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Published On: 22 Feb 2018

Where To Cuddle A Koala In Australia

The best place to meet our national icon



The koala is a much-loved symbol of Australia that’s instantly recognised by locals and tourists alike – and there’s only once place on earth you’ll find these uniquely adorable tree-dwellers: the great down under. If you’re mapping out your visit to the mainland, a koala cuddle experience is a touring milestone for all travellers and holidaymakers.

Nothing beats getting up close and personal with our Aussie natives, but only select areas in the country allow visitors the privilege to hold a koala. Aimed at educating visitors on conservation efforts, these very special encounters are strictly monitored to ensure the utmost wellbeing of those tree-hugging residents. 

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has been a favourite among Queenslanders and tourists for some time – but what else do we know about the humble koala?


Why do people love koalas so much?



Koalas are a tremendous draw for tourists, largely due to their gentle nature and distinctive “teddy bear-like” appearance.


Though often referred to as “koala bears” – these herbivorous national icons aren’t actually related to the latter. Koalas are in fact, marsupials, whose young (called joeys) are carried within their abdominal pouch. Koala joeys are blind and hairless during their stay in mum’s pouch, where they remain out-of-sight until they are old enough (between 7 and 8 months) to ride on her back.1

Koalas will spend the majority of their day dozing in the comfort and safety of their home trees – while slow-moving waking hours are occupied by eating their favourite moisture-rich eucalyptus leaves.


A home among the gum trees is under threat




Koala numbers are sadly dwindling – with disease and habitat loss at the forefront of their threatened status.


Koalas sure love their sleep, but these beloved marsupials might soon be waking up to a grave future – that’s because koalas are currently listed as a vulnerable species in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. 

Koala populations have been hit hard by devastating diseases such as chlamydia and koala retrovirus. Of the 400 yearly admissions to the wildlife hospital, around 80% of those koalas are affected by disease. That’s why the Sanctuary is working hard with The University of Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast and the City of Gold Coast to develop a koala chlamydial vaccine – but a boost to funding is desperately needed to safeguard further research.

But our Aussie wildlife populations are also being placed under enormous pressure as human activities merge into natural ecosystems. The story behind what many consider to be a national shame lies high up in the forks of gum trees, where vanishing habitats, dog attacks and busy roads have left a species in decline.2 Australia’s densely populated east coast is where their eucalyptus home trees flourish – and so koalas are essentially competing with humans as land clearing makes way for development.

Why your decision to cuddle a koala matters




Your contribution supports the ongoing conservation efforts of our Sanctuary.


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is no ordinary zoo. It serves as a haven to rescued native mammals, reptiles, birdlife and amphibians – and none other than the much-loved koala. Strong support from visitors has allowed the park and its magnificent residents to thrive for generations – and continued public education efforts have provided the Sanctuary with some vital breeding and conservation programs.

So why not make the decision to help protect koalas by supporting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s continuity of care?


You’ll have the opportunity to meet some of our koala families within their well-mimicked native surrounds – and more importantly, learn about their features, habitat, reproduction, and fussy food preferences. What better way to fulfil your Aussie itinerary, than by supporting a vulnerable species. To top off your experience, one of our professional photographers will capture your adorable cuddle so you can cherish your memory for life.

Or perhaps you’d rather make like a koala and climb the gumtrees by taking on the in-park TreeTop Challenge, for a bird’s eye view of the Sanctuary and all the animals.


Pay a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital


What’s more is this treasured Sanctuary is one of the few wildlife parks where you can visit an in-park community hospital free-of-charge and witness an amazing team of veterinary surgeons save the lives of sick and injured animals. The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has grown into one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world, with over 10,000 animal admissions every year – including over 400 wild koalas.

These beautiful animals deserve a brighter future. You can contribute even further by donating to our Tree to Me Program today.



1. Tobey, J.R., Andrus, C.H., Doyle, L., Thompson, V.D. and Bercovitch, F.B., 2006. Maternal effort and joey growth in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Journal of Zoology, 268(4), pp.423-431.

2. Preece, H.J., 2007. Monitoring and modelling threats to koala populations in rapidly urbanising landscapes: Koala Coast, south east Queensland, Australia.