian and exotic animals at Australia Zoo. Ride a camel, get up close and personal with a cheeky cheetah and say hello to a white rhino! You can even hire a caddie for the day and enjoy being chauffeured in a private buggy, getting the inside knowledge on all there is to know about the zoo AND exclusive reserved seating in the Crocoseum Stadium for the Wildlife Warriors Show.
It can be a challenge trying to fit everything in, so check out this blog post to help you make the most of your day at Australia Zoo.
Sea Life Mooloolaba
Uncover the secret world of marine life at Sea Life Mooloolaba. Find out what sea cucumbers feel like in the Tidal Touch Pools, swim face-to-fin with 20 species of shark and rays, shake flippers with a playful seal at Seal Island, or have a sleepover and explore the aquarium at night.
A few more places to check out on the Sunshine Coast:
- Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World
- Queensland Zoo
Tropical North Queensland
Cairns Wildlife Dome
The Cairns Wildlife Dome is a 20-metre-high glass dome encasing a rainforest environment with over 400 animals, on top of the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in the heart of Cairns. Watch as birds fly freely overhead or meet the resident saltwater crocodile, ‘Goliath’.
If coming face-to-face with a large crocodile isn’t enough to get your adrenalin pumping, then zip across the rainforest on a flying fox or free-fall through the air with Cairns ZOOm, a challenge ropes course with 50 crossings and zip lines.
Cairns Tropical Zoo
If you’ve cuddled enough koalas and want to try something a little more thrilling, head to Cairns Tropical Zoo. Large pythons and small crocodiles await at one of Australia’s best reptile displays and the daily program of presentations includes the only snake show to feature the world’s most venomous snake!
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
For a quieter, more peaceful approach to nature visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Home to over 1,500 magnificent tropical butterflies, these elusive insects come together in a beautiful chaos of colour. Guided aviary tours detail the life cycle and behaviour of a butterfly while the beautiful creatures flutter around you.
Tip: Be sure to wear bright clothing (we recommend red, white or hot pink) so they land on you!
A few more places to check out in Tropical North Queensland:
- Cairns Night Zoo
- Hartleys Crocodile Adventures
- Rainforestation Nature Park
- Birdworld Kuranda
- Kuranda Koala Gardens
- Carrowong Fauna Sanctuary
- Wildlife Habitat
Bundaberg North Burnett
Mon Repos Conservation Park
Mon Repos Conservation Park is turtle-riffic! From November each year, this world famous beach welcomes the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern mainland of Australia. Six to eight weeks later, from January to March, you can then witness the hatchlings emerge and make the dash to the sea to start their 100-year journey.
A few more places to check out in Bundaberg North Burnett:
- Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo
- Flying High Bird Sanctuary
Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary is a 25-acre haven for over 350 animals. Kangaroos, wallabies, emus and peacocks roam freely and happily welcome visitors to their home. Interact with some cheeky monkeys, hold a dragon (a central netted dragon that is) and be sure to catch the daily interactive show at 1pm.
A few more places to check out in the Capricorn Region:
Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary
Snap a selfie with a dingo or five at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, the first sanctuary in Queensland to breed dingoes in captivity. While you’re there don’t forget to give a kiss to Kadar the resident camel, say hello to Charlie the long-billed corella, and wrap Muscles the diamond python around your neck. Top it off with a BBQ picnic while you watch kangaroos and wallabies laze around, and you’ve got yourself a day!
Southern Queensland Country
Darling Downs Zoo
Go around the world with wildlife from Australia, Africa, South-East Asia and South America at Darling Downs Zoo. Navigate through the four regions and encounter the animals in their natural habitats. The zoo features monkeys, giant tortoises, a herd of zebras, and the only white lions in Queensland – that you have the opportunity to feed in the Big Cat Encounter!
Townsville North Queensland
Reef HQ Aquarium
Discover what lurks in the depths of the Great Barrier Reef while you stay completely dry at the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world. The 2.5-million-litre exhibition at the Reef HQ Aquarium is home to 120 species of fish and 130 species of coral. As you walk through the 20-metre underwater tunnel, see eye-to-eye with a turtle, or catch the underbelly of a shark as it swims overhead surrounded by schools of fish.
Don’t forget to catch one of their daily shark feeding or predator dive shows!
Other places to see in Townsville:
- Billabong Sanctuary
- Bungalow Bay Koala Village
The Living Reef on Daydream Island
If hand-feeding a shark is on your bucket list, look no further than The Living Reef on Daydream Island. This man-made living coral reef lagoon is one of the world’s largest, and is home to Bruce the sicklefin lemon shark and more than 140 species of marine fish and 83 species of coral. Entry is free and so are the twice-daily educational feeding sessions.
Book in for the Stingray Splash experience to walk knee-deep into the living reef and hand-feed the stingrays for 45 minutes.
Charleville Bilby Experience
Bilbies are slowly becoming an endangered species, and in Charleville you can join the fight to save this loveable marsupial. When you visit the Charleville Bilby Experience, you will be helping conservation efforts set up to protect these burrowing creatures. Come for the tour and you’ll not only learn all about bilbies, but will also be escorted in a small group through their breeding areas.
Texas Longhorn Wildlife Tours and Safaris
If you want a wildlife experience, outback style, then this is for you. Located just outside of Charters Towers, the Texas Longhorn Wagon Tours & Safari will take you on a traditional horse-drawn wagon tour back in time as you mosey through the bush and spot kangaroos, water buffalo, cattle and other native Aussie wildlife… oh, and don’t forget to spot the longhorns!