10 Ways to Get Close To Nature & Wildlife Near Brisbane City

Kangaroos eating on green grass

2.66min read

Published 31 May 2017


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

Two koalas asleep in a tree
If you’ve always wanted to hold a koala, head to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Image: Getty

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

Close up view of a rainbow lorikeet
Every day, guests can come and feed the wild rainbow lorikeets. Image: Getty

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

Saltwater crocodile submerged under water
The saltwater crocodile is one of three species of crocodile at Australia Zoo, alongside the freshwater crocodile and the American alligator. Image: Getty

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

Tawny frogmouth owl
Walkabout Creek Wildlife Centre even has a walk-through aviary. Image: Getty

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

Crimson rosella in a tree
The crimson rosellas at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat are a delight for visitors. Image: Getty

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

View from Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island
The view from Point Lookout is one of the best on North Stradbroke Island. Image: Getty

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

bottlenose dolphin
The cheeky dolphins have no problem coming up close to visitors at Tangalooma. Image: Getty

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

Close up of a Kookaburra
There’s a resident Kookaburra to engage with at Daisy Hill Koala Centre. Image: Getty

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

Womat rests his head on a log
Children will love the baby animals at Ipswich Nature Centre. Image: Getty

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

The Natural Bridge rock formation in Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge rock formation is located within ancient Gondwana rainforest. Image: Getty

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.

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