By David G. Molyneaux, editor, TheTravelMavens.com
Most visitors to Australia do not hug a koala.
I met my koala at the Cairns Tropical Zoo.
The story behind my hug is more complicated than you might think, because in most parts of Australia you can’t legally touch a koala. Aussies protect these marsupials – they are not bears – and there are concerns about the animal's sustainable future in the wild.
Legally, you can hold a koala in only two Australian states, so if you want a cuddle-picture you will have to travel either to South Australia or Queensland, both of which are a plane ride away from the major metropolis of Sydney. Queensland is closer to the beaten tourist track, which is why I was in the cruise port city of Cairns, home of the attractive Cairns Tropical Zoo, keeper of cuddling koalas.
The zoo is about 25 minutes by car from the Cairns Cruise Terminal. Adults are charged $33; children 4-15 pay $16.50. It’s about a $60 cab ride from the cruise port, so you may want to book a tour that includes transportation. Check the Zoo website.
Koalas, by the way, do not spend all their time cuddling. They work a maximum of 30 minutes a day for three days, then get a day off.
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