September is Save the Koala Month and to celebrate, here are a few ways to appreciate and support this marsupial cutie. You can try to spot a koala, adopt a koala, buy koala shorts or even learn more about them. Now more than ever, koalas need saving. It’s estimated that up 30% of koala habitats were destroyed by bush fires.
Visit koalas at Blackbutt Reserve
Normally, we would advise that you can get up close to koalas at the Koala enclosure at Blackbutt Reserve. However, the wildlife exhibits are temporarily closed as of Saturday 29 August due to urgent structural maintenance on the boardwalk and to meet COVIDSafe requirements. Work is expected to run until the end of September.
Instead, you can observe koalas in the Blackbutt Reserve Spy on a Koala video series. This video stream was filmed every day for a week, you can see them being fed and explore their enclosure with a 360 degree view.
Spot koalas at Tiligerry Habitat
If you want a unique day trip with the family, then head to Tilligerry Habitat in Port Stephens. It’s one of the best places to spot koalas in the wild. Although it’s not guaranteed to spot one, it’s lots of fun to try. Best tip to spot a koala? Look for their scats (poos) on the ground and then search the trees above that area.
Adopt a koala
Want to support the koalas? Adopt a koala for yourself or as a gift for someone special by making a 12 month donation to the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. Your adoption helps with the rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas and release back to their home range where possible. Your adoption also assists with the conservation and expansion of habitat, collection of information for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition and habits of wild koalas. You have a choice of 17 Koalas which are available for adoption. They have 10 exhibit koalas who live permanently at the Koala Hospital so you can also visit your koala if you’re in the Port Macquarie area. The cost for an adoption within Australia is $60 per year. eAdoptions are $40 per year and are emailed to you.
Buy Koala Shorts
Local business Class of 84 Clothing is selling kids and adult size Save Our Koalas boardies. 100% off the profits from the Koala swim shorts go directly towards organisations within Australia that are helping to save and rehabilitate koalas. Aside from helping the koalas you will receive an awesome pair of boardies. The swim shorts are eco friendly, made from recycled plastic bottles. They are super comfy, light weight and quick dry.
Follow the Koala Trail in Port Macquarie
If you’re near Port Macquarie this month, follow the Koala Trail. Spot koalas all around Port Macquarie-Hastings region as part of the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail. There are over 70 hand-painted one-metre high koalas along the trail. Each Hello Koalas sculpture has its own unique character and personality, and everyone has a favourite koala. To find them, download the Koala Trail map.
Visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie
Visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie to see the work that they do in caring for koalas. The Koala Hospital is a licenced Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility. To ensure they can keep you safe with COVID protocols, they now have a booking system to book a 1-hour session so you can do a self-guided tour. Tickets are not available at the Koala Hospital – all visits must be pre-booked. You must book online before you can visit the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Visitor numbers are limited to ensure group numbers are controlled and everyone has space to enjoy their visit. Under Covid-19 restrictions, they can no longer hand out Self Guided Tour information. Print off a copy of the information for the self-guided tour. Due to COVID, guided tours by volunteer tour guides have been suspended.
Plant a koala food tree
A major threat to koalas is the loss of their habitat and subsequently food. The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie experience this on a daily basis as they need fresh leaf to feed the injured koalas which are in the hospital. To help alleviate this problem in the future, they have embarked on a project to plant koala food trees. Koalas feed on a variety of eucalypts, the more common being Tallowood, Swamp Mahogany and Forest Red Gum. You can help them – and the koalas – by making a donation for tree planting.
Read books about koalas
Celebrate koalas by reading books with your kids about them. There are lots of wonderful books to read about Australia’s cutest marsupial.
Tippy and Jellybean – Younger children will love Tippy and Jellybean by Sophie Cunningham, illustrated by Anil Torto. It tells the true story of a young koala and her brave mum saved in the 2019/2020 bushfires. This inspiring short story is accompanied by adorably beautiful illustrations and proceeds from the sale of the book support the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.
Other books include Koala Lou by Mem Fox, Koala Bare by Jackie French, Koala by Claire Saxby and the touchy-feely That’s not my koala by Fional Watt.
Plan a visit to the Koala Sanctuary
Port Stephens Council in partnership with Port Stephens Koalas has created a Koala Sanctuary to ensure first-class care to sick, injured and orphaned koalas. The centre is scheduled to open on 26 September 2020 and will offer visitors a unique opportunity to see koalas in their natural habitat. It will also support their long-term rehabilitation and preservation.
Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.