Queensland Koala

Where can you cuddle a koala in Queensland?

There’s a fantastic scene that opens Love Actually – you might know it?

Hugh Grant’s voice is heard over scenes of loved ones greeting each other at the arrival gate at Heathrow Airport: “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.”

We take Hugh’s arrival gate analogy and raise him a koala cuddle, because nothing is so fur-fueled and feel-good than a 4kg koala, holding you tight.

Since Queensland is one of a few Australian States where you are actually allowed to cuddle a koala, whenever you start to think we “live in a world of hatred and greed,” you’ll find that koalas (and love), are all around in Queensland.

Here’s where to go for ‘koality’ good times:

If you’re holidaying on the Gold Coast:

1. Dreamworld

Koala cuddle Dreamworld

Photo by @dreamworldau

Make it a day out at Australia’s biggest theme park, Dreamworld, with over 50 rides and attractions. You’ll find cuddly koalas nestled in the Dreamworld Corroboree, which is home to over 500 native animals.

2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 

Cuddle a koala at the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary then make like one, climbing gum trees with the Tree Top High Ropes Challenge, above the canopy.

 3. Paradise Country

Experience real Australian bushland at Paradise Country, where you can also have your photo taken with one of these cute Aussie natives at Koala Village.

Looking for a dose of fur-charm in Brisbane:

4. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Visit Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, home to more than 130 koalas. The sanctuary is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary. With any luck you could cuddle the bear that’s cozied up to the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Russel Brand – talk about a brush with fame!

When you’re looking for more than the beach on the Sunshine Coast or Fraser Coast:

5. Australia Zoo

Koala cuddle at Australia Zoo

Photo by @australiazoo

Get hands-on with waddling wombats, koalas, slithering snakes and kangaroos at Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter and Wildlife Warriors.

6. Wildlife HQ Zoo

Hop aboard the Sunshine Coast’s answer to Noah’s ark, Wildlife HQ Zoo. Here you can cuddle a koala and get close to other Australian natives like wombats, dingoes, sugar gliders, Tassie devils and crocs too.

If you find yourself around Bundaberg or along the Capricorn Coast

7. Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo

This place may be best known as the home of reptiles, but they do cute and cuddly as well with koala encounters. After you’ve had a snuggle with resident koalas Millie, Bonnie or Matilda, check out the snakes and frogs, crocodiles and kangaroos around the Park.

8. Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary

Dial up the cuddle charm with a visit to Cooberrie Wildlife Sanctuary on the Capricorn Coast. Once you’ve cuddled a koala, why not share the love with their resident snakes, crocodiles and lizards which are also happy to be handled (if you’re game)?

When you want wildlife in the Whitsundays:

8. Wildlife Hamilton Island

Spoil yourself with a trip to Hamilton Island, if not just for the blue waters and award-winning accommodation, but to have breakfast with the koalas at Wildlife Hamilton Island. We promise you won’t be served eucalyptus leaves like your breakfast date (did you know adult koalas can eat 500g of leaves a day?!).

If you’re in sunny Townsville:

9. Billabong Sanctuary

Go cute then creepy, with koala and wombat cuddles followed by saltwater crocs and other native species at Townsville’s Billabong Sanctuary. It’s no surprise the koala cuddles are so good here – Magnetic Island happens to be home to a population of over 800 wild koalas – not bad for a tiny island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef!

If you’re holidaying in Tropical North Queensland:

10. Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

Mix freely with native animals in the four different environments of the savannah, wetlands, rainforests and grasslands at the Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas. Koalas get the Matt Preston VIP treatment here, with a buffet of 12 different eucalyptus leaves served daily. It turns out koalas grow an acquired taste for leaf varieties in captivity.

11. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

No matter where you’re based for your Tropical North Queensland holiday, you’ll be able to cuddle a koala at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures within 40 minutes drive from Cairns or 30 minutes from Port Douglas. You can cuddle these furry locals in the morning and afternoon and stick around for the koala feeding sessions in the afternoons as well. Make a day of it and take a boat cruise to see the crocs in action or see cassowaries, wallabies, quolls and snakes as you make your way around this epic animal experience.

12. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

Koala cuddle at Cairns ZOOM

Photo by @cairnszoom

Stop over at Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome, the world’s first challenge ropes course in a wildlife exhibit with 65 elements of crossings and ziplines. Also: Home to seriously snugly koalas.

13. Kuranda Koala Gardens

You know you’re going to find too much koala to bear at the aptly-named Kuranda Koala Gardens. Nestled in the heart of the rainforest village of Kuranda, there’s plenty of fur to cuddle and hold here.

Looking for more ‘koala-fications’?

Get the bear essentials with these posts:

Still need proof love is all around?

See, even Putin couldn’t resist a koala’s charm!

G20 koala_Abbott and Putin

Did we miss any? Where is the best place to cuddle a koala in Queensland?