10 adorable Gold Coast animal encounters

While we absolutely understand that your dog is the smartest and most beautiful creature in the world (ours too), we’ve got news for you.

It turns out there are many other delightful creatures around these parts who definitely also deserve your love and affection (some from a distance though okay).

In the name of improving everyone’s lives, we’ve collated a list of the top 10 animal related activities on the Gold Coast and yes, it’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it.

Tiger Island Dreamworld
There’s something almost magical about tigers – stripy fur you want to nuzzle your face into, piercing eyes and teeth that could crack your skull open, just lovely. At Dreamworld there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with tigers from watching a daily show to patting that stripy fur for a photo. It’s a truly incredible experience.
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Pkwy, Coomera

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards
Alpacas have front mullets, which is enough of a reason to visit them at O’Reilly’s. Not to mention the fact that they’re extremely adorable in a sheep-cross-deer kind of way. These guys used to reside at Mountainview Alpaca Farm but recently relocated to O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards where you can pat and feed them to your hearts content.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
There are too many animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to name them all here but personal faves include koalas, eagles, crocodiles and echidnas. There are animal encounters to involve yourself in; croc feeding, bird shows, you name it. And, as of recently there’s a new section called Lost Valley where you can get up close and personal with red pandas, tamarins and ring-tailed lemurs! So good.
Where: Tomewin St, Currumbin

Whales in Paradise
Tisn’t the season but when May rolls around, you’re in for a treat! Head out into the open ocean on a fancy boat that’s pretty much certain to spot a frolicking whale or two. You can choose a regular adventure or one that includes drinks and snacks (always a good idea). Make sure you have your camera at the ready; a breaching whale is one of the best things you’ll ever see.
Where: Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

Crazy Cat Café
Yep, it’s a café, filled with cats. Kinda. The actual café section is separated by a window that allows you to look in on the cat lounge while its inhabitants leap around, swat each other and generally enjoy their cat castle. After a coffee you can join them for a play and a quick snap or two. Take the kids, they’ll love it.
Where: 63 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Australian Outback Spectacular
Saddle up for the night of a lifetime at Australian Outback Spectacular. You’ll get dinner and a show filled with animals, Aussie songs and a few laughs as riders prance about on stunning steeds while you look on in awe. Expect stunts, special effects and a tasty meal that you’ll probably never forget.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Paradise Country Aussie Farmyard
So many adorable animals, so little time. From native Aussie wildlife to farmyard animals and even an animal nursery, you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice at Paradise Country. If you’ve never been to a farm, this is the perfect representation but with even more animals than you can imagine. It’s a great weekend adventure if you need to escape city life.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Thunderbird Park
Bird lovers rejoice, there’s an up close and personal experience that can be yours for the enjoying. Thunderbird Park is set on 112 hectares of rainforest and home to a huge number of birds, butterflies, wallabies and even a duck-billed platypus. There’s a daily bird feeding at 2pm with the main attraction being the beautiful rainbow lorikeets.
Where: Corner Cedar Creek Falls Road, Tamborine Mountain 

Glow Worm Caves
Animals that glow might just be our favourite thing in the whole world and luckily, that exact thing is just a short drive away. On Tamborine Mountain you can tour the caves where thousands of glow worms reside and it is actually one of the most magical experiences there is. The caves are purpose built with conservation in mind so you’ll actually be helping the little guys out if you go for a visit.
Where: 104 – 144 Hartley Road, North Tamborine

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Right in the heart of Burleigh is an intimate, heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary home to a huge array of animals living their best lives. Cruise around by yourself and soak up the serenity or go on a guided tour and learn all about everything from dingoes and rock wallabies to bilbies and owls. There are shows throughout the day too so carve out a good chunk of time for a visit.
Where: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads


Words by Kirra Smith.




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