Friday 17th March 2017
The weather was a little gloomy this morning so we set off on our trip from the Hunter Valley to our next destination, Coffs Harbour, fairly early with the aim of stopping at Port Macquarie to visit the Koala Hospital.
By the time we got to the coast the weather wasn’t looking at all good, so we headed for the Sea Acres National Park and the Rainforest Cafe at the visitors centre for a spot of lunch. It’s a lovely spot, the cafe is surrounded by forrest and boasts a french chef – so we dined in style as the rain pelted down.
After lunch we headed out to the Koala Hospital, set up in 1973 by local couple Jean and Max to care for local injured koalas, it has grown to a large facility in the grounds of Roto House. The team of mainly volunteers care for a mixture of long term guests with injuries or disabilities that stop them being released back into the wild, and short term guests who are either recovering from an injury or an illness.
Koalas struggle with a range of issues often due to a reduction in their natural habitat and their proximity to us. Diseases like chlamydia cause eye and urinary tract problems, car accidents cause the second highest number of admissions, followed by dog attacks and forest fires.
The hospital admits over 200 new patients every year and though a partnership with the University of Sydney has established both a treatment centre to get the little fur balls patched up and a research facility to try and develop cures for the diseases they suffer.
The staff run tours at 3pm every day while the permanent guest are being fed, giving the back story for each of the koalas and what their long term prognosis is. The non perm visitors who they hope to return to the wild aren’t on display as they are trying to keep them away from humans, but a board gives all the information on each koala and how it ended up in the hospital.
It was absolutely chucking it down, but the staff are so enthusiastic and the koalas so lovely to watch, i don’t think any of us minded.
Back in the car, we headed on up to Coffs Harbour, and into some really bad weather… come to Australia they said – really sunny… ha! Our stay for the next few days thankfully has a fully fitted kitchen so after a quick run to the supermarket for wine and carbs we settled in for the evening to cook.