Koala Conservation Reserve – Phillip Island

The Koala Conservation Reserve on Phillip Island opened to the public in 1992. The reserve aims to protect an area of habitat so a population of koalas can live and breed safely. It also provides visitors with the opportunity to view koalas and other Australian wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat.

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Koala Conservation Reserve Phillip Island
Image: Koala Conservation Reserve, Phillip Island. Kiddiehood

Koalas natural habit before European settlement ranged from northeast Queensland and swept down the east coast and then west across to the southeast corner of South Australia.

The islands of Phillip Island and French Island in Western Port Bay were outside of the species natural range, with no record of koalas living there.

In 1898 two koalas were released on nearby French Island, given as pets to the residents there. By 1941 Phillip Island had approximately 6000 koalas.

Koala Conservation Reserve Phillip Island
Image: Koala Conservation Reserve, Phillip Island. Kiddiehood

Between 1941 – 1978 more than 3000 koalas were relocated from Phillip Island to various locations including, Snake Island and Raymond Island.

It turns out that moving koalas to islands leads to a rise in their numbers but is, or can be very problematic with the trees unable to keep up with the leaf demand eventually dying.

By the 1980s the Phillip Island koala population had declined so much it was thought that they would become extinct on the island.

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Koala Conservation Reserve Phillip Island
Image: Koala Conservation Reserve, Phillip Island. Kiddiehood

By 1988 semi-captive enclosures were set up to maintain a koala population for tourists. The Philip Island Koala Conservation Reserve is one such place and is doing a solid job of restoring the 6 hectares of donated cleared stock grazing farmland back to bushland suitable for koalas, wallabies and other Australian fauna.

Image: Koala Conservation Reserve, Phillip Island. Kiddiehood

The reserve has two well-constructed treetop woodland boardwalks, one 800m and the other 600m long raise several meters allowing you to be close to the koalas. We arrived at feeding time, which was an incredible opportunity to sit and enjoy the koalas.

There are six hectares of Australian bushland to explore via easily accessible trails, keep a lookout for wallabies, echidnas and native birds.

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Koala Conservation Reserve Phillip Island
Image: Koala Conservation Reserve, Phillip Island. Kiddiehood

The visitors centre has lots of fascinating koala facts, so be sure to spend some time in there.

Koala Conservation Reserve
Open: 10am to 4.30pm. The last entry to the boardwalks is 4pm.
Location: 1810 Phillip Island Road, Rhyll
More information

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