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9 adorable Gold Coast animal encounters

Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)
Mountview Alpaca Farm (image supplied)

Without a shadow of a doubt, Gold Coasters have a strong affinity with the animal kingdom. From our four-legged furry friends joining us for coffee dates to the abundant wildlife everywhere you turn; all creatures great and small are inherently a part of our coastline, and therefore most people’s lives here.

It turns out there are many other charming creatures around these parts and you can share an experience with some of the cutest and mightiest of them! So whether you’re a local or enjoying the Gold Coast short term, here are our recommendations on how you might find yourself on the furry/feathered/scaly end of an endearing animal encounter.

Tiger Island Dreamworld
Get up close and highly personal with some of the animal kingdoms most majestic creatures. Tiger Island is a true one-off as you’re able to watch daily shows — before the next minute finding yourself side by side and patting the big cats themselves for a photo opportunity like no other!
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera

Mountview Alpaca Farm
How does meandering your way around a vineyard with a glass of wine and your very own alpaca in tow sound? Be careful though; there may be some confusion around who is walking whom! These guys can be found at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, where you can pat and feed them to your heart’s content.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra

Lorikeet feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Image: © 2017 The Undercurrent)

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best places for anyone on the Gold Coast to experience wildlife since 1947! There’s a long list of animals to find yourself involved with here, from crocodile feeding, bird shows, and having your picture taken with a koala. If you haven’t been in a while, there’s a relatively new section that opened three years ago called Lost Valley. The highlight is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest aviaries, where you’ll mingle with red pandas, tamarins, and ring-tailed lemurs!
Where: Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Spirit Whale Watching
As whale watching season is just upon us (May — November), you’ll be hard-pressed to see the spectacular sight of migrating whales from a better location than the sunny waters right off our coast. Spirit Whale Watching tours will take you right into the action as groups of whales make their way north around the Whitsundays to give birth before then returning south later in the year. The operator has a history of getting their guests wet with whales breaching and tail slapping the water from proximity. And if you don’t see any whales, they’ll take you on another trip free!
Where: 60-70, Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Australian Outback Spectacular
Saddle up for the night of a lifetime at Australian Outback Spectacular. A hot tip is to arrive early to get photos with the dogs and horses, the stars of the show! Once inside the arena, you’ll then get a three course dinner. Followed then by one of the most spectacular shows you’re likely ever to see, filled with animals, Aussie songs, and a guaranteed few laughs as riders frolic about on stunning steeds — all while you look on in awe. Expect stunts, special effects, and not forgetting a tasty meal. Making for a night, you’re unlikely to forget!
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Sea World's Penguin Encounter (image supplied)
Sea World's Penguin Encounter (image supplied)

Sea World
As far as aquatic encounters go, this is your one-stop place to see and learn about a plethora of water-based animals. From Polar Bears to penguins, seals to sharks, there is guaranteed to be an animal that will captivate everyone’s imagination. If this isn’t enough, you’ll come across a selection of shows where splashing around and seeing these magnificent creatures do their thing will leave you speechless, or maybe a dolphin encounter is more your thing: spending time in the water with these animals and their trainers!
Where: Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Paradise Country Aussie Farmyard
Sometimes there are so many adorable animals, yet so little time. From native Aussie wildlife to farmyard animals and even an animal nursery, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Paradise Country. If you’ve never been to a farm, this is the perfect place, only minus the hard work! It’s a great weekend adventure if you need to escape city life. And news just off the press tells us they will soon be expecting their own little mob of meerkats — making your decision to visit, simples.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford

Paradise Country Animal Encounters (image supplied)

Crazy Cat Café
This feline-orientated experience is purrfect if you like mixing coffee and cats. If you’re not a fan, you can still tag along, as the 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. If you must get involved, don’t panic, you can join them for a play and a quick snap or two.
Where: 63 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

David Fleay Wildlife Park
Right in the heart of Burleigh is an intimate, heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary home to a vast array of animals — and most people drive past without even realising! Wander around at your own pace 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 be sure to carve out a good chunk of time for a visit.
Where: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads

Words by Alex Mitchenson.

David Fleay Wildlife Park (image supplied)
David Fleay Wildlife Park (image supplied)

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