Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: A Nocturnal Adventure

Koalas, Australia’s iconic but increasingly scarce marsupials, are the stars of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s new NOCTURNAL tours in Queensland. Bushfires have sadly diminished their numbers, making sightings rare. However, these tours offer a unique chance to see koalas in their natural habitat.

Equipped with night-vision goggles, visitors can wander through a eucalyptus plantation, where koalas roam freely. As these animals are mainly nocturnal, the chances of spotting them are higher during these tours.

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the new $1.4-million nocturnal precinct in Brisbane, opened in November 2023. This unique night-time adventure allows visitors to explore Australia’s nocturnal wildlife, including koalas, Tasmanian devils, wombats, and other species. 

The experience includes a one-kilometre walk through a Eucalypt plantation on an elevated boardwalk. Visitors use handheld thermal imaging devices to spot animals, with the tour focusing on non-invasive observation and education about sustaining ecosystems.

Located on the outskirts of Brisbane, Lone Pine is recognized as the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary. It’s also home to a variety of Australian wildlife, including tree kangaroos, various bird species, amphibians, and reptiles.

The sanctuary offers two distinct nocturnal tours. The Twilight Tour is a 90-minute journey suitable for children aged 3 and older, while the Nocturnal Night Tour caters to participants aged 13 and above. Both tours run several times a week.

Tickets for the tours vary, with the Twilight Tour priced at $53 for adults and $35.50 for children, and the Nocturnal Night Tour costing $79 for adults. These tours provide an immersive experience in discovering Australia’s nocturnal wildlife.

Published 18-Dec-2023

Look: Tommy Lee and Wife Brittany Furlan Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Heavy metal drummer Tommy Lee and internet celebrity wife Brittany Furlan took time out from Motley Crue’s Australian tour to have some fun at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket last week.

Read: Facial Recognition AI Helps Save the Koalas in Moggill & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Furlan’s cheeky video posted on Instagram showed the couple giggling as they fed and posed with cuddly koalas and bounding kangaroos. “Best day evvvvva!” Furlan exclaimed in an Aussie accent.

Lee grinned as wallabies nibbled food from his hand. The couple clearly enjoyed their hilarious close encounters with Tasmanian devils, bush turkeys, and other wildlife.

After a day of delightful distractions down under with wombats, wallabies, and more at the sanctuary, it was back to bass drums and sold out shows for Tommy Lee at the Motley Crue and Def Leppard concert at Suncorp Stadium on November 8.

Their tour in Australia, which commenced in Brisbane, was set at the Giants Stadium Sydney on November 11, and will be at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on November 14.

Like the celebrity couple, visitors can make memories hand-feeding kangaroos, cuddling koalas, and encountering other amazing Aussie wildlife at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary offers various tours like in the free-range Kangaroo Reserve, which involve getting exclusive photos and encounters with koalas, meeting dingoes, snakes and reptiles up close, and behind-the-scenes platypus house visit, but perhaps the most popular tour option involves morning tea with koalas, professional photos holding a koala, extra access to koala exhibits, a python encounter and photo, Tasmanian devil feeding, and lunch overlooking the Brisbane River.

Read: After Dark Adventures: Lone Pine Sanctuary Switches to Night Mode

The renowned Brisbane attraction has also recently launched night tours, where one can discover the sanctuary’s hidden wonders and witness the captivating world of Australian wildlife after the sun sets.

Published 13-November-2023

After Dark Adventures: Lone Pine Sanctuary Switches to Night Mode

Introducing Mr Grumbles, a Ruffus Betton – that’s a super cute little Australian marsupial. Remember his name because he’s about to become Australia’s newest star. NOCTURNAL, at the Lone Pine Sanctuary, shines new light on Australia’s most famous creatures.

Joining him in the ‘red’ spotlight are four Tassie Devils called Yolo, Zaney, Harvey and Swarf; Bare-Nosed Wombats Bell and Bruce; Koalas Clementine, Patricia, Kandy and Keisha, a cool gang of Bandicoots, Pademelons, Echidnas and Potoroos and Rocky the elusive but spectacular Tree Kangaroo.

These are the stars of NOCTURNAL at Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane, a new $1.4 million first-ever immersive night-time adventure that allows visitors to discover the hidden world of Australia’s fascinating nocturnal wildlife, and it opens from November 1.

Read: Facial Recognition AI Helps Save the Koalas in Moggill & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

A unique and unforgettable journey into Australia’s world famous animal kingdom, Nocturnal starts as the sun dips below the horizon, and the animals come out to play, allowing visitors to witness the incredible behaviours and adaptations of some of Australia’s most elusive and enigmatic wildlife species.

