Ok, I admit. This title is ambiguous. “Wildlife on the Gold Coast” could be taken to mean several different things. Especially if it’s during schoolies (Australian version of Spring Break with just as many teen pregnancies to show for it) or New Years eve…. but this time I am actually talking about wildlife on the Gold coast… as in critters. (Because we all know there is no way you could get me near the Gold Coast during schoolies or NYE)
Also, I’m not talking about the typical wild life you may meet on the Gold Coast… like sharks or snakes, or spiders or cockroaches. No, I’m talking about the wildlife you actually want to encounter.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
So you’ve decided to visit the Gold Coast. I mean, it’s not all bad. Yes it is glitzy and brightly lit, and yes you may have trouble fitting in if you are not fit, tanned, and blonde, but there are some good points worth visiting. It does have a high number of great theme parks, it’s got a long stretch of sandy city beach, and of course, there is good surf in Surfers Paradise.
So once you have visited the theme parks, and had your fill of surfing – what else is there to do on the Gold Coast.
Well the Gold Coast is more than just Surfers Paradise (no really!) – just a short bus ride from Surfer’s is a small town called Currumbin. Here there is beautiful coast, more great surf, and a bunch of cute and cuddly (as well as some not so cuddly) animals at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Getting there is simple if you are staying in Surfers Paradise. Local buses drop off right outside the wildlife sanctuary, and take about half an hour from Surfers Paradise. For a general idea, the The 700, 760 and 765 bus arrives and departs approximately every 20 minutes for Surfers Paradise from Currumbin. Check out the journey planner on Translink for more detailed information.
Admission Cost and Opening Hours
The park is open from 8am – 5 pm every day except Christmas day. Some other public holidays have reduced hours as well, such as Anzac day. Adult tickets are $49 for general admission or $54 for the experience pass which also includes the “green challenge” adventure park. This is definitely worth the extra 5 dollars, unless you are like me and tend to have panic attacks when your feet leave the ground.
Highlights of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Wildlife Shows and Talks
I love a good teachable moment, so when zoos and wildlife sanctuary’s have wildlife shows, I am all over it. The highlight of the Currumbin shows is the free flying bird show, as well as the lorikeet feeding. Want to have lorikeets on your head. Not me. I skipped it.
But one show that I really enjoyed was the Pelican and eel feeding. Mostly because eels are creepy and hand feeding them is even creepier, and because one of the Pelicans tried to nibble a small child that was present. When that didn’t work out for him, he diverted his attention to trying to eat a lizard. The moral of the story is Pelican’s are great, and bird poop in my hair is not.
Cuddle a Koala
There are a variety of animals that you can cuddle at Currumbin, with Koalas probably being the highlight. You can get your photo taken with a sleepy nocturnal beast for under $20. If you want a little less cute factor in your life, you can also get your photo taken with a snake or crocodile, or even those pesky lorikeets.
If you would prefer to cuddle a Koala for free, you can do that as well. The things seem to be everywhere, and you can’t pass a Eucalyptus tree without there being at least one furry grey bum in it. Most of the time you are free to give them a pat if it is signposted as such.
Green Challenge Adventure Park
If you opt to purchase the experience pass, then this will also give you access to the Green Challenge. This is great if you are travelling with energetic children, or a man of any sort. The adventure park consists of several obstacle courses where you need to climb, hang, tight rope walk, and zip line your way from start to finish. All equipment is provided on site.
I got as far as climbing up to the first obstacle, clipping my safety carabiner to the safety wire, looking at the ground…… and then unclipping myself and climbing back down to safety where I promptly stripped myself of the harness and suit and enjoyed a coffee by myself.
Have you been to the Gold Coast and/or Currumbin? Let me know in the comments!
If you are staying on the Gold Coast, and want to be in the thick of all the action, then consider staying at Aquarius Backpackers. This hostel is a Base backpacking affiliate which means you can use your base jumping cards here. Best of all – they have FREE wifi. Because internet is expensive in Australia, and free is awesome.
Our base jumping cards were provided by Base backpackers, but all opinions remain our own.