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  • Writer's pictureClaire

23/2/24 Brisbane Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Today was the day we discovered if Koala's actually existed or if they were just a mythical creature existing in the realms of unicorns and rocking horse shit.

The Lone Pine Sanctuary was about 20 minutes from the apartments and the Uber picked us up outside. There was a weird smell in the car which I couldn't describe if my life depended on it, all I do know is that it was making me feel really sick! I think the driving abilities of the driver contributed to that as well. It was shockingly bad. The anxiety levels hit 100 and I was wanting the trip over as soon as possible. He was a bit odd too, not very communicative despite Si's best efforts. We finally arrived at the Sanctuary, and I was out of there like a horse out of the gates. Unusually for me I declined to tip him. He was truly awful.

We were a tad early arriving, but with very good reason. You can cuddle a Koala for a fee (obviously) but I had read you needed to be there early as the slots go very fast and once they're gone there are no more. Despite having to wait a good half an hour for the Sanctuary to open we rolled down to the entrance. We came to a stop on the yellow line with "please wait here" painted on the floor behind it and were in prime position to be first off the grid. Out bloody standing result! I'd purchased the tickets online to get us in, so didn't have to do that when we arrived. It was just case of waiting for the Sanctuary to open. A couple of Chinese people tried to jump in ahead, and were promptly told to get to the back of the line by the staff. For this alone I will be giving the staff stars in my review.

Finally it opened and we were off, rattling down the path to the booking office that sold the tickets for the days events. The hills and corners were taken at speed, and we kept our line tight. As well as cuddling a Koala you could touch one and have photos taken. There were kangaroo food bags for sale at the booking counter, but we were there for Koalas and Koalas alone!. There were a couple of talks listed, and other photo opportunities , and a Platypus tour. I would have done the Platypus tour, because they just fascinate me. Unfortunately it coincided with the Koala cuddle and I wasn't about to not cuddle a grey fluffy thing that wasn't Simon!!

There were elbows going in all directions as people jostled past us. I had to urge Si to speed up or we'd miss out on Koala cuddles!! To my utmost disgust, one of the ladies (I use that term loosely) who had tried jumping the cue, overtook us at speed. Cheeky mare, she was the recipient of my Paddington bear hard stare. Afore mentioned stare should of had her quaking in her stupid little hello kitty shoes, except she studiously avoided looking at me. It was one of my better ones too.

As it happened, we were 3rd in the que, not bad but given our prime location on the grid, I had not anticipated loosing pole position to a woman wearing hello kitty shoes. However we got our place on the list, and with the precious golden Koala Cuddling ticket finally clasped in my sweaty little hand, we went into the adjacent cafe for a drink. The pressure of getting the ticket was also to much for me, I could have done with cake to be honest, but settled for a soft drink instead.

Once we'd drink our drink, I went for a nose about the gift shop which was in the cafe area sectioned off. It was pretty empty but I still managed to cause chaos with Mildred because everything was too close together. Having mentally made a list of what I wanted to buy later, I rolled back to Si and we trundled off to see the Koalas in the Sanctuary. There were Koalas everywhere, most of them fast asleep in the branches of trees. Some of them looked really uncomfortable, but their balancing skills were on full display and we didn't see one fall off a branch. They are like all animals and have slightly different markings and the two breeds they had there were easily distinguished by their ears. One lot had super fluffy ears, the others were not so fluffy. They were all super cute though. I contemplated kidnapping one and then reconsidered because we've only got a little bag and one wouldn't have fitted up my top.

They are all in purpose built concrete houses, and the sanctuary has planted a massive Eucalyptus forest so they can sustain the koalas with their favorite food. There are, I think, well over 50 types of Eucalyptus, but Koalas are a bit picky about the ones they prefer. I guess it's like me preferring dairy milk over galaxy...

I have no idea how many there were housed there, but what we could see was that they all looked really healthy and well looked after. We were able to watch them being fed with fresh branches and the old ones taken out. I say old, they were only about 24 hours old but the leaves had started wilting on them so they were removed from the little houses.

As things go they are so bloody cute, and they cuddle up to each other on branches, my guess would be maybe safety in numbers ? The likeness to Stitch is uncanny especially when their limbs are hanging down over the branches and their claws are out.

My slot for cuddles was 1100hrs and I was there and ready for it 15 minutes early, keen much?! The line was short and we were given a plastic card with one koala hold on it that we had to give to the handler. When my turn came, Si wheeled me on and had my camera at the ready for taking photos. They take an official photo for you which you collect from the booking kiosk after the session is over. The handler instructed me to hold out my hands for the Koala who's name was Jethro to sit in. Jethro didn't snuggle in, but sat on my hands with his nuts resting in my lap and his one arm on my chest. The handler was feeding him Eucalyptus to keep him amused while the other girl and Si were taking photos. Si was allowed to get in on the photo as well and the photographer had my phone and spammed it with pics of the three of us. Once they were done we managed to get a pic of Bob and Kev with Jethro too.

When the handler lifted Jethro off my lap, we discovered he'd left me a very special present. The dirty little bugger had taken a shit in my lap!!! I now suspect that's why his hand was on my chest, he was busting for a dump, and decided to use me as a straining post and fired out a tump of pellets into my lap. Rude. Just Rude.

It was more than a bit funny though, and it flew off pretty well being of the firm variety. I was just happy it wasn't the consistency of cow poop.

With my Koala cuddle complete we went around the rest of the sanctuary. We gave the kangaroos a miss as we'd seen them in the wild in their dozens, but we did go see the dingo's, who looked a little like Tikaani, salt water crocs, lizards, and miniature donkeys. There were also Tasmanian devils but due to the heat they were hiding somewhere, as were the Wombats. We did see a pile of fur in a tree trunk in the Wombat place, but there were none outside . However given that it was over 40 degrees, I can't say as I blamed them. We spotted a cute little Echidna, sheltering from the hot sun, they are cute as well, and I'm chuffed Si got to see one.

We were in need of some respite from the sun, so went into the reptile house. It was so cool in there, we stayed a while to simply revitalise ourselves. Snakes and spiders and weird tree insects filled the glass cages, but it was definitely the air con that was the biggest draw!

From the reptile house we went to the Platypus enclosure. They were quite difficult to spot, and oh boy they swam like greased lightning. They actually have nasty venom in their back claws that isn't very pleasant for humans, which was something I had no idea about. It climbed out of the water and had a good old scratch up on top of a rock, and once it was done satisfying the itch so to speak, just slid back into the water.

Having seen everything we wanted, and photographed the Koalas a million times each, we opted for another cold drink before buying some souvenirs. I am now the proud owner of a pink stretchy Koala which I'm hoping will help with car travel. If it doesn't, I still have a pink Koala to stretch the limbs of. With purchases safely stowed away, we decided it was time to make a move. There were so many people inside the place now, it was bordering unpleasant from my point of view.

We called another Uber who was there in minutes, a Tesla this time, loaded up and headed back towards the city. Passing a sign for Toowong I began to giggle, and then the really awful puns started and kept going for quite some time. We picked up a cooked chicken for tea and some salad leaves and headed back to the apartment to eat in the cool.

A truly epic day, we established that Koala Bears are definitely real, that they are very cuddly, except when they're taking a dump, and, they are incredibly photogenic. Excellent.

Much Love


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