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Saving Koalas
at Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital

18 October 2016 | Mri Grout - A Lifelong Vagabond

Koalas are easily one of the most famous icons of Australia, with their adorable faces and heart-wrenching acts known all over the world - like that time when a koala begged for water from bicyclists on a hot day; awww! They're also amazing creatures that have learned to survive in such a harsh environment. Faced with an unreliable water source, they eventually evolved to need very little of it to keep going. So little in fact, that the Aborigine name for koalas literally translates to 'no water.' And when faced with too many competitors over a very limited food supply, their bodies learned to digest the normally poisonous eucalyptus leaves.

However, the koalas' struggle to survive is still happening today due to the encrouching of their environments by us humans. Not only is their habitat dwindling, but they're also now forced to cross our dangerous roads and crawl into our very backyards where they get mauled by pets and/or end up drowning in pools (despite being fairly strong swimmers) due to the vertical walls trapping them inside.

It's for this unfortunate reason that there's a unique free attraction on the coast of Queensland, Australia.

About Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital

sick koala at Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

The staff at Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital is so dedicated to the treatment of these adorable creatures, that they'll drive hundreds of kilometres to rescue one in need. This organization also isn't owned or funded by any corporations, which allows them to put the koalas' health above profit or company politics; and as soon as one is nursed back to health, it's immediately released back into the wild instead of being kept for tourists' entertainment in an unnatural and stressful enclosure.

They have a veterinary hospital on site that is also run entirely by the volunteering of vetenarians and though it is not open to the public, there is a small window for visitors to peak through. However, it is requested that you do not tap on the glass and startle the recovering koalas so please keep an eye on children if the veterinary hospital at Port Macquarie happens to be in use.

*For more information about Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's conservation efforts, please check out the About Page on their official website.

Best Time to Visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

sick koala being fed at Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital offers free entry to the public free seven days a week from 08.00 to 16.30. However, the best time to visit here is at 15.00 on any day of the week because that's when the volunteers run a free tour that tells you all about the resident koalas. Though many of them are only there temporarily, there are also a few permanent residents due to severe injuries that make them inadvisable to be released back into the wild.

The tour of Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital covers the heart-breaking stories of these injured koalas, how they help them recover, and other facts about this beautiful species. It also takes place at the same time the koalas are fed their juice mix via a syringe, making this place a definite must-see on our list of free things to do in Queensland, Australia.

How YOU Can Help Save Koalas

baby koala in tree

The Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie runs entirely on donations from the public. There are boxes throughout this free attraction for you to donate your love and care for these iconic creatures and all they recommend is a cheap $2. That's not much to ask out of your travel finances, especially in a place like Australia.

There is also a small koala gift shop at this free attraction if you would like to take back a souvenir in addition to helping save the koalas. They sell a wide variety of items like coloring books, stickers, stuffed koalas, water bottles, and more.

Anyone that would like a more hands-on approach to helping the Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie save their surrounding koalas, be sure to check out the Koala Hospital's volunteer program. It's open to both locals and international visitors alike, but it is not free due to needing to cover insurance and other fees.

For those that live in Australia and have pets, make sure to keep them away from koalas. You can do this in many ways such as always keeping an eye on them when they're outside, locking them inside when you're away, and training them not to chase koalas (or anything for that matter).

For those that live in Australia and have swimming pools, either keep it covered or just put a stick or ladder in it so koalas can climb back out afterwards. They're fairly strong swimmers and might take a dip to cool off from the harsh Australian sun or simply fall in, so let's all make sure they can climb back out.

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