There are a number of Zoos, Sanctuaries and places to see Australian, exotic, domestic, aquatic and other animals fish, birds and reptiles in and around Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas – each with something special to offer.
These are the best known ones to see….
LONE PINE SANCTUARY – 708 Jesmond Street, Fig Tree Pocket Tel: (07) 3378 1366 www.koala.net
This is Brisbane’s most popular zoo, about half an hour west from the City Centre – with the whole focus being on Australian wildlife, and particularly koalas. The area occupied by the Sanctuary dates back to 1865 when it was a cotton farm, but the only thing that links back to that time is a Hoop Pine Tree planted by the original farm owners. That tree still stands today, and the Sanctuary is named after it. The Sanctuary officially began life in 1927 with just two Koalas – ‘Jack’ and ‘Jill’, and this number has since grown to over 130 now, and lots of other animals have joined them too, including Kangaroos, Wallabies, Platypus, Tasmanian Devils, Crocodiles, as well as birds like Owls, Lorikeets and other parrots. Over the years many famous people have visited the Sanctuary including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, Pope John Paul II and many others.
Koalas can live up to about 18 or so, and spend a lot of their life sleeping, but they are very particular about their food, eating only a few types of Eucalyptus leaves. The Sanctuary has conducted a lot of research and studies of koalas to understand them better and are very committed to ensuring that Koalas are protected as much as possible.
ALMA PARK ZOO – Alma Rd, Dakakin Tel: (07) 3204 6566 is located north of Brisbane about an hour from the centre of Brisbane. The Zoo is set on 40 acres of land with around 12 acres of rainforest, and has a number of rare animals that you may not have seen elsewhere. These include Australian animals such as Eastern Quolls, Echidas and Dingoes, as well as animals such as a Red Panda, Tamarin Monkey, Sunbear, Baboons, Lemurs and Antelopes. The variety of animals and the park’s ambience make this zoo a favourite with families and visitors.
AUSTRALIA ZOO – Steve Irwin Drive, Beerwah Tel: (07) 5436 2000 www.australiazoo.com.au This Zoo, about an hour north of Brisbane, near the Glasshouse Mountains has lots of shows that attract big numbers of tourists each day – including the most famous show in the Crocaseum, where up to 5000 people can watch Crocs being fed and hear more about Crocodiles. The zoo was and is made famous by Steve Irwin, the star of “The Crocodile Hunter” TV shows, who died in 2006 off the coast of North Queensland, where he was fatally wounded by the barb of a stingray when they were filming. The park is a testament to the Irwin family’s commitment and passion for wildlife preservation, and Steve’s wife, Terri and two children, Bindi and Robert continue to run the Zoo, looking after the Zoo’s 1200 animals – with not just crocodiles, but also Tigers in the Tiger Temple, Elephants and many other animals.
CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY – 28 Tomewin Street , Currumbin on the Gold Coast Tel: (07) 5534 1266 www.cws.org.au is famous for Rainbow Lorikeet Parrots that land on your hands, shoulders and arms at feeding time, when you offer the specially prepared food for them. It is a great fun experience getting up close to so many colourful birds at one time, and the little lorikeets seem to love it too. The Currumbin Sanctuary is famous for this bird feeding, but also has lots of other birds and animals too, with different shows such as the Free flight bird shows with wedge tailed eagles, pelicans and other birds to see. The Sanctuary also runs a wildlife Animal Hospital, and new attractions including a Segway Safari, Treetop Adventure Parc all making the Sanctuary a great day out.
SUPERBEE HONEY WORLD is located at 35 Tomewin St Currumbin Tel: (07)5598 4548 is located next to the Bird Sanctuary and tells the story of bees and making honey, with bee keepers explaining how honey is made by the bees and other stories about them. You can also buy honey here too.
SEAWORLD – Pacific Highway, Oxenford Tel: 5588 2222 www.seaworld.com.au and www.seaworldresort.com.au Seaworld is one of a number of theme parks on the Gold Coast (see Theme Parks) attracting big crowds of people throughout the year to its many attractions. Centrepiece of Seaworld are the dolphin shows, where dolphins show off their unique skills interacting with their trainers, and people from the public that come to feed them. Seaworld also has sharks, seals, a reef lagoon where you can snorkel and experience life under the water in the reef and see sharks come up close. You can also see Polar Bears and take a ‘stormcoaster’ ride across the top of Seaworld on the coastguard roller coaster ride. Next door to Seaworld is Seaworld Resort – where you can also stay over and enjoy lots more.
UNDERWATER WORLD – is located on the Sunshine Coast at Mooloolaba at the Wharf. It has over 20,000 fish and other underwater sea life, making it the biggest Oceanarium in Australia. You can dive with the sharks, or watch them being fed, and walk through a glass tunnel under the Oceanarium to see fish, sharks and other sea life swimming around you, while you remain dry.
AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK SPECTACULAR – Entertainment Rd, Oxenford Tel: 13 33 86 www.outbackspectacular.com.auAustralian horses have played a significant role in the development of the Australian cattle and agricultural industry for over two centuries. See spectacular horseback riding at its finest with a nightly show featuring great horses and riders in the showcase arena. The show comes with lights, sound and even fog and rain too – all within the atmosphere of the outback. Enjoy a beer at the bar, and have dinner here before the show.
THUNDERBIRD PARK – Cnr Tamborine Mountain Rd and Cedar Park Falls Rd, Mount Tamborine Tel: (07) 5545 1468 www.thunderbirdpark.com If you like to see birds and animals in their natural environment, then a walk through the rainforest here will inspire you. Some of the special birds you might or might not see are Lyrebirds, Bower Birds, Butcher Birds, Wedge Tailed Eagles and if you are lucky you might even see a Platypus in the water. If you are in the park at 2pm each day, you will also be able to feed rainbow Lorikeets. The Park is more than just a place to see animals, there are high rope climbing adventures, and other activities too.
DARLING DOWNS ZOO – Is located at Clifton (midway between Toowoomba and Warwick on the Darling Downs) see www.darlingdownszoo.com.au Tel: (07) 4696 4107 located on the Gatton-Clifton Rd, cnr Baines Avenue. This zoo has rare white lions and also white wallabies, as well as a variety of animals from around the world – reptiles, birds, monkeys, baboons and more.
IPSWICH NATURE CENTRE – This is located off Goleby Avenue in Ipswich (Tel: (07) 3810 6666 and is in Queens Park. It covers 22 hectares and has a number of Australian animals, including Wombats, Emus, Wallabies and even a Bilby. Also nearby is a Triassic Park, in Denmark Hill Conservation Park (20 Chelmsford Ave) where you can see dinosaur fossils along the walkways.
FARM STAYS – there are lots of farms that are set up as ‘farm stays’ or ‘bed and breakfast’ accommodation. One of these is Lillydale (www.lillydale.com.au Tel: (07) 5544 3131) where you can stay over or just visit for a day trip to see beef cattle, chickens and other farm animals, ride a horse or have a tractor ride. The farm is located near the town of Boonah (southwest of Brisbane) on Upper Logan Rd, Mt Barney, via Rathdowney.
Australian animals and birdlife is quite unique – and seeing these animals up close is also quite special – all be it in a wildlife park or in the wild.
We hope you have a great time seeing animals.