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 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 9:30am, 11am and 1:45pm. Encounters cost $49 per person, with optional photos available for purchase.
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 $30 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.
Cooberrie Park, Cooberrie
Cooberrie is located roughly 30 minutes from Rockhampton. Set amongst bushland, grassland and rainforest, Cooberrie Park offers koala holding experiences on enquiry. The encounters cost $20 per person and allow participants to take their own photos of the experience.
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 8 am to 5 pm.
Visitors are able to purchase a koala holding experience with a single photo for $29. Patrons can take this photo separately or in groups, however, only one person is permitted to hold the koala.
Additional behind the scenes koala experiences are also offered at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary taking 10 lucky guests into the koala enclosure with keepers and cuddle a koala at the end of the experience. The Behind the Scenes Koala Experience is $49 per person and is available at 11am and 3.15pm.
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 10 am onwards, with prices starting from $24.95.
Kuranda Koala Gardens
Nestled in Tropical North Queensland’s village in the rainforest, Kuranda’s Koala Gardens has oriented around all things koala as well as other species of tropics wildlife including some traditional Aussie favourites.
Visitors to Kuranda Koala Gardens can pay a fee to hold and get a picture taken with a koala, which comes with a physical photo.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
Brisbane’s long-running and underrated wildlife park in Brisbane city’s only animal sanctuary. Home to one of the country’s largest collection of koalas, it’s no surprise holding koalas plays a role at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Guests can hold a koala here for free however there is an additional fee of $25 for professional photos and a smaller fee to take your own photos. The sanctuary sits just to the north of Brisbane and can be accessed by both road and water.
Paradise Country Aussie Farm, Gold Coast
This attraction aims to give visitors a simulation of a traditional Australian farm, complete with various kinds of native wildlife. Paradise Country Aussie Farm offers two different koala holding opportunities.
You can choose from a basic cuddling experience where you can pose with a number of different animals, or you can embark on a behind-the-scenes adventure with a wildlife handler to interact with, feed and cuddle the koalas for $45 per person.
You can also enjoy a breakfast with the koalas on Saturdays and Sundays in the koala nursery with the resident koalas and joeys.
Rainforestation Nature Park, Kuranda
Another quality Kuranda-based wildlife attraction, Rainforestation Nature Park is set out over a large area of World Heritage Rainforest and is highly eco-friendly.
Those looking to pose with koalas here can participate any time from 8 am to 5 pm each day, with a cost of $22 for a single physical koala photo, with optional family packs of photos also available.
Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas
This immersive wildlife experience is located right at the entrance to Port Douglas itself, which sits roughly 6 kilometres from the centre of town.
The Wildlife Habitat offers koala holding after their twice-daily koala presentations which take place at 10:45am each day for the price of $23 per person.
WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
The Whitsundays’ only true wildlife attraction, WILD LIFE Hamilton Island is easy to recommend as a family attraction for those travelling to the region with kids in tow. The attraction on its namesake Hamilton Island offers daily opportunities to hold and take photos with a koala at 9.30am- 10am every day except Fridays. Prior bookings are recommended for the koala cuddling experience.
Where to cuddle a koala in South Australia
South Australia also features several attractions that offer koala holding encounters, however, the range is more limited than in Queensland. Get up close with koalas in SA at:
Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills
Nestled in the Adelaide Hills roughly 20 minutes from Adelaide city, Cleland Wildlife Park is a quality attraction that’s far more open and free-ranging than your average zoo.
There are a variety of Koala packages available at Cleland including a free koala close-up with the entry fee, a hold-a-koala experience for $32, and a private koala package for an extended package in greater depth and detail.
Gorge Wildlife Park, Cudlee Creek
Located in the aptly-named Cudlee (or is that “Cuddly?) Creek, Gorge Wildlife Park is not only a great wildlife attraction and one of the few in South Australia where koala holding is permitted, but it’s also the only place in Australia where you can hold and take a photo with a koala at no extra charge to the admission fee. You’ll need to take your own photographs.
To take advantage of this great value proposition, be sure to attend the available encounters at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm or 3:30 pm daily.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is a haven for wildlife experiences in general, and those who want to hold a koala can attend the excellent Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park to take part in one of several koala interaction sessions (10.30 am, 1.30pm and 4 pm).
These sessions allow visitors to get up close with the koalas and pose beside them for photos, while bookable holding experiences are also available at 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm for an additional fee of $30 per person.
Where to cuddle a koala in Western Australia
Lastly, Western Australia is very limited as far as koala holding goes, with only one wildlife park offering visitors the chance to hold one of these cute animals.
Cohunu Koala Park, Perth
Located 40 minutes from Western Australia’s capital of Perth, Cohunu Koala Park is the state’s only spot to get your hands on a koala for a souvenir photo.
Photo sessions with the koalas are held daily from 10 am to 4 pm, for a price of $30 per person. Given that it’s your only chance to do so in WA, the monetary investment may just be worth it!
In addition, if you’re looking for a complete list of tickets for some of these places to cuddle a koala around Australia, be sure to check out our main catalogue page for info and to grab your tickets online!