How to do the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast
Where in the world can you visit a wildlife sanctuary that’s just steps from the beach? Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast is where. Home to native Australian animals and a few friends from overseas who have been living the beachside dream for just over 70 years.
If cuddling a koala, meeting kangaroos and seeing crocodiles, snakes and all sorts of native Australian wildlife is on your Gold Coast holiday wish list – we’ve planned your perfect day out at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Be an early bird
Start your day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary early with a big deep breath: the salt air fused with eucalyptus will do wonders for your sinuses, but will also give you a clue where to find the entrance.
If you arrive at 8am you’ll beat the rush of people, but not the birds, as hundreds of rainbow lorikeets swoop in for a twice-daily dose of nectar. Keep your hat on and join them for breakfast, but be warned – they’re messy eaters, and if you join the free feeding, they might just mistake you for a branch. Volunteers run the twice–daily feeding and the local custom is to leave a gold coin donation as goodwill.
But first… koala cuddles
Download your park map or grab one at the gate, but once inside, follow your nose and that delicious scent of eucalyptus to see the koalas waking up for a feed. Munching through 200-500 grams of the green stuff per day, these sleepy little marsupials also love a cuddle.
Make sure you’ve booked an early time slot to get in before the crowds, which generally arrive around 10am. In any case, professional photographers are on hand to capture your very best koala angle.
More koala capers
This time, the star of the show is the much-loved marsupial Blinky Bill. Join him at his treehouse to help him rehearse for his next television show. Your kids will love being a part of this fun interactive musical adventure and don’t be surprised to find yourself singing and toe–tapping along. Blinky is available afterward to meet his fans for photos.
Now, hop this way
Just near the koalas is Main Station and the sweetest little train you ever did see. Jump on and hop off at the kangaroos, but make sure you grab a bag of roo food at the kiosk on the way in.
These guys are mostly free range and a mix of Aussie favourites: the largest are the red kangaroos and the furry ones are the greys. Your new macropod mates aren’t at all shy, prefer to eat out of your hand, and also don’t mind posing for a selfie.
Do you like snakes? If yes, join the slithering session over at the Big Fang Theory House (someone has a sense of humour around here…) and learn all about Australia’s most deadly, but also the more friendly species of snakes too. Perhaps snake a photo with an exquisite diamond python draped delicately around your shoulders, or just feel how smooth these often-misunderstood beauties really are.
Wildlife with heart
Next up, prepare to get all choked up; this is where the sanctuary does its best work. Go behind the scenes on a tour of the Animal Wildlife Hospital, where you’ll meet passionate vets and nurses saving not just lives, but sometimes, whole species.
Our most critically endangered wildlife get help here. Operations happen in real time, so if you’re not squeamish, be enthralled and see how conservation and protection is improving the long–term survival rates for our Aussie bush friends.
You can join a behind–the–scenes of the hospital tour there too – just check at the nearby kiosk for times, prices and availability.
Time to fly
You might want some air after that one, so join Wild Skies nearby for the free flight bird show. You’ll be mesmerised as Australia’s largest bird of prey – the wedge tailed eagle – swoops in low over the crowd.
Feel the power whipped up by their wings and share a laugh at some of the antics of other feathered friends, with more than a few cheeky characters on show.
You must be getting hungry by now. Jump back on the train or follow the sign-posted paths to Wild Burger for burgers, tasty hot dogs and crunchy criss-cross fries.
Just nearby is a playground and a candy store, if you have the kids in tow and they feel like a sugary treat.
There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo… is there?
With the energy revived, take a wander through the interactive Gruffalo Trail. Be sure to download the app in advance of your visit (details on the Currumbin Sanctuary website) and delight in seeing the characters of the family-favourite story literally jump right out in front of you.
We won’t give it all away, but there’s something pretty special to meet at the end… and we can guarantee no other sanctuary has one of these.
Just after lunch, someone else is getting hungry – but we have to warn you, he can sometimes be a little light on his manners. Boss Hog is a giant five-metre salt-water crocodile; one of the fiercest predators in the world, but also a lot more agile than you think.
Handlers will be happy to share crocodile stats and facts which will leave you reconsidering jumping into a billabong anytime soon.
Next, take a step back in time to the ancient Gondwana period when prehistoric creatures roamed the lands. At Lost Valley you’ll not just spy dinosaurs, but some curious friends from across the sea too.
They’ve packed their hijinx moves and hang free range in a purpose-built enclosure where they’re literally known as kings. And when we say king, we’re referring to King Julian, only around here he is better known as Sunni – the leader of the four ring-tailed lemurs that call Lost Valley home.
Kiosks, bathrooms and multiple train stations are scattered throughout the park. While there’s no ultimate track to take to see everything in any order, be guided by well-signed walkways and your map to find out the times of shows and feedings.
The optional extras
There’s a range of optional activities that will cost you a little extra, but are well worth it for the thrills.
You can get up close with the world’s largest rodent, the capybara from South America, or join marvelous Marrok, the alpine white dingo for a unique Aussie-inspired animal encounter.
How about a snuggle with a brush tail possum, an extra special cuddle with a koala, or a face-to-face with an inquisitive cotton top tamarind? Check the website for prices and age restrictions, but there’s something to suit everyone.
Plenty to show
Plenty of family entertainment is part of your ticket price, so make the most of the daily show timetable by planning your day to fit as many in as you can.
For a dose of the Australian bush, join the sheep–shearing show to witness the Outback close to the beach. This is a rousing display from a professional shearer along with his trusty sidekick blue heeler dog who keeps the sheep on their best behaviour.
A recent welcome addition to the Currumbin Wildlife family is The Wild Adventure Splash Zone, designed for kids up to 12 years old to cool down as it heats up for summer. Think waterfall runs, water jets and plenty of things to climb up, ride on and explore.
A fitting finale
And no visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is complete without feeling the didgeridoo stir your soul and Dreamtime stories awaken your sprit as Australia’s traditional landowners share an insight into their ancient culture.
The local Yugambeh people welcome you to join them to share in a celebration of dance, song and storytelling that will stay with you long after your day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is over.