Day Trip to See Kangaroos and Koalas

slow down sign koalas and kangaroos

Something every tourist loves to do when visiting Australia is see native wildlife close-up and as a result, there are many zoos and parks dedicated to this. However, on the Gold Coast you can also get close to native animals for FREE, yes FREE! and it is a great family day out.

kangaroo and other animals in Coombabah
Posing for us

We headed down to the Coombabah Lakelands conservation area at Coombabah on the Gold Coast. Be warned, you will need to take insect repellent. The mosquitos are ferocious, and they will eat you alive if you are unprepared. I would also recommend you take water bottles, hats and sunscreen as the trails are partially shaded and partially in full sun. Also, the park does not allow dogs, so you can’t take your best friend for a walk there. The trails are good for walking or riding bikes around and there are several trails to take if you are keen on walking.

path to see koalas at the Coombabah conservation area
Tracks are nice and flat

To get to the park, you head for Rain Tree Glen Road, Coombabah and drive through the large gate. We stopped at the first parking bay but if you travel further there are more parking areas along the road. You can see on the map where we parked.

Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area gate
Entrance to the Conservation Area

Coombabah Conservation area map

As we were keen to see some koalas in the wild, we took the Kangaroo trail that then turned into the Koala trail. We spotted heaps of kangaroos and birds and took in the beautiful scenery, although at times, there was a horrid smell from the swamp water. The odour is apparently normal for mangroves so just keep moving and you will get away from it.

mangroves on the Gold Coast
Mangroves- great mood photos but smell horrid

Eventually we found a koala on the koala trail which was very exciting to see in the wild. He was of course sleeping but occasionally had a stretch, which was incredibly cute. On our return journey we met some people who told us that they had seen quite a few koalas earlier in the week, but they had been at the park earlier in the day (before 10am).

koala sitting on a tree at the conservatioon area in Coombabah on the Gold Coast
G’Day mate!


  • Arrive before 10am if possible
  • Lots of insect repellent.
  • Hat, sunscreen and water bottle
  • Walking shoes or bike for a family ride
  • Take the Koala trail to see the koalas
paperbark trees in Coombabah
Paperbark trees

And here’s a cute video from the City of Gold Coast website about this park:

So, there you go. You can see kangaroos and koalas on the northern Gold Coast without spending any money.

Do you have a favourite place on the Gold Coast that only locals know about? Please share your tips in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Day Trip to See Kangaroos and Koalas

  1. Great to read about a place where you can see animals for free. I’ll take my international visitors here next time.

  2. I’ve never been to Australia but one of the main reasons I want to go is to see the wildlife. What an amazing experience you’ve written about!

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