what it’s like to hold a koala

They’re actually not as soft as they look. Don’t get me wrong, they’re soft but I guess just not what I was expecting. Their fur almost feels like the polyester stuffing from a pillow. They also do not smell minty from all the eucalyptus leaves they eat (like I had read).

It's koala time!
It’s koala time!
Holding a koala (Photo credit: Amanda)
Holding a koala (Photo credit: Amanda)

Here are a few quick facts about the koala:

  1. The aboriginal meaning of ‘koala’ is, ‘no drink’ because they don’t need water to survive. They get all of their fluids from eucalyptus leaves.
  2. Did you know that a koala is not a bear? It’s a marsupial, so they have a pouch (just like kangaroos) to keep their joeys in.
  3. Koalas are asleep during the day for about 18-20 hours.
  4. Because they sleep so much and are always sitting in a tree, they have a cartilage plate on their bottoms to allow them to sit comfortably.
  5. They have two thumbs – it helps them climb trees and find food.
This koala has zero time for you
This koala has zero time for you

To hold a koala at the Cairns Tropical Zoo, it’s an additional $18 on top of the $34 zoo admission. They call the experience ‘cuddle a koala’, but you really only just hold it, they snap a picture, and it’s over. You’re allowed to take ‘one picture with your own device’ but even if you just snap away (flash off, of course) they wouldn’t even know. I doubt they would even care if they found out you took more than one photo. I think the extra $18 is definitely worth it. How many times in your life will you get to say that you held a koala?

Koala cuddling aside, the zoo is pretty small. You only need 3-4 hours to see the whole zoo. Plus, if you visit in February, you would only want to go for 3 hours. It gets VERY humid and hot. You’ll go into the air-conditioned souvenir store and you won’t want to leave. That being said, you will want to go as early as possible so that it’s not AS hot. It’ll still be sweltering though. But even though the zoo is so small, there’s still lots to see. You get to see a lot of the wildlife from down under. If you have time afterwards, you can visit Palm Cove beach nearby (at the recommendation of our concierge). We didn’t get a chance to but if you do, then go for it!

Crocodiles
Crocodile
You can feed the kangaroos - you can buy $2 feed at the entrance but they don't really eat it. It's still a good chance to get up close to a kangaroo.
You can feed the kangaroos – you can buy $2 feed at the entrance but they don’t really eat it. It’s still a good chance to get up close to a kangaroo.

Cairns Tropical Zoo (98)

Cairns Tropical Zoo (112)

Cassowary
Cassowary
Tonka the wombat
Tonka the wombat
Never blow in a dingo's face
Never blow in a dingo’s face

And here is why.

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