Have you ever asked yourself where you could see koalas? We collected the best places for you to see koalas in the wild, in a koala sanctuary, or park.
Have a look at our newest article to meet one of the cutest animals on the Australian continent.
Our slow moving koala is a triumph of evolution, able to survive and thrive on a diet of gum leaves, not the most nutritious plants. Its solution to the problem of handling such food made the koala a success story of the Australian forests.Stephen Jackson
Koalas are – beside kangaroos – considered to be the most famous animals of Australia. Why koalas do not drink and why they sleep up to 22 hours a day, you can read in this article.
You can read the full article or jump to any section here:
- What is a Koala?
- Koala profile
- Why is Koala not a real bear?
- Where do Koalas live?
- What are the enemies of Koalas?
- Why are Koalas getting extinct?
- Koala endangerment
- How to save koalas?
- How do Koalas communicate?
- Best places to see Koalas in the wild
- Best Koala sanctuaries or Koala parks
The koala is regarded as a symbol of Australia and is a very popular animal.
The word “koala” means “do not drink” in the Aboriginal language. Koalas hardly ever drink. They take in water mainly through their food: they eat eucalyptus leaves.
In the wild, the koala sleeps most of its life, with a preference for light eucalyptus forests. A koala sleeps up to 22 hours a day in the branch forks of trees. Only at night do the animals wake up briefly to feed on eucalyptus (leaves and bark).
Koalas sleep up to 22 hours a day – to save energy. Their favourite food, the green of the eucalyptus, is very rich in hard fibres. Therefore it takes a lot of time to digest the leaves. The koalas are helped in this by their appendix, which can be up to two meters long and in which millions upon millions of bacteria split the cell walls of the eucalyptus leaves.
The eucalyptus leaves do not provide much nutritional value, but they also contain toxins that need to be broken down in the body. Another reason why koalas prefer to take it easy in the trees where you can see koalas all day.
Here you can find all the useful data about Koala bears.
|More names||Ash Grey Pouch Bear|
|Latin name||Phascolarctos cinereus|
|Size||60 – 80 cm / 20 – 31 Inches|
|Weight||4 – 12 kg / 8 – 26 pounds|
|Age||8 – 15 years|
More to come in the next sessions of the text.
Koalas are often also called koala bears. Despite their similarity to bears, koalas are marsupials and belong to the scientific genus of marsupials (Metatheria).
Koalas, scientifically Phascolarctos cinereus, are actually not bears but marsupials and live exclusively on the east coast of Australia. However, these animals are no longer as common as they were 200 years ago.
The koalas are naturally only native to Australia. Their habitats are located on the mainland and on some islands on the east and southeast coast.
Many places where you can see koalas in the wild!
Koala populations can only spread in habitats that meet certain conditions. A suitable habitat contains trees preferred by koalas (mainly eucalyptus species, but also some others) in certain communities on suitable soils and sufficient rainfall. Another criterion is that other koalas must live nearby.
Such habitats are light eucalyptus forests in which other tree species are only occasionally represented.
Often, however, due to deforestation, koalas live in a steppe landscape with rather scattered trees, which in the worst case are located near a road. In this case, the territories are larger, as this is the only way to ensure that they contain enough food trees, where you can see koalas.
They can also be found on green areas with eucalyptus trees in cities, which however do not provide a suitable habitat for them. Such animals are usually victims of cars, dogs, swimming pools and other man-made hazards.
The size of koala populations is directly dependent on the size of the habitat and on the number of nutritionally relevant eucalyptus species growing there and their density of vegetation. If a habitat is reduced or cut up, the ecological carrying capacity of the habitat decreases proportionally to its area.
Due to clearings or forest fires, many former distribution areas of koalas today fall below the minimum size necessary for a stable population.
The natural enemies of koalas are dingoes, owls, eagles, monitor lizards and phyton snakes.
The bush fires that occur in the dry seasons also kill many koalas.
However, it is not only the pouch mammals that like it there, but also more and more people. In addition, their habitat is destroyed by clearing, drainage and the construction of roads and fences. If a koala’s territory is divided by a road or fence, it simply stays in the part where it is and loses half of its territory. Because koalas are so slow, they are sometimes run over by cars.