“There’s a whole world of activity that happens after dark that we aren’t privileged to, but Nocturnal gives people that experience, with a tour guide, in a non-invasive way to celebrate Australis’s animal superstars, and educate people about the importance of sustaining their ecosystems,” said Frank Mikula, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Curator.

“It’s an Australian native animal treasure hunt, with the prize being able to see these amazing creatures up close and personal!”

Nocturnal is a one kilometre walking adventure called The Wild Walk, through an established Eucalypt planation, mostly on a custom-designed elevated boardwalk which allows the animals full roaming rights across their habitats.

The sanctuary’s brand new multi-million-dollar Nocturnal Precinct features a one-kilometre boardwalk, allowing visitors exclusive after-dark access to seven exhibit spaces and 10 nocturnal Australian species.

Nocturnal Precinct
Photo credit: Queensland Government

Visitors are given handheld thermal imaging devices, about the size of a mobile phone, that picks up the unique heat signature of animals. Once detected, a red light torch can be used to watch the animals doing what they do, with the red light completely non-invasive.

Nocturnal Precinct
Photo credit: Queensland Government

Starting 1 November 2023, your family can go on these magical night tours, with expert guides who will lead you on an adventure to spot curious critters like pademelons, potoroos, bettongs, and bandicoots in their natural habitats. 

Hosted in tours of 20 people with a dedicated guide who shares details of each animal species, their personalities, and provides feeding opportunities, Nocturnal is set to be a MUST EXPERIENCE for Australians and for international visitors, many who already have the 97-year old and iconic Lone Pine Sanctuary on their travel bucket list.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

The project was made possible through the Queensland Government’s 2020 Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which invested $1.2 million for the development of the new nocturnal precinct.

Lone Pine General Manager Lyndon Discombe expressed his sincerest thanks and gratitude to the Queensland Government for supporting the sanctuary’s vision to develop a transformative and refreshing new tourism experience for the Brisbane region.

“Australia has some of the world’s most unique wildlife and being able to discover their natural behaviours after dark will be an experience like no other – it’s a secret world some of our staff haven’t even seen!”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s Nocturnal Precinct is an awe-inspiring opportunity for international visitors to shine a light on the secret nightlife of Australia’s iconic marsupials

Read: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Loses An Advocate But Support Remains Strong

This exciting new exhibit is predicted to draw over 500,000 visitors annually and generates additional funding to support Lone Pine’s world-class conservation efforts. 

So don’t miss your chance to go wild under the moonlight and discover Brisbane’s captivating nocturnal wildlife. Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary website to book your spot from the 1st of November for these one-of-a-kind after-dark tours.

Published 25-October-2023

Facial Recognition AI Helps Save the Koalas in Moggill & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Did you know that the Moggill Koala Rehabilitation Centre and the Lone Pine Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket are harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by using facial recognition technology to help save the koalas?

Efforts to bolster the survival of koalas are now complemented by the innovative work of a team of Griffith University AI researchers and ecologists, who have secured funding to advance their ‘facial recognition’ camera technology at koala crossing locations across South East Queensland (SEQ).

For the third consecutive year, these researchers are working to deploy state-of-the-art “facial recognition” camera technology at strategic koala crossing locations across SEQ.

This groundbreaking initiative aims to monitor and understand how koalas utilise these crossing points, ultimately providing invaluable research-based insights to help safeguard this declining population. 

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Leading this pioneering study is Professor Jun Zhou from Griffith’s School of Information and Communication Technology. The project’s inception was made possible by a $90,000 Community Sustainability Action Grant awarded by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science in March 2021, followed by an additional $100,000 grant from DES in June 2023.

“This project extends our innovative AI-powered koala monitoring system to cover wider areas of koala habitat in South East Queensland, and engage with 14 local community groups across 10 local government areas to facilitate the installation and maintenance of the camera network,” Professor Zhou shared.

In July 2021, the team successfully deployed 24 AI-powered cameras at strategic koala crossing locations within the Redland City Council area. These cameras automatically activate in response to koala movement, capturing hundreds of videos and images which are then transmitted to a server at Griffith University. 

The AI technology developed by the research team studies these videos and images, enabling it to identify individual koalas.

Mogill Rehabilitation Centre
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Caroline Moss, Queensland Rail Group Senior Manager Environment & Sustainability, emphasized the significance of this research.

“A research project like this helps us to understand how this technology can be applied, not only here in the Redlands, but where appropriate in other locations, given that Queensland Rail operates a really large network,” she said.

