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14 places you can cuddle a koala in Queensland

They’re an Australian icon; a eucalyptus-munching national treasure and found nowhere else in the world. As one of only two Australian states where koala cuddling is permitted, there are plenty of places you can cuddle a koala in Queensland.

From the Gold Coast to Cairns, this is one photo you’ll want to add to your holiday snaps. So bring your best snuggles – you’re about to get up close and personal with these gorgeous marsupials.

If you’re on the Gold Coast

1. Dreamworld

The Gold Coast’s Dreamworld is famous for its thrills and family-friendly attractions, but did you know you can also meet native wildlife?

Pose for a pic with one of the local koalas residing at Corroboree and you’ll not only take home an adorable photo keepsake, but feel the love by giving back too. Important conservation work is being undertaken by Dreamworld’s Wildlife Foundation and a percentage of proceeds from cuddles goes directly to the Foundation.

2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 

Sanctuary by name and by nature, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast has been committed to protecting and conserving native wildlife for over 70 years.

There’s no shortage of koala cuddles ‘round here, with more than 50 koalas in care, so stop by for a professional photo (group photos are available too). Be sure to visit the Wildlife Hospital; it’s one of the busiest in the world, with 500 koalas being admitted and cared for by the team last year alone.

 3. Paradise Country

Fancy the idea of sharing breakfast with a koala? We’ve found just the place – Paradise Country on the Gold Coast offers weekend Koala Breakfast experiences at its Farmhouse Restaurant.

Sit beside the koalas as they eat their greens and order the most delicious combo ever – a koala cuddle with a side of breakfast.

Looking for a furry friend in Brisbane

4. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala takes its koala conservation seriously, and for good reason – it’s the largest koala sanctuary in the world, with over 130 native Aussies calling this wildlife refuge home.

Many celebrities have paid a visit to Lone Pine for an up-close encounter with these fluffy VIPs, so make like Taylor Swift and post some special koala memories of your own.

Beyond the beach on the Sunshine Coast or Fraser Coast

Bini Irwin Australia Zoo | cuddle a koala in Queensland

Photo by @australiazoo

5. Australia Zoo

Things are bound to get pretty wild at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, but in the best way possible of course. This is a front row seat to see a menagerie of over 1000 native and exotic wildlife and many don’t mind a meet and greet.

But of course the favourites are the koalas, who when not snoozing, will be quite happy to give you a hug.

6. Wildlife HQ Zoo

A little further north, Wildlife HQ Zoo may be smaller in size than its neighbours at Australia Zoo, but it’s got just as much heart, re-homing 200 animals from their previous residence at Alma Park Zoo.

Pay the loveable inhabitants of the Koala Station a visit and you can even BYO iPhone/camera. No pros needed here, just a happy snap of the cutest cuddle you’re ever likely to receive.

If you’re around Bundaberg or along the Capricorn Coast

7. Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary

Headed for the Capricorn Coast? Get acquainted with lizards, birds, snakes and, of course, koalas at Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary in Yeppoon.

Your entry fee includes animal encounters (including patting a koala) during the daily interactive show, and use of barbecue facilities and a swimming pool. Koala cuddles and photo sessions are available separately too.

8. Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Snakes Downunder Reptile Park & Zoo is only about the scaly and slippery.

There’s no denying reptiles and amphibians are the heroes here, but you can also cosy up to Millie and Matilda in a koala encounter.

Wildlife in the Whitsundays

9. Wildlife Hamilton Island

When you need a break from all the swimming, snorkeling  and SUPing at Hamilton Island, jump on the buggy and head for Hamilton Island Wildlife.

Enjoy a special breakfast alongside the cutest koalas before taking part in a guided tour to discover more native Aussie wildlife. Once you’ve had koala cuddles, there’s also a chance to meet a dingo or a snake.

If you’re in sunny Townsville

10. Billabong Sanctuary

Family-owned and operated Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville is home to over 50 native animal species, including a koala colony that’s not at all camera-shy.

Koalas here are part of the Sanctuary’s successful koala breeding program, keeping the colony healthy for a better chance of species survival and our next generation of koala-cuddlers happy too.

If you’re in Tropical North Queensland

11. Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

Wander through wetlands, woodland, rainforest, savannah and nocturnal habitats at Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas. With five worlds to take in, you can make a full day of it, but be sure to book in for your Feature Creature photo session with snakes, crocs and of course koalas waiting to meet you.

12. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

If you want to see a crocodile up close in its natural habitat, you’ve come to the right place.

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures (located between Port Douglas and Palm Cove) is home crocs, but also other scaled, feathered and furry friends that call TNQ home too. Take the one-hour interactive mammal magic to meet the cutest marsupials. The tour includes feeding, patting and holding – but also a dedicated koala talk and souvenir photo of you cuddling a koala too.

13. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

Scrub up on your marsupial know-how and learn a thing or two about koalas and their eating, breeding and sleeping habits at Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome.

Koala cuddles and photos are all part of the fun, and while you’re here, put your balance and fancy footwork to the test on the world’s first challenge ropes course inside a wildlife park.

14. Kuranda Koala Gardens

Naturally, koalas are the stars at Kuranda Koala Gardens. But did you know there’s evidence that koalas were rainforest dwellers before Australia’s dry landscape forced them to adapt to eating the more plentiful eucalyptus leaves?

Discover many more interesting facts as you observe the residents napping, snacking and moving from tree to tree. While you’re there, add some other Australia’s notable native animals to your visit list – freshwater crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and reptiles all call Kuranda Koala Gardens home too.