Where can I hold a koala? Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!
If you are going to the Gold Coast, don’t forget to visit this classic Aussie wildlife park – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!
We had just headed off in our hire car from Coolangatta Gold Coast Airport at the start of our holiday, when we saw the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Luckily our morning was free, and we just couldn’t resist, so we turned in for a random visit!
Money-saver tip – Parking costs an additional $8 in the Currumbin official car park, but early-birds can find free, or 2 hour free, parking just around the corner from the main entrance, in the street
Set in a beautiful environment, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is laid out around its largest natural feature – an enormous creek, chock-full of beautiful water birds. It’s so big, you need to catch the free mini-train to get around – which of course children just adore (as did my feet later on!)
Wildlife abounds everywhere at Currumbin – from the famous parrot feeding sessions (early and late in the day – free to view, outside of the ticket gates), to enclosed bird aviaries, to the abundance of Aussie native animals scattered about the park.
Kangaroos can be fed in an enormous enclosure, and we saw a very healthy and happy looking Tasmanian Devil (much happier than Sydney Wildlife’s rather sick-looking, miserable fellow).
You can cuddle a koala at Currumbin
Koalas can be seen all over Currumbin – and not from a distance either. It feels like you can almost reach out and touch them in some display enclosures – but best of all, you can actual cuddle a koala – and get a photo – in a special koala photo studio area!
It’s only legal to hold or touch a Koala in two states of Australia – South Australia…and Queensland! So when we saw we could actually hug a koala at Currumbin, we jumped at the chance!
For a very reasonable price (from *$23) we got a family photo with a koala – bargain!. Lucky Brooke, 9, got to hold the koala – with a bit of support from Samantha, 7. I even got to pat the koala myself! “Yani” the koala was as soft as silk, and I was quite in awe of the opportunity – we’d seen plenty of koalas close up in NSW and Victoria this year, but never been allowed to touch a koala before!
Adults and kids down to 7yo and over that can meet the minimum height can attempt the incredible tree-climbing challenge courses, which involve scaling huge trees using a series of wooden platforms, wire cables and flying foxes.
Designed using a safety double-clip attachment system, climbers are shown a short training video and given a walk-through on a short test course.
Brooke, at 9yo, was tall enough to attempt a course, and tackled the treetops with enthusiasm, but Samantha, at 7yo, was still too short (phew!).
The tree-climbing challenge courses are certainly not for those of us challenged by a fear-of-heights! Brooke was fine with the height, however eventually she did get to some spots she found a little too challenging. After about twenty minutes of climbing, it was time for her to call it a day – luckily there are a few spots where you can exit the course, and come back down to earth!
There are several family entertainment and wildlife shows on offer at Currumbin throughout the day too. Helpful volunteer staff are located around the park, and they hurried us along to whatever was about to start. We only had time for one show this visit, and saw a really entertaining, professionally-done Blinky Bill musical show.
In the show, the kids were taught a positive lesson about recycling, and then were offered a free pet-a-possum opportunity at the end of it with a gorgeous golden possum – only found in the wild in Tasmania!
Currumbin is not just a huge zoo, but also features some great children’s play areas – the main one is Wild Island. The kids could easily play here all day!
Kids love the multiple slides, suspended rope walkways and network of crawl-through tunnels on Wild Island.
There’s also a beautiful, tropical-corridor flying-fox that even I had a go of – it was lots of fun! Make sure you don’t miss this flying fox though, because it’s tucked away at the back of the main Wild Island adventure playground.
Currumbin cafes and restaurants
There are two main cafe restaurants to grab a bite to eat at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
An outdoor cafe restaurant can be found in the middle of the park. This one sells basic fried food packs, and whilst they’re not terribly appetising for us adults, often the kids love them – hot chips!
However the main attraction of this cafe for parents isn’t the food – its the attached little-kids playground. For parents desperate to let their toddlers and small children loose for some play-time whilst they have a coffee in peace, it can be worth its weight in gold!
The café located near the main entrance has some yummy breakfast and lunch options on offer, but you don’t come here for the food – you come here for the locals! At any moment you might just get an uninvited, but very welcome visitor or two at your table – gorgeous parrots!
Signs on the table inform that you’re not allowed to feed the birds (good luck with that), but they will still happily sit on your head – mainly so that they can get into position to pinch your chips, and even drink your water! What a perfect way to end to our lovely morning at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary useful info
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary location
28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin QLD 4223, Australia
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary admission costs*
General Admission $49.00
Koala Experience (Includes Entry) $79.00
4 in 1 Pass $69.00
Experience Pass with Tree Tops Challenge $60.00
Segway Tours $69.50
*All prices quoted are correct at December 2015
Have you visited Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary? What was your favourite area of the park?