To ensure the AI can accurately distinguish one koala from another based on their appearance and movements, the research team collaborated closely with conservation groups such as the Koala Action Group Redlands, Daisy Hill Koala Centre, Moggill Koala Rehabilitation Centre, and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

“We can see from the data that koalas are in trouble here. They’ve recently been listed as endangered in Australia, and Southeast Queensland was formally a hotspot. The driver of that decline has been urbanisation,” Dr. Douglas Kerlin, a co-researcher, said.

The research project is particularly relevant during the breeding season when koalas face increased risks, including collisions with vehicles. 

“We’re all about sharing information, and it’s really good to be able to put people in contact and create that conduit between researchers so that everyone can get to the same goal faster,” Frank Mikula from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Kenmore, highlighted the importance of collaboration. 

“The technology does the heavy lifting for us, and that’s really important moving forward. 

“With increased knowledge about how koalas are crossing roads, we can better inform mitigation and management so that we can ensure a better long-term future for koalas.” 

Published 2-Oct-2023

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Loses An Advocate But Support Remains Strong

Two koalas took centre stage for a few, brief minutes with Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Brisbane in 2011. The moment highlighted the monarch’s support for nature conservation and shone a lasting light on the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s conservation efforts for these tree-climbing marsupials that have become synonymous with Australia. 

A Great Loss

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, died peacefully on the 8th of September 2022 at Balmoral Castle. 

A great advocate of conservation efforts for nature and the environment, the Queen died one day after National Threatened Species Day, traditionally celebrated on the 7th of September, the day the Tasmanian tiger (aka thylacine) was pronounced extinct. ⁠

Like the Tasmanian tiger, the Queen was noble and courageous, protective, and devoted to everyone in her circle and beyond.

Efforts Not For Nought

Support for the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary remains strong as the sanctuary continues the work that the now-deceased monarch had greatly admired.

Located about 12 km away from Brisbane City, it is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary with 100 koalas. 

In 2021, a $1.4-million expansion project commenced. It is expected to be completed in 2022, weather permitting. 

Lone Pine Sanctuary
Photo Credit: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

The upgrades cover 15,000-sqm of space and include a Wild Walk exhibit that involves new animal enclosures through a new wildlife zone and is contained within the existing established eucalyptus plantation.

“Since opening in 1927, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has been a favourite with domestic and international visitors, as well as generations of Southeast Queensland families,” Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said, during the groundbreaking of the project in August 2021.

“This project will not only allow us to provide local, interstate and international guests with new and engaging wildlife experiences, but also help us secure ongoing employment opportunities for both new and existing staff, and significantly contribute to Brisbane’s recovering tourism industry,” he said.

“We’ve invested $1.2 million in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary through our Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help deliver new tourism experiences and up to 25 construction and ongoing jobs,” he added.

Aside from the world-famous koalas, the sanctuary also has tree kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, Tasmanian devils, bettongs, quokkas, and potoroos. 

(from L to R) Tamielle Brunt (Wildlife Qld), LM Adrian Schrinner & Keeper Beck (Lone Pine)
Photo Credit: Facebook/Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

In 6 September, Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch Network annual eDNA monitoring project was launched during a visit to the sanctuary by Cr Adrian Schrinner. The platypus population at Brisbane’s waterways has been identified through critical research and Moggill Creek has emerged as Brisbane’s top hotspot. Platypus populations have also been identified in Albany Creek, Bullockhead Creek, Sandy Creek, Kholo Creek, Pullen Pullen Creek, and Shelley Creek.

The Queen would have been so proud.

New Furry Friends, Better Attractions Coming To Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary located in Fig Tree Pocket, is undergoing a $1.4 million expansion which will include new attractions to offer fresh experiences to visitors.

Read: Historic Sugars Cottage In Anstead To Be Moved To Sunshine Coast

The upgrades, which would cover 15,000-sqm of space, include a Wild Walk exhibit that involves new animal enclosures through a new wildlife zone and is contained within the existing established eucalyptus plantation. 

The Wild Walk Exhibit Space will feature new exhibits for echidnas and koalas and breeding space for wombats and Tasmanian devils. 

“And for the first time, night tours will fit-out visitors with thermal imaging scanners to show nocturnal animals in their habitat without the intrusion of flashlights,” said Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who led the groundbreaking ceremony in August 2021.

Mr Hinchliffe said Lone Pine has a load of quokkas going through biosecurity clearances to join the family, which already includes the world-famous koalas, tree kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, Tasmanian devils, bettongs and potoroos.

Site plan (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council)

“The thermal imaging scanners will automatically upload images for tourists to take home as a lasting reminder of their night-time visit,” the Minister added.

The upgrades are part of the government’s Queensland tourism Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to keep the economy moving even at the time of the pandemic.

