We recently visited the pretty coastal town of Port Macquarie, in New South Wales.
Many years ago, my parents retired to Port Macquarie, and they lived in a small but comfortable coastal cottage surrounded by Eucalyptus trees.
The real bonus for every day living was that they lived across the road from a National Park and Wild Life sanctuary.
I have many memories of my parents, Paul and I taking our daughters to visit the park and the koalas. Tiny hands linked in ours as we crossed the road and walked slowly into the park. Time always seemed to slow down as we walked across the park, taking in the colours, the smells and the birds..
My mother would peel away a bit of bark from one of the trees and talk to the girls about the tiny insect world just below the surface of the tree. She always drew attention to the details..
My parents spent many years taking all their grandchildren for walks over to the park, and especially to the Koala Hospital, which was in the early stages of development.
The hospital became much better known during the dreadful bushfires all over Australia in December and January 2000.
These fires had a devastating affect on the local koalas, and the hospital also became the emergency ”go to” place for people far and wide trying to rescue koalas.
These photos show the koalas who survived and thrived, there were so many who did not.
Thankfully the hospital is now a much calmer place, and as a result of the generous donations from around the world, the Koala Hospital is actively working to keep local koalas healthy, increasing education programs and research into koala health and diseases.
The koala hospital is a series of outdoor large fenced ”wards”. Each ward has tree trunks, branches and Eucalyptus leaves, so koalas are in their natural habitat.
As the koala’s health improves, he/she is moved to a ”ward” closer to the bushland. These koalas have trees to climb, getting them ready for a return to the wild.
However, some koalas can never be returned to the wild, and these koalas remain permanent residents at the Koala Hospital.
The koala above is called Ocean Summer. Her mother was hit by a car and killed, but Ocean Summer survived, despite being only one kilogram when she was brought to the hospital. She was raised by home carers. Her eyes are normal, but due due to the accident she has some brain injury and cannot see. Summer has adapted well to her environment and will stay in the hospital permanently.
Tourists are taken in small groups around the hospital. Each koala has a chart with the koala’s name and biographical details giving the reasons the koala is here.
Some quiz questions for visitors are embedded in one of the local trees… here is just one..
There were many stories about koalas living in Port Macquarie, and Garage Girl was one of the most endearing.
My parents died many years ago now, and it is always a trip down memory lane when we go to Port Macquarie. We try to come in May or June and enjoy the bright sunny days, and coastal walks..
but this time the weather turned from mild to wild in Port Macquarie, and it has been like that ever since!
With weather in mind, my last photo is not of Port Macquarie, but taken in Mareeba in Far North Queensland. This sign was at the Mareeba Museum, a wonderful place to go if you are visiting this region. North Queensland often gets cyclones in summer, and this endearing sign shows the resilience and humour of people…all over the world… who live with difficult weather conditions!
Thank you for visiting my blog today. Here’s hoping your weather is mild, where ever you are in the world today.
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