Making the trek out to Port Phillip Island is a long one. About a two-hour drive out of Melbourne, the island is home to a host of sights – including a chocolate factory, a Grand Prix track, a maze park, some seals, and a ship wreck - but we were going there for one reason –
“Hurry up Nicole, I want to see a koala!”
No, I didn’t have a child onboard; instead I was driving my British friend, Kat, to have her first experience with Australian wildlife, and it appeared her Australian dream involved seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and getting close to a koala.
As time passed on our drive we both got antsy, worrying that we were going to miss out on the Koala Conservation centre and only see the Penguin Parade.
Eventually though we crossed the bridge onto the island, bought our entrance tickets (AU$11.00 for adults and AU$5.50 for kids) and were rushing into the sanctuary in hope of spotting a koala.
Of course Kat spotted one first and her excitement was palpable.
“LOOK A KOALA!!!”
Indeed, perched high in a thick branch in one of the eucalyptus trees was a fluffy grey ball of fur having a nap; and I have to admit that despite being an Australian it’s pretty awesome to see one of our most famous animals up close.
To make it easier for visitors to get up close with a koala the conservation centre have specially created some low hanging areas with plenty of leaves for the koalas to sit in, and if particularly low they even have shields which will stop visitors getting to close to the koalas because they do bite and scratch if aggravated.
Throughout the park we managed to spot around 8 koalas – not a bad feat considering we were only there for around 30 minutes and it was the end of the day; and we also managed to spot a few wallabies which Kat mistook for kangaroos.
Have you gotten up close to koalas or kangaroos?
Koala Conservation Centre
1790 Phillip Island Road,
Cowes, Victoria, 3922
Website: Koala Conservation Centre