“Since opening in 1927, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has been a favourite with domestic and international visitors, as well as generations of Southeast Queensland families,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“This project will not only allow us to provide local, interstate and international guests with new and engaging wildlife experiences, but also help us secure ongoing employment opportunities for both new and existing staff, and significantly contribute to Brisbane’s recovering tourism industry,” he said.

“We’ve invested $1.2 million in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary through our Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help deliver new tourism experiences and up to 25 construction and ongoing jobs,” he added.

Lone Pine’s expansion is expected to be completed in mid-2022, weather permitting.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to Become a Foodie Precinct

Plans are underway to make the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket into more than just an animal park. The popular koala sanctuary will be developed into a culinary hub and dining destination as well.

Yianni Passaris, who owns Ping Pong restaurant in Newstead and the Morning After cafe in West End, has been tapped as the food and beverage advisor. Mr Passaris will work with the sanctuary management in developing the park as a foodie precinct.

The initial plan is to transform the front cafe near the park entrance to make it more accessible to the general public. Diners won’t need to purchase a ticket to the sanctuary for this main eatery. 

Lone Pine Sanctuary cafe’s menu will also undergo a revamp, foregoing the frozen lasagnas and quiches selections in favor of tastier but affordable gourmet options.

Photo Credit: Facebook

The next plan is to build a restaurant and another cafe inside the park. Passaris said that since Fig Tree Pocket hardly has good cafes, so locals would likely be encouraged to visit the park to dine and enjoy the surrounding.

Alex Derlot from the Derlot Studio has been drawing up the redesign of the sanctuary and will choose the furnishing and decorations that will be incorporated in the restaurants. Mr Derlot will also create a space for the park’s new gift shop. 

Visitors to the park should notice that renovations to the front cafe is currently underway and will be completed by January 2021. It will boast of 120 seats and recycled or sustainable furniture from Mr Derlot’s LesBasic collection.

Photo Credit: Derlot Editions/Facebook

How Fig Tree Pocket Got Its Name

Fig Tree Pocket is a residential suburb known for being the home of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Biami Yumba Park, and Cliveden Park, but did you know how the suburb got its name?

Fig Tree Pocket’s name was derived from Moreton Bay fig trees with the scientific name Ficus macrophylla and for a particularly large tree in the area.

The trunk of an immense fig tree in the scrub fringing the Brisbane River at Fig Tree Pocket. A person appears to be standing at the base of the tree. The photographer was Mr. G.W. Sweet of South Brisbane. Photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia/Wikimedia Commons

In 1866, the huge tree was photographed and was said to be so large that it can shelter a herd of cattle or up to 400 people. A reserve of 1.6 hectares was created around the fig tree the same year.

The giant tree was considered so iconic that it became a major landmark in the area.

The suburb was also bounded by the river on three sides which creates a land pocket.

The name and boundaries of Fig Tree Pocket were approved by Queensland Place Names Board on 11 August 1975. The boundary has been altered by the Minister for Natural Resources and Minister for Mines on 23 August 2002.

The famous tree no longer exists and the cause of its disappearance is still unknown.

Read: Fig Tree Pocket’s Iconic Moreton Bay Fig Tree’s Disappearance Remains a Mystery  

Good Friday At The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary In Fig Tree Pocket

Thinking of fun activities to do for this upcoming long weekend? The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket will be open all long weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On Good Friday, drop by at the Fig Tree Market near the Riverside Cafe outside the sanctuary.

Starting at 12:00 p.m., rows of food stalls will be at the venue for you and your loved ones. You definitely won’t go hungry here.

Your kids will surely be entertained as there will also be two free jumping castles that will open at 2:00 p.m. By 3:00 p.m., head on over to the face painting booth and transform into a koala.

By 6:30 p.m., gather the kids, plop down on a picnic blanket, bring out the popcorn and enjoy a free screening of Finding Dory.

Expect a full day of fun at this event. It’s free and it’s the perfect place to be with your family.

Be A Wildlife Keeper at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket For A Day

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids learning and having fun at the same time during this school holiday, then you might want to head on over to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket.

On the 10th of January, you can have your kids be Junior Keeper for a day at the sanctuary. There are three Junior Keeper Programs for your children:

  • Junior Joeys (5-7 year olds)
  • Senior Serpents (8-11 year olds)
  • Teen Keeper (12-17 year olds)

Each program is kept to small groups only to ensure that each child will be able to interact and learn.

Each child will have the chance to experience being a wildlife keeper from preparing food for the animals and feeding down down to cleaning and maintenance as well as training and other enrichment activities.

This program is only available during school holiday periods so make sure that you sign up your kids now! It will be a great experience and one not likely to be repeated until the next holiday break.