The Gold Coast’s best animal encounters

We all know about the Gold Coast’s beaches, theme parks and year-round sub-tropical climate. We discovered recently what a wide range of animal encounters there are now.

In case you haven’t visited recently, the Gold Coast’s wildlife parks have transformed into hands-on experiences. Here are five of the best animal encounters:

Sea World has a range of dolphin encounters for families, kids, even couple. You can get in the water with them, quiz the keeper and learn a few tricks.

After watching the seal show at Sea World, go on a Seal Safari and chat to one of the keepers, meet, feed and play with the seals, who’ll even paint a picture for you if you’re lucky.

The penguin Aquatic Adventure at Sea World is also unique – here you can mingle with the king penguins and help adele penguins build their pebble nests (be careful they don’t try to take a piece of you to build the nest with too.

Visit the Wildlife Hospital Foundation at Currumbin Wildlife Park and see the vets and volunteers in action.

Feeding the lorikeets of Currumbin Wildlife Park is a long-held tradition but it never gets boring, they’re colourful, noisy and cheeky – be careful you get them positioned bums-away from your clothes.

At Tropical Reef Snorkel at Sea World’s Shark Bay you can swim with rays, reef sharks and thousands of colourful tropical fish – it’s a great introduction to snorkeling – especially if you can’t get the Great Barrier Reef itself.

For the more adventurous, a Shark Encounter takes you into an acrylic cage to feed dusky whaler and bull whaler sharks.

Where to Stay

We stayed at the very central Sea World Resort in very spacious, newly refurbished rooms. Our ground floor pool-view rooms gave us easy access to the pool and waterpark, with adjoining rooms for the kids.

Guests at the resort have unlimited access to Sea World during their stay – and exclusive early access privileges to activities such as an early morning family dolphin experience.

There’s also a wide range of dining options – from pizza delivered to your room to rather magnificent looking seafood buffets at Shoreline Restaurant.

About the author

Deborah's first trip with her first child (at 4 months old) involved a 26 hour flight with no sleep, which is about when she realised travelling with kids wasn’t quite the same as without. Deborah has lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and now resides in Sydney’s northern beaches with her Brady Bunch-style family of seven – all seasoned travellers. Twitter // @deborahzoe42 Google Plus // +Deborah Dickson-Smith

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