22nd April 2012 – It was already 9 a.m. when we woke up. It was bright and sunny outside and the weather is forecasted to be good all day. An outdoor activity – a trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary would be just perfect. We skipped breakfast and head to the city to catch the bus to the sanctuary.
If you want to take the bus to Lone Pine from Brisbane you could do so by taking bus number 445 that leaves from bus stop 40 at Adelaide Street or bus number 430 that leaves from Platform B4, Queen Street bus station. I’ve got this information from the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary website.
I chose to take the bus from Adelaide Street because it’s nearer. It took us more or less 30 minutes to walk from our hostel to bus stop 40. The bus time table indicates that the next bus to Lone Pine is in 10 minutes at 11.10 a.m. So we waited…its 11.15 a.m, tick tock tick tock 11.20 a.m, tick tock tick tock hmmm…. still no sight of bus 445. I checked the bus time table again and oopss!! Bus 445 to Lone Pine does not service this stop on Sunday. Geezzz how did i miss that! There was no other choice, so head to Queens Street bus station, which is 2 blocks away. We came across and visited the tourist information centre. We bought the entrance tickets to Lone Pine here as they offered 10% off from the normal price. By the time we arrived at the bus terminal, it was already 11.40 a.m. and we had just missed bus 430 to Lone Pine. The next bus is at 12.30 p.m. So we decided to grab brunch at the food court above the terminal ~ chicken kebab with rice for me and chicken kebab in wrap for my friend. We had wasted a couple of hours for failing to get the earlier bus to Lone Pine but were still in high spirit.
12.30 p.m. sharp bus 430 made its way to Lone Pine. The journey took about 45 minutes. Luckily we had already bought the entrance tickets and avoided the long queue at the sanctuary. I have promised to meet up with my nephew later that day. So we planned to spend about 2 hours at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and catch the 3.30 p.m bus back to the city. High on our agenda was to see the koalas and kangaroos, two of Australian’s wildlife premier icon.
As we entered the wildlife sanctuary, we were greeted by a noisy bird that looks like a turkey. Suddenly my friend starts jumping and running away. Then I saw an iguana crawling under the bushes. A few other visitors start to freak out too. Nothing to be alarmed as the iguana looked harmless and was going about doing its own things.
Our first stop was the southern zone. It was my 1st sighting of marsupial we called koala. They looked like a cuddly teddy bear. There were 3 koalas, two of them holding tightly to the tree branch and probably sleeping. The third one was walking up and down, not bothered at all by the many visitors. Then we went to the retirement home. By the name, this is where the “oldies” are kept. They must be the “star” of the sanctuary once, and doesn’t mind to entertain the visitors with picture perfect pose. Then we went to the kindergarten section where the cute young koalas are kept. It is interesting to see them playing, rolling and give each other a massage. Finally we arrived at the koala cuddling section. You need to pay AUD$16 to cuddle a koala and get your photo taken. This is above the entrance fee of AUD$33 (AUD$30 if you buy from tourist information centre at Queens Street). I know this may sound expensive, but it’s once in a lifetime experience and we cannot resist ourselve not to cuddle the cute koala. I did feel ashamed because we were as excited as the young children queuing for this experience…hahah! I think the koala that I cuddled likes me…;P. We collected our koala photos from the souvenir shop and bought some koala souvenirs for friends at home and a packet of kangaroos munchies for our next adventure up close with Australian wildlife.
In Lone Pine there are 2 types of kangaroos; the red kangaroos and the grey kangaroos. Entering the kangaroo reserve, we saw two wombats soundly sleeping in its burrow. There’s also the emu and ostrich. The kangaroos are allowed to roam freely in the reserve. They seem to know that when there’s visitors there’s food. We went to a group of kangaroos who are just lying on the grass. Two quickly stand up and came nearer to us. My friend quickly pulled out the munchies and they eagerly waited to be fed. I put some of the pellets on my palm and fed one of the kangaroos. Yikes! He used his toungue which was full of saliva to eat the pellets from my palm.
After the feast, we realised that one of them has a baby in its pocket. Only the legs were jutting out…must be sleeping….after about 15 minutes, the head pop out…I was so thrilled and no words can described that moment….it was really incredible. I guessed it’s probably mating season, we could see male kangaroos fighting over a female and a couple happily cuddling each other. In another group, a mother breastfeeding its kid and one male kangaroo was soundly sleeping and just didn’t want to be disturbed.
It was a bit unfortunate we couldn’t stay longer to see some of the other attractions at Lone Pine. But I wouldn’t want to miss the 3.30 pm bus to the city. Anyway I had promised my nephew to meet up for dinner and handover all the stuffs my sister bought for him. For first timer in Australia and if you are in Brisbane, do not miss to visit this place. It would be great for kids too.