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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
So, there you go. On the northern Gold Coast you can see kangaroos, koalas, and several other creatures for free.