Where 20 or 30 years ago eucalyptus forests still grew, roads now run through the landscape in Australia, lined with houses and towns. In the meantime, 80 percent of the koala’s habitats have been destroyed. But there are still many areas where you can see koalas.
In their misery, many koalas then try their hand at being city dwellers. But life between houses and streets is not for the marsupials: It is estimated that 4000 of these ponderous animals are run over by cars or bitten to death by dogs every year. The stress they are exposed to in the noisy cities also makes many koalas sick.
And last but not least, a virus is circulating in Australia, which weakens the koalas’ immune system and makes them susceptible to bacterial infections. Some koalas become infertile or blind, others die.
A panel of experts dealing with the effects of the bush fires on native species had already warned last week of habitat destruction.
The experts called for emergency measures and a strategy to bring about a recovery of the affected areas. In January, Environment Minister Sussan Ley said that koalas in parts of Australia may need to be declared an endangered species.
Animal welfare activists estimate that only 40,000 to 80,000 koalas live in Australia today. When Europeans settled the Australian continent at the end of the 18th century, there were still millions.
The bush fires have severely affected koalas in the Australian state of New South Wales. According to initial surveys, the population of marsupials there has decreased by 80 to 85 percent, said Stuart Blanch of the environmental protection organization WWF during a parliamentary investigation in Sydney.
“Based on our information, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost 10,000 koalas through fire and drought,” he told MPs. Some koala populations in the state may have disappeared by 2050 or even earlier.
Fire, drought and deforestation are losing important habitat for the marsupials of New South Wales, said biologist Kara Youngentob of the Australian National University. Populations currently live in several Australian states.
The IUCN red list puts the status of the Koala to “vulnerable”.
However, the recent outcomes of the australian bushfires in 2019 and 2020 may change that status very soon.
There are several organisations where you can donate or adopt a Koala in need.
After the bushfires in Australia, the WWF is determined to turn this sad story around. For this reason, it is launching a worldwide campaign “On the way to two billion trees”. WWF Australia is committed to saving and planting two billion trees in the next decade. The goals of this campaign are:
- to stop the excessive deforestation,
- to preserve existing bush and forest areas
- restore the habitat for wildlife by planting new trees
Here you can directly donatefor koalas. Together with the Australian partner organisation Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) betterplace cares for wild animals that have been victims of bush fires. A large network of volunteer wildlife workers work around the clock to find injured animals, such as koalas and kangaroos, provide first aid and care for the wildlife.
Koalahospital.org – Adopt a Koala
Their adoption helps to rescue and treat sick and injured koalas and to release them back to their homes where possible. Their adoption also helps to maintain and expand the habitat, collect information for research into the habitat, disease, diet and habits of wild koalas. It also helps to provide educational materials to raise public awareness of all aspects of the koala.
Koalas can make sounds that allow them to communicate over fairly large distances. One of these sounds is a cry of fear, which sounds like the fearful cry of an infant.
Males also make a deep grunting bark when they want to emphasize their place in the hierarchy. Sometimes it also sounds like the grunt of a pig.
During the mating season males bark a lot, females much less. The females exchange quiet clicks and squeaks with their young. Sometimes they also make a buzzing or mumbling sound.
The reputation with which males want to attract females during the mating season is surprisingly deep for their size.
Normally, the pitch produced by an animal depends on the size of the vocal organ. And in a small body there is not really enough room for a large larynx with long vocal chords or vocal lips, as they are actually called.
Koalas, however, have a special organ in the throat outside the larynx, as scientists at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, now report: the “velar vocal folds”, which sit next to the larynx.
It is still unclear which pressure to adapt has led to the development of the particularly deep calls of the koala bears. Female animals also occasionally emit calls. However, it still has to be clarified whether they also have “velare vocal folds”.
If you ask yourself where you can see koalas, have a look at our top 10 list for the best places to see Koalas the wild. All places listed are in Australia:
- Raymond Island, VIC
- Kennett River, VIC
- Cape Otway, VIC
- Port Stephens, NSW
- Kangaroo Island, SA
- Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve, New South Wales (NSW)
- Tidbinbilla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- Port MacQuarie, New South Wales (NSW)
- Flinders Chase National Park, South Australia (SA)
- The You Yangs, Victoria (VIC)
Raymond Island, Victoria
Raymond Island is located in the state of Victoria, about 300 kilometres from Melbourne and is a small, partly inhabited island in the south of the country.
