Koala Reserve, Phillip Island

Phillip Island, Victoria 3923

The pristine shores, lush rainforests, and shallow waters of Phillip Island make it the perfect place for a range of native and majestic animal species.

Koala Conservation Centre in Phillip Island

Here, visitors can see some of Australia’s most iconic critters up close and personal in the smattering of conservation efforts that are taking place around the island.

Set just an hour and a half from Melbourne, the Koala Conservation Centre on Phillip Island gives visitors the chance to marvel at cute koalas in their natural habitat. These small bear-like creatures are some of Australia’s most popular animals, and the centre provides visitors with an insight into their fascinating behaviour, history, and habitat.

At the Centre itself, there is plenty for people to get stuck into. Made up predominantly of lush eucalypt woodland, the koalas are free to roam around as they would in the wild. To help visitors get a better vantage point, there are a number of interwoven treetop boardwalks in the canopies so you can get up close and personal without interfering with the koala’s space. There are over 6 hectares of bushwalking trails to explore, all easily accessible.

From the boardwalk, you can also gaze out at the beautiful wetland landscape that surrounds the centre and spot other native species as you go. Keep an eye out for native wallabies and echidnas who also frequent that area of wildlife.

Perhaps the best part of the Koala Conservation Centre is the yearly population of koala joeys. If you visit at the right time, you can watch the little ones as they make their first steps into the world outside of their mother’s pouch, and watch as they learn to climb, find food, and get to know each other. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!

Promoting Koala Conservation

The Koala Conservation Centre is an ecotourism attraction and has played a key role in saving the population of koalas on Phillip Island as well as the natural bush environment that characterises the region.

There is now a special koala breeding program in place here, as conservation efforts ramp up to keep the population of these special creatures on the rise.

Where is the Koala Conservation Centre?

Koala Reserve

You’ll find the centre located in Phillip Island which is about an hour and a half from Melbourne. After you cross the bridge to get into Phillip Island, travel another 15 minutes until you reach the Koala Reserve.

Things to Do at the Koala Conservation Centre

As well as viewing the koalas in their natural habitat, visitors also have the opportunity to take part in a Koala Eco-Explorer Tour, which is led by a knowledgeable guide who shares behind-the-scenes information about Australia’s most iconic animal.

Elsewhere, the Centre lets visitors see the creatures in the natural habitat. Unlike a zoo, the koalas here live in the wild, making their homes in eucalypt forests and the surrounding wetlands. There are also plenty of other animals to spot here as well, from wallabies and possums, to echidnas and snakes.

There are a few boardwalks in the Conservation Centre which allow you to have a different vantage points to view the koalas at. The first is the Tree Top Koala Boardwalk which is an 800-metre loop and an easy 20-minute walk. The next is the Tree Top Woodland Boardwalk which is also around 20 minutes but only 600 metres in length. These boardwalks are a great option to see the koalas up close, and there’s even a new viewing area that allows you to come ‘face to face’ with the cute animals. This eco-tourism activity is unique in that unlike a visit to the zoo, visitors have the chance to see koalas in their natural habitat.

Facts about the Koalas at the Conservation Centre

  • Currently in Australia, there are less than 80,000 koalas in both the wild and in captivity. Their biggest threat is loss of habitat however this is being managed by adding new breeding area at the Koala Conservation Centre.
  • Koalas are nocturnal which means that they sleep for a good portion of the day and are most active at night. During the night-time, they can eat up to 1 kilogram of gum leaves. However, they are actually extremely picky eaters and will only eat certain types of gum leaves!
  • Ever wandered why not all koalas look the same? The koalas you’ll find up north of Australia don’t have as much fur as the ones in the south do, and this is because the southern koalas live in a colder climate.
  • Despite popular belief, koalas are not bears but marsupials! This means that they carry their joeys in their pouch while the joey is still growing.

Do Koalas Drink Water?


You might have heard that koalas don’t drink water but in fact, they do (but just not in the way you might be thinking.) The gum leaves that the koala’s munch on all night provide the required water that a koala needs, however, this isn’t as much as other animals. The reason they don’t drink water is because the koalas typically don’t move from tree to tree and so don’t exert themselves with too much physical activity. Recently, researchers have proven that as a result of climate change and a loss of habitat, some koalas will drink rain water that falls down from the trees as the climate becomes warmer, thus creating drier leavers.

The Town of Rhyll

The Koala Conservation Centre is located in the town of Rhyll, a quaint fishing village that is known for its wildlife and succulent seafood. There are two main centres in town, one with cafes overlooking the beach and the other with a general convenience store. The area is also popular due to the wildlife found at the Rhyll Inlet. This wetland area is home to an abundance of birdlife which can be viewed by the boardwalk beginning from the town centre and extending to the inlet.

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