We’ve been living in Brisbane’s northern suburbs for a year now, and we’ve only just started to scratch the surface when it comes to days out. There are so many places to visit, from incredible beaches and buzzing theme parks to mountains and rainforests. The best part is, most of these are within an hour of where we live. That’s the amazing thing with moving somewhere new – everywhere around you is exciting and different. This really suits us as we love to travel and have new experiences together as a family. It’s going to take us decades to work our way through all of the places we want to visit.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Not long after we landed last year, we decided to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary as we’d read some great reviews on Trip Advisor and we wanted the kids to have some fun in between all the moving admin that had been keeping us busy. We were on a budget as Matt didn’t have a job and I hadn’t started up my freelance writing business back up yet, but days out here are reasonably priced compared with what it used to cost us in the UK (where a day out often came to £100+ just for the entry). An online family ticket for two adults and three children to Lone Pine costs $76.50 (about £34), or for $148 (about £67) you can buy a family annual pass. Given our budget, we decided to buy the annual pass as it meant we could go back for ‘free’ visits as often as we liked. It actually paid for itself on our first visit as the pass also gives you 20% off in the café and gift shop, which makes it a pretty incredible investment.
Lone Pine is a really sweet attraction. It’s small and friendly and is easy to get around in one full day, but it’s also the sort of attraction your kids will want to visit again and again. We’ve been at least five times now and the kids would happily visit every weekend without getting bored. You can hand feed and pat the kangaroos, hang out with the emus and there are plenty of cute, cuddly koalas to look at. (The best place to see the koalas is while sitting outside the café eating your lunch as they’re climbing the trees right next to you. If you’re lucky – like we were on our last trip – you might see a lively one jump across from tree to tree!)
You can get your photo taken with different animals through the day, so if you want to do this check out the timings when you arrive. Lincoln adores the photo we got of him holding a snake.
Our favourite hangout is in the platypus house. My boys will spend ages standing in the dark watching the platypus swim around hunting for crayfish. Occasionally they catch one and chomp it up, but more often than not they just miss their lunch by a fraction.
Throughout the day there are talks at the various animal enclosures. We love the lorikeet feeding as you end up covered in birds!
Just outside the main attraction gates there’s another café called the Riverside Café (still part of the attraction but it stays open after the sanctuary closes). They run special dinner events in the evenings and there are also regular outdoor movie screenings of kids’ films, so you can buy a hot dog or a carton of popcorn and take your blanket and cappuccino down to the grass to watch a movie with your kids as the sun goes down. The kids (and me, if I’m honest) think it’s the best thing ever.
Tip: When you visit, remember to take a bottle of water, sunblock and a hat with you as it gets hot (although there are shady spots around the park, and there’s a big undercover area to sit for a cool drink and an ice cream to cool off). If you prefer to save money you can bring a picnic and eat it at the tables in the area outside the café, but given the 20% discount for pass holders we generally eat cheaply at the café.
Many Brisbane city tours take in a trip to Lone Pine during the afternoon for a couple of hours. My advice would be to avoid these as although it’s quite small compared with some of the other wildlife attractions (such as Currumbin and Australia Zoo), you’ll still need a full day to really experience it properly.
My Steve Irwin-obsessed boys are so desperate to learn to be a zoo keeper for a day. It’s something they’re definitely going to get for their birthday or Christmas present in the next year or two as I know they’d love it as they’re constantly telling me they want to be zoo keepers when they grow up.
We’ll be going back many more times this year, so if you like looking at cute koalas be sure to follow me on Instagram!
I didn’t receive any compensation for writing this post – I just love Lone Pine! All opinions are my own.