5 Places You Can Cuddle A Koala in Cairns 

 August 17, 2020

By  Kate

5 Places To Cuddle A Koala In Cairns

Koalas are such an iconic piece of Australia’s wildlife, and they look so darn cute! It’s no wonder people visiting the region often look for an upclose with one of these adorable furballs.

There are actually a few places you can cuddle a koala in Cairns, so in this blog, I’m going to share with you five different places that you can enjoy a Cairns koala holding experience.

Kate From North Cove Apartments cuddling a Koala in Cairns

1. Cairns Dome Koala Holding

The Cairns Wildlife Dome is located at the top of the Cairns Casino. It’s also home to the Cairns Zoom obstacle course which is awesome fun if you love a little adrenaline.

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is located just 3km from North Cove Apartments (8-minute drive) and is the closest place where you can cuddle a koala.

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome Is Recommended For…

If you only have a couple of hours or you don’t want to travel far, the Zoom and Wildlife Dome above the casino is the most convenient place to cuddle a Koala in Cairns.

Times Available For Koala Photos At Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome

Koalas tend to sleepy little animals, so it’s important that they are given time to rest between photo sessions.

The Cairns Wildlife Dome Koala holding have time slots available for you to book in to get your photo taken with a koala. It’s a good idea to book your session to cuddle a koala in Cairns before actually turning up to ensure that you have secured your spot.

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is available 7 days a week, and the times available for koala photos at Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome are as follows:

  • 9:30am
  • 10:30am
  • 11:30am
  • 12:30pm
  • 1:30pm
  • 2:30pm
  • 3:30pm
  • 4:30pm
  • 5:30pm
  • 6:30pm

If you’re keen on getting a photo with the koalas but aren’t so keen on holding one, you can opt for a koala perch photo instead.

You can also discover a range of other wildlife animals within the dome and working your way through the Cairns Zoom obstacle course including birds, reptiles, a large crocodile and more.

2. Kuranda Koala Gardens

Cairns is home to some of the few places around Australia that you can actually HOLD a koala for a souvenir photo, and the Kuranda Koala Gardens is one of them.

5 places you can cuddle a koala in Cairns

The Koala Gardens is more than just about koalas though, you’ll also find quokkas, kangaroos, pademelons, wallabys, wombats, potoroos, blue tongue lizards, water dragons, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, frogs, possums and many more marsupials and reptiles.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try holding a python for a unique photo opportunity.

Koala Gardens Is Recommended For…

Koala Gardens is a great choice if you’re visiting Kuranda and want to actually spend time in the Kuranda Markets because of it’s location in the centre of Kuranda Rainforest Village.

You can get to Kuranda either by car (approx 30 minutes), Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, or by bus.

Please note that as a result of COVID-19, Skyrail is currently unavailable.

It is highly recommended that you book any transport in advance as availability is currently restricted.

If you’re staying with us at North Cove Apartments in Cairns, drop down to see our reception desk and we’ll help you arrange your tours.

Also, don’t forget to ask for one of our discount coupons which will give you an instant 10% discount off entry to Koala Gardens.

3. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park is one of my favourite day places to take young children. It also happens to be an awesome location where you can cuddle a koala in Cairns and get souvenir photos taken with crocs and pythons too.

Hartley’s offer personalised tours at an affordable price with close-up experiences including cuddling a koala, patting a wombat and feeding a cassowary.

Young boy enjoying a Cuddle with a koala in Cairns

Beyond holding the wildlife for photos, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park as an whole range of different activities to do.

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park Is Recommended For…

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park is the best choice for people who are want to cuddle a Koala during their stay in Cairns, but also have an interest in seeing crocodiles and other wildlife.

How To Get To Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park

Hartley’s Crocodile Farm is located 45 minutes north of Cairns along the Captain Cook Highway (on the way to Port Douglas).

You can get to Hartley’s by car, or by catching one of the shuttle buses available. Shuttle buses must be booked in advance (it’s not possible to just show up).

Hartley’s has limited phone signal and Ubers and taxis are not widely available in the area. So it’s really important that you have your return transport organised in advance.

One thing I love about Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park is that because there are so many things to see at the park, your entry ticket will actually give you access to the park for 3 days.

crocodile in Cairns Australia

This makes it incredible value for money for families with kids who are obsessed with animals!

4. Rainforestation Nature Park Kuranda

Rainforestation Nature Park can be found just outside of Kuranda and is a Nature Park full of wildlife and aboriginal experiences.

The standard combo package includes boomerang throwing, spear throwing, and is also home to Army Duck Tours which are also a really awesome way to explore the rainforest and small river systems.

Rainforestation Is Recommended For…

Rainforestation is the best choice for those who want to cuddle a Koala in Cairns, but also get a mix of both wildlife and Indigenous Australian experience, or for the unique experience of the Army Ducks.

If you plan on going to Rainforestation, plan on spending a full day there (especially if you get to/from Kuranda on the train or Skyrail).

How To Get To Rainforestation Nature Park

If driving from North Cove (Cairns), it will take you around 30 minutes to reach Rainforestation.

If making your way to Kuranda by Train or Skyrail, you’ll want to hop on the complementary shuttle bus which picks you up beside the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda and drops you to the Rainforestation Nature Park and back – the shuttle bus ride only takes around around 5 minutes and run between 10:45am and 3:45pm.

If you want to cuddle a koala at Rainforestation Nature Park, it’s an absolute must to book in advance. The koalas are on a strict schedule to prevent them getting stressed out and overtired.

sleepy koala in a tree

At this stage it is not possible to book this experience online, so if you’re wanting to go to Rainforestation and secure a spot to cuddle a koala, be sure to give our tour desk a call on (07) 4031 6100 so we can help you arrange this (no booking fees or credit card fees).

5. Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas

Approximately 1 hour north of Cairns by car you’ll find the town of Port Douglas.

Many people visiting Cairns will either do a day trip to Port Douglas or spend a few nights there as part of their overall visit.

In Port Douglas is the Wildlife Habitat, which is home to many different types of Australian animals, including the gorgeous koala.

It’s the only place in Port Douglas that you can actually cuddle a Koala.

There’s so much more to see a the wildlife habitat that it makes for a really awesome day out with the kids.

If your kids are obsessed with animals like ours are, this is really good bang for your buck. The standard general admission tickets provide you with 5 days of entry so they can get their wildlife fix.

The Wildlife Habitat Is Recommended For…

The Wildlife Habitat is the best choice if you’re actually staying in Port Douglas, or you are happy to spend a good part of the day exploring their grounds and meeting their animals.

In Conclusion

There are 5 different places that you can cuddle a koala in Cairns, all of which have their own unique experience and benefits for visiting.

Koalas are really sleepy little critters, so their schedules for cuddling are quite limited at the venues. Because of this, it’s a really good idea to make sure you book your koala cuddle in advance so you don’t miss out.

Want help booking your cuddle a koala experience in Cairns? Give us a call on (07) 4031 6100 – You don’t even need to be staying with us to get great advice!


Can You Hold A Koala in Cairns?

There are a number of different places where you can hold a koala in Cairns including Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Park, Rainforestation, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park, Koala Gardens and the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas. holding a koala in cairns


Hi I'm Kate! I'm a massive fan of all the incredible natural beauty on this earth, and love to celebrate different cultures with family and friends. I love exploring new places and taking the drone up for a fly!

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