From the mainland or the village of Paynesville it is only a few meters across Wollaston Bay to the island. With a ferry you can easily be transferred, but more about this in the section Arrival.
Since the koalas in Victoria were threatened with extinction at the beginning of the 20th century, some of the animals were brought to Raymond Island: a green island without any major dangers, which is perfect for reproduction.
The koalas were doing so well here that they reproduced in no time at all and in 2010 suddenly 600 animals were living on Raymond Island – a little too much for the small island, which simply did not offer enough food for so many new inhabitants.
So 300 koalas were relocated to other places in Victoria again, to increase the population there as well.
But what is the situation on the island today?
Currently there are about 300 koalas living there. Furthermore, the Raymond Island Koala Shelter takes care of sick and injured animals.
The work is done entirely by volunteers, which means that the organisation is dependent on donations.
Where can you even find the animals on Raymond Island?
Actually everywhere – just keep your eyes open and peek into the treetops. But you will have the most luck along the Raymond Island Koala Trail.
The trail is a 1.2 kilometre long circular walk, which first leads you through a village and then through a small section of forest. Especially along the forest we found again and again koalas sitting, sleeping, yawning or sometimes even climbing in the trees.
Some of them were hiding far up in the tree tops, others lay only a few centimeters above our heads on a branch and looked at us drowsy. One thing you can believe us: The cute little animals definitely don’t let anything upset them!
The trail also leads you along the water and a few small beaches. If the weather is good you can let your legs dangle into the sea and enjoy the great atmosphere of this wonderful island.
Koalas are not the only animals on Raymond Island: With a little luck you can also spot kangaroos, big lizards, colourful parrots and funny echidnas.
Kennett River, Victoria
Kennett River is a small coastal town and river on the Otway Coast in Victoria, Australia. The town is located 174 kilometres west of Melbourne, directly on the Great Ocean Road.
The area is known for its beautiful views of the coast, for the Great Otway National Park and for surfing.
If you want to see wild koalas, you are sure to get your money’s worth here – in a one to two kilometre wide patch of forest on the Grey River Road, which branches off the Great Ocean Road, they sit in the eucalyptus trees and smile or sleep. Beautiful animals!
In the small settlement of Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road there is a road lined with eucalyptus trees.
With a little luck you can see wild koalas there. One can hardly miss the road, because there are numerous tourists on the spot. But at the time of our visit they were more interested in the cockatoos and parrots, which were walking tamely on the ground and can be fed with food from the nearby café.
Therefore we could dedicate ourselves to the search for the koalas alone and actually saw two in the trees on the Kennet River Koala Walk.
Cape Otway, Victoria
Another beautiful place with koala guarantee is the Cape Otway Peninsula. Only a few kilometers west of Kennett River you can reach this small, little visited paradise Cape Otway.
Everyone who drives along Australia’s world famous Great Ocean Road also passes Cape Otway – most of them just pass it.
Not too many tourists find their way to Cape Otway, as the detour to the western tip of the road does not scream for visitors as loudly as the other, far more famous places along the Great Ocean Road.
One more reason to have a closer look at this small shy, somewhat remote paradise.
The Cape Otway belongs to the Great Otway National Park and is the southernmost tip of the Great Ocean Road region. A 14 km long, partly paved road leads directly from the Great Ocean Road to Cape Otway.
The drive itself is an experience in itself: first past and over many green hills, then plunging into the middle of the temperate rainforest of the Great Otway National Park with an endless number of huge eucalyptus trees.
No wonder that this is a true and almost undisturbed paradise for koalas. Nowhere else in Australia are there more koalas to be seen in the wild!
During the hot summer months the shade of the forests offers a wonderful change. The beautiful rainforest as well as the coast invites to many small and big walks.
At the end of Cape Otway the oldest lighthouse on the Australian continent awaits you. Since 1848 the Cape Otway Lightstation has been warning ships of the dangerous coast, where in former times ships were smashed and sank in rows.
