Bella and Emma meet the koalas

6 August 2019

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane

At Stefan’s Dad’s house there is a lovely photo of his Mum cuddling the cuddliest looking koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on her visit to see him when he lived in Brisbane.

For this reason and to get up close to these cutest of marsupials, a visit was firmly on my must do list when in the city. And I found the most enthusiastic of companions in our hosts, Ranny and fifteen month old Bella. (Readers of our other blog will remember her from our Adventures with Bella in Slovenia and Croatia.)

When we arrived we found the koalas all fast asleep but still exceptionally cute. Their eucalyptus diet doesn’t give them that much energy so they sleep for 20 hours a day!

With not much koala action we headed instead for a barn animal experience where Bella was somewhat unimpressed by the fluffy yellow chicks and guinea pigs but got up close and personal to a very friendly goat.

Next we went to a flying display of the sanctuary’s raptors. Watching the Barn Owl fly reminded me of my very recent visit to the Scottish Owl Centre. The Barking Owl flew even closer over our heads and looked more like a hawk than an owl but by far the most impressive was the enormous Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia’s biggest bird of prey. We were treated to a rather gruesome display of it disembowelling a rat!

After the horror show we wandered into the kangaroo enclosure for some closer encounters than I had ever imagined with these Australian icons. It was good to finally see some alive!

Armed with bags of kangaroo food Ranny and I fed the surprisingly tame and gentle creatures

and even Bella enjoyed stroking one of them.

This guy in particular seemed very relaxed at all the humans in such close proximity.

If the koalas were sleepy, Australia’s other indigenous species were equally lazy. The Tasmanian devil, wombat and dingo were all just lying around in the winter sun.

The emu was a little more active and also surprisingly tame. Nothing like Rod Hull’s emu from my childhood.

Outside the sanctuary’s enclosures I got to meet some of its wild residents. Anyone who knows me well knows that lizards are my nemesis and so, to Ranny’s great amusement, I may have screamed just a little when we came across this Eastern Water Dragon on our path. I was much happier to meet the pretty Noisy Minor bird!

When we returned to the koala enclosures we found them awake and wandering around. As we were thinking of leaving, we asked if they had any babies at the sanctuary and were so glad we did

because we had definitely left the best until last! Watching the little joeys clinging on to their mothers and starting to explore in the trees made it very hard to leave. I could have stayed all day watching them. It was as much as I could do not to hide one in my bag.

Bella and I absolutely loved our first visit to Lone Pine and in the end I did leave with a koala of my own!

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