Dreamworld on the Gold Coast is Australia’s most popular theme park. Situated on the Pacific Highway, about twenty minutes drive north of Surfers Paradise and forty minutes south of Brisbane, it is a favorite with both domestic and international visitors. Dreamworld is best known for its array of some of the tallest, fastest thrill rides in the world, but in this article we will be focusing on the animal attractions at Dreamworld.
The Australian Wildlife Experience at Dreamworld is one of the largest native animals wildlife parks in south east Queensland with more than 800 native animals. The six hectare wildlife sanctuary opened in 1987.
The Koala Country section features the Dreamworld colony of Koalas that has grown in numbers from 13 koalas in 1988 to become the second largest koala population in the world (after Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane). Visitors have the opportunity to cuddle a Koala and have a photo taken by a professional holding a Koala (additional cost). This section of the park also features an open range kangaroo enclosure where visitors can feed and pat the kangaroos. There is a large free flight aviary where visitors can feed the rainbow lorikeets, cockatoos, doves, finches and parrots. The Tasmanian Devil display is also popular with visitors. To experience some of Australia’s animals, visit the Nocturnal House where you will see Squirrel Gliders, Feathertail Gliders, Barn Owls, Tawny Frogmouths, the Rufous Bettong and other Australian nocturnal animals.
The Australian Animal Presentation is show which displays a selection of animals including the endangered Bilby, Crocodiles, Snakes, Koalas, Cockatoos and more Australian native animals. The Australian Animal Presentation is located next to the Bilby Nocturnal House.
The Australian Wildlife Experience has displays of animals from different habitats including a Daintree Rainforest exhibit of animals from the wet tropics, including large flightless Southern Cassowaries, Red-legged Pademelons (cute little wallabies), various rainforest turtles, snakes (including a huge python), fish and frogs.
The Kakadu Wetlands area displays reptiles including a crocodile pool and crocodile feeding show. The largest crocodiles are a 4.8m male Saltwater Crocs weighing in at a massive 800 kg, and a 3.6m female. Smaller Freshwater Crocodiles are also on display. The wetlands have a variety of native water birds including magpie geese, water hens.
The Outback Adventure area features featuring animals from the Red Centre such as Red Kangaroos, Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats, Emus, pure-bred Dingoes, and Endangered Greater Bilbies. Reptiles you will see include black-headed pythons, geckos, frill-neck lizards, bearded dragons and other lizards from arid country.
Tiger Island is the other main animal attraction at Dreamworld where Bengal Tigers and Sumatran tigers can be seen playing and swimming with their handlers everyday. There are six Bengal Tigers and eight Sumatran Tigers, although the numbers change as Dreamworld are successfully breeding tigers.
Tiger Presentations are held twice daily to showcase the tigers’ agility and natural behaviour and agility. For additional cost Visitors can get their photo taken up close to the Tigers. Another extra cost option is the Tiger Walks where you can take a morning stroll with the tiger handlers and tigers. On the walk, you can pat the tigers and learn more about the cats with several stops for photos.
Dreamworld have also two cougars (also known as pumas, panthers and mountain lions). They are also on display at a presentation on Tiger Island every afternoon.
To get to Dreamworld from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, take the Pacific Highway and turn off at the Coomera (and Dreamworld) Exit (Exit 54), then follow the signs to Dreamworld. The park is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas (park is also closed on morning of Anzac Day).