Where to Cuddle a Koala in Australia

These cute, cuddly and iconic animals are one of the most recognised marsupials in the country, however, many visitors are not aware that it’s illegal to hold them in certain states. While it’s one of Australia’s most renowned and popular animal experiences, especially for those visiting from overseas, cuddling a koala is only possible in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. 

Overall, Queensland is your best bet if you are looking for a koala-holding experience, as it boasts the largest number of hands-on opportunities of any other state.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to hold a koala in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or the Northern Territory, so be sure to plan your itinerary accordingly if this experience ranks high on your bucket list! Here’s a complete list of available locations around Australia where you can cuddle up to one of these these impeccably cute Aussie animals.


Where to cuddle a koala in Queensland

Queensland offers the widest range of zoos and wildlife parks with hands on koala encounters. Many establishments offer professional photo packages for purchase while others allow you to take your own photos for no additional fee. See all Queensland zoos and parks that offer koala encounters below.

Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast

Perhaps Australia’s most famous zoo due to the efforts of the Irwin family, the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo offers koala encounters three times a day at 8:30am, 11am and 1:45pm. Encounters cost $40 per person, with optional photos available for purchase.

Australia zoo koala
Image: Australia Zoo

Billabong Sanctuary, Townsville

Located to the north of Townsville, Billabong Sanctuary is a quality wildlife attraction that allows visitors to hold and cuddle up to their adorable koalas. To commemorate this enjoyable experience you can purchase a photo package for $24 which includes a hard copy souvenir photo as well as a digital copy. During the encounter family members are also allowed to take their own photos.

Image: Billabong Sanctuary

Cooberrie Park, Cooberrie

Cooberrie is located roughly 30 minute from Rockhampton. Set amongst bushland, grassland and rainforest, Cooberrie Park offers koala holding experiences on enquiry. The encounters cost $20 per person and allows participants to take their own photos of the experience.

Cooberrie Park
Image: Cooberrie Park

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast

One of the Gold Coast’s longest running and most popular attractions, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s koala holding experiences are available all day from 8am to 5pm. Visitors are able to either purchase a standalone koala holding experience with photos, or bundle them together with park entry for $79 which represents a reduced overall price.

Currumbin WS
Image: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Dreamworld, Gold Coast

The Gold Coast’s largest theme park has expanded its offerings in recent years to offer more than just rides and is now home to a number of wildlife-oriented attractions including the ability to pose with a koala. Dreamworld’s koala experiences are available from 10am onwards, with prices starting from $24.95.