Cape Otway lies between the Southern Ocean and the Bass Strait. Nearly all ships from Europe passed here on their way to Melbourne. This headland and the lighthouse were often the first thing the immigrants of Australia got to see.
The lighthouse is 90 m high. From up here there is a fantastic view over the rugged rocky coast. From June to October whales can also be observed.
Port Stephens, New South Wales
Port Stephens in Australia is a beautiful, large natural harbour on the east coast of the country.
It is only about 200 kilometres away from Sydney and is a real highlight because of its relaxed atmosphere and the natural surroundings.
One of the places you don’t want to miss to see Koalas is the The Tilligerry Habitat. It is a nine hectare nature reserve and is managed by the non-profit organisation of the same name. The ultimate goal is to protect the koalas and preserve the natural habitat. The habitat was even awarded the highest certification for sustainable eco-tourism in Australia.
Numerous wooden paths lead through the small nature reserve: partly along the sea, partly through a small forest full of eucalyptus trees. Always keep an eye out for koalas, which often sit on branches and in the treetops. The chance to see them here in the wild is definitely there, but you will have to be patient.
Get a map of the Tilligerry Habitat at the Info Center and ask where the last koalas were sighted.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island in southern Australia is a gem for nature lovers.
The third largest island of Australia owes its name to the many kangaroos that live here in still largely untouched nature.
When Matthew Flinders discovered the deserted island in 1802, his half-starved crew only managed to get back on their feet with the help of kangaroo meat. The crew named the island after the marsupials out of gratitude to the lifesavers. Wallabies, a smaller subgenus of kangaroos, also live here.
Koalas can be seen at almost every corner – there are so many that the island should actually be called Koala Island.
Since a full-grown koala eats almost a pound of eucalyptus leaves per day, the eucalyptus forests are now endangered in their existence. The environmental authorities on Kangaroo Island have therefore decided to give the bears contraceptives with arrows.
19 nature reserves and national parks ensure the preservation of unspoiled wilderness on the 4350 square kilometre island.
Rangers also guide tourists to the sea lions,… Interesting animals are the Echidnas from the family of the echidnas. The prickly creatures are mammals, but have a beak and lay eggs.
Kangaroo Island is the only region in Australia where there is no chlamydia among koalas – a sexually transmitted disease that is fatal to marsupials. The koala population on the island was therefore considered an insurance policy for the survival of the species. Since numerous koalas have also perished in the flames on the mainland, the population on Kangaroo Island was considered all the more important for the preservation of the species.
However, almost half of the island’s surface area was destroyed by the fire, and only 20 percent of the koalas’ habitat remains. This confronts the helpers in the animal clinic with the question of where to take the animals after their recovery.
Phillip Island, VIC
The 22 km long and up to 10 km wide island is 101 km² large.
We reach it over the 640m long bridge from San Remo to Newhaven. You can also reach Phillip Island from Melbourne by plane, several times a week with Phillip Island Air, or with the ferry Stony Point.
Phillip Island was discovered in 1798 by Captain Bass. The settlement began around 1826, when Captain Wright set up camp near what is now Rhyll.
The resulting settlement was to show the French that the island had already been taken over by the English.
The climate here is very pleasant, as it is relatively warm in winter and pleasantly cool in summer due to a constant breeze.
The island is a unique nature reserve where penguins, seals, eagles, koalas and other animals live in their natural environment. This is exactly why we are here.
The small holiday village of Newhaven, which administratively belongs to San Remo on the mainland, has an information centre where we can obtain detailed information material about the island and also tickets for the Penguin Parade. More below.
Our small island tour leads us first to Rhyll at Fishermans Point. Rhyll is a picturesque fishing and holiday village with remains from the pioneer times. Pelicans, gannets, swans and ibises cavort on the alluvial soil off the coast.
After a short stop we first go to Cowes to check into the hotel. Cowes is the administrative centre of the island.
Here is the most beautiful beach of the island. The beach at Esplanade is good for swimming, while Woolamai Beach, south of Newhavent, is good for surfing.
Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve, New South Wales
This four-hectare reserve was established in 1958 by a committee of locals who care for koalas. It is dedicated to the conservation of the local koala population and its habitat.
It is located about 15 kilometres from Lismore on the Wyrallah Road, 5.5 kilometres south of Wyrallah Village.
As you walk through the reserve, keep your eyes up in the trees for koalas.
Tidbinbilla, Canberra, ACT
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a 54.5 square kilometre nature reserve on the edge of Namadgi National Park.
It is located not far from the city of Canberra, Australia’s capital, in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has many bush walks. On these walks you can see kangaroos, wallabies, platypuses, koalas, lyre-tails, emus and other wildlife. Different habitats such as wetlands, meadows, wet and dry forests offer beautiful flora and fauna.
In 2003, a bush fire burned down ninety-nine percent of the park, resulting in the loss of countless wildlife.
Tidbinbilla offers many animals and beautiful nature experiences. Discover this beautiful valley and its natural landscape. Enjoy the many hiking trails that wind through the Sanctuary Wetlands, watch koalas in the eucalypt forest or relax with a picnic in the wilderness.
This large valley with the Tidbinbilla Mountain and the Gibraltar Range invites you to hike and relax. The sides of the valley are steep, untouched and tell the story of the Aborigines and European settlers.
It is believed that Tidbinbilla Mountain was used for Aboriginal ceremonies for a long time. Its name “Tidbinbilla” has Aboriginal origins and is derived from the word Jedbinbilla – a place where boys become men.
One of the most significant archaeological sites in the reserve is the Birriagi rock shelter, with the oldest Aboriginal settlement traces discovered to date. There is also the Bogong Rocks, the oldest proven Aboriginal deposit.
Visit this reserve and discover Tidbinbilla’s extraordinary wildlife, natural beauty and diverse habitats. Great location where you can see Koalas.
Port MacQuarie, NSW
Port Macquarie is one of the oldest settlements on the North Coast of New South Wales and is located right at the mouth of the Hastings River.
Families, pensioners and surfers particularly like to visit the small town with its 42,000 inhabitants.
The resort is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, which invite you to go fishing, surfing and sunbathing. One of the most important sights is the Koala Hospital, where sick and injured koalas are nursed back to health.
In the juicy eucalyptus trees of the region live many of these cute marsupials. But also the Tacking Point Lighthouse, historic buildings and great viewpoints are popular highlights of Port Macquarie. The humid subtropical climate is characterized by warm summers and cool winters.
The Sea Acres National Park is one of the natural highlights of Port Macquarie. This largest remaining subtropical coastal rainforest on the east coast of Australia includes beaches, a café, the rather commercial Rainforest Centre and a 7m high and 1.3km long circular walk (fee required).
You can also take part in various tours. You can get a good impression of the region on the 9km long coastal hiking trail from Town Green Park in the north to Lighthouse Beach in the south. Along the way there are several beaches, viewpoints and parks. A picnic break is worthwhile in the beautiful Windmill Hill Reserve.
Attractions at Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park include the historic cemetery, walking trails and mangrove forests. Port Macquarie is also known for Koala Park and the Koala Hospital, where sick and injured animals are cared for.
A camping and fishing trip (bush camps at Point Plomer and Melaleuca) can be made to the Limeburners Nature Reserve in the north of the city. The rainforest-fringed beaches are perfect for swimming, surfing and relaxing. In addition, dolphins can be seen all year round and from May to November even whales can be seen on the coast of Port Macquarie.
Flinders Chase National Park, SA
The Sea Acres National Park is one of the natural highlights of Port Macquarie.
This largest remaining subtropical coastal rainforest on the east coast of Australia includes beaches, a café, the rather commercial Rainforest Centre and a 7m high and 1.3km long circular walk (fee required).
You can also take part in various tours. You can get a good impression of the region on the 9km long coastal hiking trail from Town Green Park in the north to Lighthouse Beach in the south. Along the way there are several beaches, viewpoints and parks.
A picnic break is worthwhile in the beautiful Windmill Hill Reserve. Attractions at Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park include the historic cemetery, walking trails and mangrove forests. Port Macquarie is also known for Koala Park and the Koala Hospital, where sick and injured animals are cared for.
