In my opinion, the Koala Hospital is one of the most underrated tourist attractions in Port Macquarie. As it states in the name, it is a hospital for koalas. However, it has so much more to offer than just some of our sick koalas.
Complete with a mini museum, a koala clinic, and an opportunity to see not only koalas being rehabilitated but also in their natural environment the Koala Hospital is a place that will educate you and leave you feeling a little positive about the future of Koalas.
When I visited the hospital I was surprised to see so many different types of people there! From families with small children, older couples, and young travellers from around the world, it really is a place that anyone can enjoy visiting!
A little bit of Background History
The Koala Hospital was established in 1973 as a not-for-profit organisation which cares for injured Koalas. Ranging from burns from bushfires, dog attacks, or viruses the hospital cares for up to 200 koalas per year! Staffed by over 150 volunteers, the hospital really is an awesome project to help rescue and save so many koalas from different areas of the region.
The hospital runs its principal goals on four different aspects – Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release and Research. These principles involve a 24-hour rescue hotline, a treatment plan for injuries and illnesses, release back into the wild and research on things such as disease, therapy and habitat. These primary roles really shine through by the way the hospital is structured and helps to educate visitors about the threats that koalas face.
The Mini Museum
The Koala Hospital has changed a lot over the years, and it was really noticeable to me because I hadn’t been there in a while. In order to expand its way of educating the public, it now has a mini museum! The museum or education centre is the perfect way to educate tourists (and even locals) on some facts about koalas and the day to day threats that their species faces.
Complete with lots of information panels and interactive areas for children and adults, the museum is a great educational resource. You can read lots of information about the koala species, complete with some koala sculptures and interactive microscopes and facts. There’s also heaps of information on the threats koalas face in their habitat and what you can do to help.
Even though the museum is only one room, it honestly is something that leaves you more informed when exploring the koala hospital. Out front of the museum is a kids activity sheet and also a self-guided tour sheet with lots of information about the hospital and koalas!
The Koalas Being Rehabilitated
Rehabilitation is the main goal of the Koala Hospital and you can see this in action all throughout the hospital. Apart from having Koalas out in the yards, there is also a viewing area into the clinic where you can watch the volunteers work with the koalas.
The most interesting and amazing part of the hospital is walking around the yards to see some of the koalas! Most of them are sick and in recovery, or sleeping, however, it is a great way to see koalas in pretty much their natural habitat. Whether they’re high up in the trees, eating some of the eucalyptus leaves, or asleep and the base of the tree, it’s an awesome sight to see.
My favourite part about the yards is the fact that each koala has a little story about it. At each enclosure, there is a little sign which has a background story on the koala. It says things like why its at the hospital, how long it been there and a little background on its injuries. Reading the stories can be a little bit saddening sometimes, but its great to see some real stories and have some background information!
An Added Experience: Roto House
Just next to the Koala Hospital is the historic Roto House. Built in the 1890s and purchased with the koala hospital, it has some great information on some of the history of Port Macquarie. The Flynn family who used to live there owned all of the Koala hospital land and all the land around it!
There’s a lot of Port Macquarie history in Roto House, and it is definitely something worth learning about! Its free to enter and there’s always some great guides who are willing to show you around. The house is set up as it would have been in the late 1800s, making it a great way to see a bit of history!
Souvenirs and Other Extras
In the Koala Hospital, there is a souvenir shop. All the proceeds are donated to the hospital, and to the volunteers. There is lots of things for kids to buy, but also a couple of things for adults and tourists. You can also adopt a koala to help support its rehabilitation for only $60!
All in all the koala hospital is a great day out for tourists and locals alike. Whether your a young couple, a family with young children or a backpacker, the hospital is a great way to see koalas in the wild. I’d definitely say it is one of the best places for tourists in Port Macquarie!
You can learn more about The Koala Hospital here…
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