Where to cuddle and pat a Koala in Sydney | Koala Encounters near Sydney


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Planning a trip to the land down under? Well, it wouldn’t be a trip to Australia without the experience of cuddling, patting, and encountering a Koala in Sydney! While you are making your itinerary and you are planning this adventure, you will have some questions from  “Can I hug a Koala?” and “Why is it illegal to hold a Koala in NSW?” to “ Where can I pat a Koala in Sydney?”. The team from Sydney Private Tours is here to answer all your questions about Koala cuddle! We want you to have the best of the best and enjoy this amazing experience. You might even be able to get in a good picture to show your family and friends your new pal!

What is special about Koalas?

Just a little information on our furry friends for you – Koalas are native to Australia and their closest relatives are Wombats! These cuddly critters weigh about 14kg each and are 60cm to 85cm long! They have a cream-colored chest and grey fur, along with strong feet – perfect for living in their eucalyptus forests! Did you know that infant Koalas are called ‘joey’? Just like a baby Kangaroo! As soon as the baby is born, it climbs up into its mother’s pouch and uses a strong sense of touch. And smell to find its way till its other senses are developed. The little fellows grow up to be big eaters, eating up to 1kg of eucalyptus leaves a day! Although these leaves are poisonous and tough, Koalas have a digestive organ called the cecum which allows them to break down their food unharmed.

Koalas also happen to be little lazy ones, they can sleep for up to 18 hours a day! So make sure to find a time when they are awake and content to cuddle and pat the adorable furry creatures!

Can you cuddle a Koala in Sydney?

With this being said, it is illegal to hold and cuddle a Koala in the Australian State of New South Wales amongst others. Koalas are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Under the Exhibited Animals Protect Act, 1986 – in section 1.3, states that every operator that is exhibiting Koalas should follow certain rules. These include; providing experience staff in any situation with visitors to protect the Koalas from any harassment. In addition, to ensure that no stress is imposed on the Koala, the operators also have to ensure that the Koalas are not placed on visitors directly or directly held by the visitor. The most a visitor should be able to do is patting, stroking, and cuddling. 

Lastly, the operators must make sure that the Koalas are not constantly being taken away from objects that they are clinging to or strongly attached to. Any harm to the species will be considered illegal.

Considering the laws in place to protect the species, there are some places around Sydney that allow you to pat the Koalas without harming them and take a happy snap! Here are a few spots you can try out –

Where can I pat a Koala in Sydney?

Featherdale Wildlife Park Koala encounters

Credits to Featherdale Park

At Featherdale, you can get up close with wildlife! You can meet all the infamous Australian animals in a safe, outdoor setting in Sydney. even though cuddling a koala is not allowed, yet you can pat a Koala and even feed a kangaroo! You can have a personal Koala encounter for up to 4 people. Get a photo to keep for only $25AUD during open hours which is 8 am to 5 pm every day excluding Christmas Day! If you are off to Blue Mountains tour, Featherdale is just after halfway through to the inner west of Sydney.

featherdale wildlife park

Taronga Zoo

Open every day INCLUDING Christmas Day from 9:30 am to 5 pm! The zoo is for the wild and the venue is even open to having functions and events there! This wildlife park in Sydney does not allow you to touch or pat or cuddle a Koala. However, Taronga zoo koala encounters allow you to visit the Koala exhibit and have photos taken next to our furry friends! This is available everyday between 11 am to 2:45 pm!

The Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge at Taronga Zoo (Photo credits: DailyMail)

Walkabout Park

At Walkabout Park, experience a working wildlife sanctuary! All the proceeds from your ticket go directly to the animal’s food and care, so do go ahead and visit! You can also take part in private tours which are subject to range availability! For this though, they do require a booking in advance as well as an advance payment! Their ranger team only consists of 4 people and they only have 2 on most days. If you are visiting Hunter Valley from Sydney, a detour to Walkabout Park to have this experience. However, you need to have an advance booking if you need a koala encounter. You can participate in “Speed Dating” which is 10 minutes of personal time with the Koala which is $15AUD per person! The ranger will allow you to get up close and take photos, you would also get to pat the Koala depending on their temperament!

Hunter Valley Zoo 

If you are taking a Hunter Valley wine tour to visit the best Hunter Valley wineries, the HV Zoo gives you the option of taking a photo of the Koala – they do not offer pat or cuddle of a Koala but do go visit and see the amazing animals of Australia! It’s about $29AUD per adult, $25AUD per concession, and $15AUD per child (between 3-15 years old). You can even get family passes for a family with 2 adults and 2 children but $80AUD. Hunter Valley Zoo is open Thursday to Tuesday between 9 am to 4 pm.

Breakfast with Koalas @ Wildlife Sydney Zoo

Home to the big 5! Wildlife Sydney Zoo will allow you to have an up-close and personal look at the Koalas with trained staff members! The zoo offers a Koala Breakfast which includes an encounter and a photo with the Koala to take home as a souvenir! You can dine on a hot buffet with the Koalas and also receive a Sydney guided tour as well as an informative talk on the cuddly critters. The tickets for this Koala encounter cost $60 per adult and $50 for a child between 3 to 15.

Koala encounters Sydney
Koala encounters Sydney (Image from Sydney Zoo)

Symbio Wildlife Park happy snaps

Symbio park on the South Coast of Sydney, allows you to get closer than ever to these adorable creatures! You can get a photo as well as get a Koala encounter here! You can take your 5 x 7 glossy photo home in a Symbio Souvenir Card for the following costs;

  • Single Happy Snap Photo $20AUD
  • Double Happy Snap Photo $35AUD
  • Triple Happy Snap Photo $50AUD
  • (max 4 people per photo)
Video from Symbio

These are also dependent on the welfare of the animals and might be canceled due to any events that would affect their health or wellbeing. This is open between 11:30 am to 3 pm! At Sydney Top Tours, we offer South Coast Wine tasting tours that include a visit to Symbio for a Koala cuddle.

Sydney Wildlife encounters
Zookeeper with a Koala (Photo from Symbio)

Koala Park Sanctuary

Located in West Pennant Hills, even though you are not allowed to cuddle a Koala at the Koala Park Sanctuary, but you can pat a Koala and also take photos with them at 10:20 am, 11:45 am, 2 pm, and 3 pm! The tickets available are $15AUD per child (between 4 to 14 years old), $28AUD per adult, and a family pass (2 adults + 2 children) for $77 per person!

Sydney Zoo

Sydney Zoo currently does not offer Koala cuddle or any other animal encounter at the moment as the animals are still settling into their new homes.

Blackbutt Reserve 

Blackbutt Reserve which located towards the Northside of Sydney, after the famous Hunter Valley wine region; in Newcastle, Sydney does not offer cuddle a Koala or encounters. However, there is a Koala feeding talk at 2 pm every day that you can go ahead and listen to!  The wildlife exhibits are open from 10 am to 5 pm whereas the picnic facilities are open from 7 am to 7 pm! You could even hire a shelter for an event or a party.

A guide to book a Koala encounter

These are the Koala encounters that are offered in Sydney! Make your trip by attending one or more of these parks, and it will be an experience you will never forget. Would you like to make a booking for a Koala encounter? Contact Sydney Top Tours @ +61 498507873 or [email protected] if you want to book any Sydney tour.