Have you ever wanted to channel your inner Steve Irwin and hang out with crocodiles? No, me neither- but kangaroos might just do the trick for me. Regardless of whether you aspire to be the Crocodile Dundee or just want to get up and close with Australian animals- you’ll want to take advantage of everything Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has to offer- including holding a real-life koala!
Set just past the QLD, NSW border (well, in Australian milage) you’ll find Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Locally known as a place to take the kids, the vast age of tourists suggests that this is a place for all ages to witness some of nature’s more beautiful, or terrifying creatures.
I visited Currumbin for the first time in March 2018, having lived in Australia for 9 months at this point, I still hadn’t seen a koala and the majority of kangaroos that had passed me had tried to kill me by jumping into the road at dusk. I gave up on my wish to see all these animals in their natural habitats- like most backpackers eventually do, and opted to pay $50 to make sure I was in some koala-ty company of the day (oh what a terrible pun).
Upon arrival my wish came true. As soon as I walked through the turnstile, I was greeted by 5 docile koalas, casually snacking on bamboo. Admittedly, koalas are quite boring in reality. Yes, they’re awesome to look at, especially if it’s for the first time, but they don’t do a great deal of wandering around when there’s 50 iPhone cameras watching their every move. Nevertheless, a beautiful experience, if a little underwhelming.
Holding a koala, on the other hand, amazing. They’re heavy yet light, strong yet soft. A living paradox and an experience you certainly won’t want to miss out on. Of course, it costs extra, like any good marketing scheme in the world, but I promise it’s not something that you’d regret.
Now if bats and creepy crawlies are your pet peeve, find another way around the park. Unfortunately for me, my partner insisted we had to see some snakes and begrudgingly I joined him. Fascinating yes, but it makes me itch even now thinking about the number of things smaller than my lipstick that could kill me in thirty seconds flat, a mere few millimetres away from me.
From the bat cave, there is an adorable little steam train to take you to other sections of the park, including the animal hospital. This was a massive highlight for me, having watched Bondi Vet since I was old enough to work a TV remote. The hospital itself has massive glass windows, since you can’t go in- but it doesn’t stop you getting a piece of the action. From baby animals brought in directly from some god forsaken place to inmates who need booster checks, like any veterinary establishment, the cases change by the hour.
It’s also a great place to learn about the causes of harm to wildlife in Australia- spoiler, it has a lot to do with plastic and not recycling our rubbish on the beaches. You aren’t patronised or shamed at the family-friendly activities to promote recycling, but reminded of how important it is to pick up after yourself and what happens to essentially anything that goes into the ocean. Despite never seeing a piece of litter on any beach throughout my entire year in Australia, it’s very clear that it’s a massive issue for wildlife.
With this in mind, I hopped back on the train for the kangaroo enclosures. Turns out not all kangaroos are planning my premature death in a road traffic accident after all! The ones you meet in the Sanctuary are used to being around people and are incredibly loving, rather like a dog that’s being paraded around the park. They show off to their visitors and gobble any feed you put down in two seconds flat! This is the most photographed area of the park- but what’s more Australian than a selfie with a kangaroo?
There’s plenty more to see, including Queensland’s infamous crocs, beautiful birds coloured from the entire spectrum of the rainbow, and my favourites- red pandas! The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is 100% an all day activity- there’s just so much to see and take in!
This is a positive if you’re looking to budget on your trip. During my travelling period in Australia, I stuck to $50 a day (around £28-30) so coming here meant cutting back for the next few days- but given Queensland’s unlimited beaches, waterfalls and other free, but nonetheless breathtaking experiences, it’s fairly easy to splash out twice a week and spend the rest of your time sunbathing in bliss.
I’m hoping to write a lot more about my time in Australia now that the trip is over and I’m back on home soil in the UK. I would love to know if you’ve been to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or Queensland in general and what you thought! Don’t forget to send me a tweet or comment below x