A camping and fishing trip (bush camps at Point Plomer and Melaleuca) can be made to the Limeburners Nature Reserve in the north of the city.
The rainforest-fringed beaches are perfect for swimming, surfing and relaxing. In addition, dolphins can be seen all year round and from May to November even whales can be seen on the coast of Port Macquarie.
The You Yangs, VIC
The You Yangs Regional Park is a park in the southern centre of Victoria, Australia.
The park encompasses most of the southern areas of the You Yangs, a granite range that rises 60 km southwest of Melbourne from the Werribee Plains.
It is a great opportunity to see the natural habitat of Australian animals, especially the koalas under the eucalyptus trees.
The park naturalists are very helpful in guiding you to the area of the park where you are likely to find some of the koalas in the trees.
They are also very helpful to explain the habits of the animals and their lifestyle.
The trails are very well marked and maintained for easy walks. If you want to drive yourself, there are plenty of parking spaces along the driveways to allow for shorter walks. There are toilets and picnic facilities near the entrance.
We collected the best koala sanctuaries and hospital for your visit to australia, where you can see Koalas.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
This beautifully arranged park gives a nice insight into the manifold Australian animal world.
You can also see animals that are normally not seen in the nature of Australia.
Yes, you can hold and pet koalas there! The waiting time for this was three and a half hours, because the welfare of the animals comes first and from 11:00 on the day tickets are sold out.
The zoo offers large outdoor enclosures where you can walk around in the middle of kangaroos for example. Many of the animals allow you to join them and even stroke them. If it becomes too much for the animals, they can move to an area, which is closed to the visitors as an animal rest area.
Also Wombats, the Tasmanian devil or reptiles are to be seen. Also nice to see the “Birds of Prey” or the herding dogs, which show how a flock of sheep is kept together.
We were there for about 5 hours and it was a great pleasure for us.
The Koala Hospital, which is well worth seeing, is open daily* from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is open for viewing during this time. The entrance is free of charge.
Every day* at 3 pm, when the koalas are being fed, guided tours take place. These are free and do not require registration. I can highly recommend them if you are thirsty for knowledge and want to learn more about the life of the koalas in general and in the hospital. There you are also free to ask all the questions that are burning on your mind.
The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie accepts volunteers for 1 month. This is a unique experience where you can work with the animals up close and learn a lot about them. Some volunteers may even help raise a baby koala (Joey).
Phillip Island Koala Conservation Centre
One of the biggest attractions on Phillip Island is the Koala Conservation Centre in the area of Phillip Island Road and Harbison Road.
The cute animals live here partly in the wild.
The bridles wouldn’t be a real obstacle for the koalas, but they are doing well and so they stay and let us observe them. The catwalks in the Koala Conservation Centre were moved to treetop height, so that one can observe the cute eucalyptus eaters better.
We stay here much longer than expected, but we just can’t part. Especially this nice guy shows himself to us in all situations. Eating, climbing, looking curious.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
No more injured animals at the roadside! That’s what two shopkeepers from the coastal town of Port Macquarie thought in 1973.
Jean and Max Starr began to take in injured and orphaned koalas, and then released them back into the wild in good health.
What began with the selfless help of these two angels has now become a big deal. A large koala hospital (in English: “Koala Hospital”) with many volunteers has developed from it.
The non-profit organisation is committed to the health of the animals with all its heart and soul. Koalas that can never live in the Australian wilderness again due to their serious injuries are even allowed to stay in the Koala Hospital for the rest of their lives. Another great place where you can see Koalas.
You have the unique opportunity to be very close to the koalas in this loving hospital. Simply a wonderful sight on the east coast of Australia!
The cuddly koala is probably one of the cutest inhabitants of Australia. It can grow up to 85 cm tall and weighs between 4 and 14 kg when fully grown.
Its woolly, grey fur is waterproof, so that the little bear keeps its good mood even in rainy weather. He feels most at home in the tree, so that you rarely see him on the ground.
So have a look and find the place where you can see Koalas and experience this lovely animal!
Now, as we discovered koala bears how about reading more about the largest real bear! Here is everything about the King of the Arctic: Encountering The Polar Bear.