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13 Animals You Will Totally Fall In Love With When Visiting QLD

My heart melts.

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1. Koalas

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Did you know Queensland is actually one of the only Australian states where you can hold a koala? You can do so at the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville, Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, and at the Lona Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, to name a few. I had the chance to experience this and, let me tell you, my heart melted. They are ten times fluffier and cuter than they already look.

2. Kangaroos

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You will often come across 'roos pretty easily all over Australia, but there's nothing like watching a beach sunrise with these guys hopping all around you. You can experience the Kangaroo Sunrise at the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, where a guide will teach you how to behave around these wild animals. Honestly, this is the closest I ever got to a kangaroo... and their droppings.

3. Parrotfish

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Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef. I live close to the best beaches in Italy, but the amount of snorkelling I got to do while visiting this natural beauty was more than I've ever done. I personally have never thought of fish as the most exciting animal on the planet, but seeing the parrotfish for the first time really changed my mind. It's insane to think the colours of their scales are natural. They're so vivid!

4. Green Sea Turtles

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The Great Barrier Reef is also where sea turtles like to hang around. They’re very chill, and when you’re snorkeling you can actually get up close and personal with them. If you don't get to see one in the sea, not to worry: there's a turtle rescue centre in Fitzroy Island. Here, these animals hang around saltwater pools where they are nursed back to health, so it's very easy meet them. Plus, it's good to know there's centres trying to fight the damage caused by pollution.

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5. Snakes

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There's lots of reptile centres in Queensland that will let you hold snakes safely, like the Snake Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo in Childers. To be honest, holding them for the first time is a bit freaky. They won't really sit still and you gotta go with the flow, but they're surprisingly soft and cute.

6. Possums

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For the people back in Europe this might just look like a big rat, and EW BIG RATS AAAH EVACUATE THE AREA. But look at its little face, big eyes, and tiny hands, munching on a piece of banana. You'll find these balls of fur all over Queensland. Some restaurants even keep a little bowl of food for them just outside their doors. Otherwise they'd probably steal food off your plate. Cheeky things.

7. Bearded Dragons

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I cannot get over how cute these lizards actually are. Really! They're just little spiky things that like to hang on your shoulder soaking in the sun, havin' a good time. Kinda like a reptile version of a parrot. I got to meet this little guy at the Koala Bungalow Bay Village, in Horseshoe Bay. I tried hiring him as my travel companion but they wouldn't let me...

8. Wombats

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This chubby boy's name is Harry, you'll find him at the village too! Unfortunately his carer put him on a diet because he really, really likes corn. But I love him and his 14 rolls of fat regardless. If you pass by the village, take a selfie with him and try to replicate his number of chins. I sadly can't do that because I've been banned for wanting to take all of their animals home to Italy with me.

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9. Saltwater Crocodiles

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Look at this overexcited puppy, he also lives in the village! His expression reminds me of every girl at a bachelorette party. Under the careful eye of professional handlers you can hold baby crocs like these. But only babies, because these guys grow to be big boys, who are not to be messed with.

10. Rainbow Lorikeets

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Or, as I like to call them, Pride Parrots. You can hand feed them at Bungalow Bay, and they looove bread. I'm not sure if they actually talk but, if they do, I want them to wake me up and help me make my bed like in Cinderella.

11. Horses

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At Horseshoe Bay Ranch in Magnetic Island, you can ride a horse on the beach at sunset. You start your path in the beautiful fields, surrounded by tropical flora, and end it riding bareback into the ocean. And the best thing is you don't have to have experience horse riding to take part! Your legs might be sore the next day, but it's totally worth it.

12. Cassowaries

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These are big, colourful Australian birds. They can grow up to two-metres tall! I personally had never heard of them before visiting Queensland, but apparently they're pretty easy to come across in the Daintree Rainforest in Cape Tribulation. Fun fact: They eat fruits whole, and the seeds in their poop help keep lots of different species of rainforest trees alive. Unlike my cat's poo. My cat's poo is useless and smelly.

13. Cockatoos

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You can see cockatoos in the wild, but Jojo is something special. He's such a showoff: he jams to "I Like To Move It" and loves to boast his crest. You can find him at the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome! He's a cheeky boy, and will screech if he wants attention. Same, tbh.

Travel was provided by Tourism Australia. BuzzFeed writers do not guarantee coverage.