The city of Brisbane is home to a vast range of native wildlife, spread among its many national parks, rainforests, surrounding islands, sanctuaries and zoos. Venture a little out of the city centre and amidst the trees, creeks and oceans you’ll find koalas, wallabies, wombats, platypuses and an assortment of birds and local marine animals.
1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A top spot for celebrity sightings, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is found about 12 kilometres from Brisbane city and is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary. There are over 130 koalas to hold, while the natural bush setting also contains kangaroos and a large variety of Australian wildlife.
2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
This heritage-listed tourist destination is home to a range of native Australian animals including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, dingos, rainbow lorikeets and crocodiles. There are shows, live productions, Blinky Bill and markets to enjoy; all about 1.5 hours’ drive from Brisbane’s CBD.
3. Australia Zoo
This famous zoo attracts tourists from all over the world. Owned by the Irwin family, Australia Zoo is a vast wildlife retreat featuring a great range of animals in their natural habitats. See tigers, camels, wombats, otters, rhinoceros, snakes and crocodiles, take in a wildlife show, or book an animal encounter to meet your favourite mammal up close.
4. Walkabout Creek Wildlife Centre
Ideal for young children or those seeking a tranquil, nearby city escape, this hidden gem encompasses compact inner and outdoor enclosures with a great selection of local fauna, including tawny frogmouth owls, snakes, wallabies, platypuses and possums. Surrounded by greenery, the centre also features a cafe and is located at the entrance to the Enoggera Dam
5. O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and Lamington National Park
Drive south and up a winding mountain to this rainforest retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland. O’Reilly’s offers a range of boutique accommodation as a base to explore the idyllic surroundings, which includes rainforests, waterfalls, an abundance of native animals and the popular Birds Of Prey show and nightly glow worm tour.
6. North Stradbroke Island
Catch a ferry from Cleveland to the second largest sand island in the world for stunning beaches, rainforests, a tea-infused lake and 18 species of land mammals including wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, koalas and bandicoots, and marine mammals including whales, dolphins and dugong.
7. Tangalooma, Moreton Island
One of the highlights of this spot is the chance to handfeed one of the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the shores each evening at sunset. The Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre is surrounded by 98 per cent national park and also features kookaburra, fish and pelican feeding, and seasonal whale watching cruises, while the landscape of Moreton Island encompasses picturesque beaches and golden sand dunes.
8. Daisy Hill Koala Centre
See koalas in a native outdoor setting at Daisy Hill Koala Centre. Admission is free to this small but interesting enclosure, which features two viewing platforms, boardwalks and an interactive centre designed as a dedicated koala education facility. The koalas can’t be touched, but they are easy to meet in close proximity.
9. Ipswich Nature Centre
In Ipswich’s historical Queens Park sits Ipswich Nature Centre, offering the opportunity to get up close with some of Australia’s native wildlife. Meander along the wooden ramps and delight in seeing kangaroos, wombats, goats, bulls, chickens, snakes, emus and bilbies, while the barnyard section and the enclosed bird aviary with its brightly coloured residents are also popular with animal lovers.
10. Springbrook National Park
Visit Springbrook National Park’s Natural Bridge section at night and you’ll see scatterings of brilliant blue-green lights decorating the rocky overhangs and steep earth banks along the 1 kilometre circuit. This colony of Arachnocampa glow-worms can be seen after sunset, with the best displays during the warmer, wetter months of the year. Other attractions of the heritage-listed Springbrook National Park include dense, Godwanan rainforest abundant with a diverse collection of flora and fauna.