Koala spotting in the City of Ipswich

Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane is luxurious outback retreat, Spicers Hidden Vale. It is, of course, a haven for its guests, but it’s also home to a thriving koala population.

The Spicers Koala Safari takes guests to the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, run by the Turner Family Foundation and the University of Queensland. Here they can contribute to Dr Andrew Tribe’s two-year research program, tracking 26 koalas residing on the property.

After a tour around the centre, guests are transported down to the koala “hotspot” to look for the animals in the wild with the help of an antenna that receives signals from fitted anklets on the koalas.

“The koala has both an LX GPS collar, which is uploaded to our website twice a day, but also has a VHF anklet so that we can pick up the signal on the anklet using a VHF receiver and VHF antenna,” said Dr Tribe.

Koalas are under serious threat in South East Queensland and Dr Tribe’s research aims to improve the status of the beloved Aussie icons.

“Our aim is to find out as much as we can about the koalas at Hidden Vale because we want to increase their numbers over time, so that the Hidden Vale property becomes what we’re calling a koala fountain,” said Dr Tribe. “So it’s dispersing young koalas into the surrounding areas to improve the population throughout the region.”

The tour concludes with a cold beverage up at the retreat in front of a toasty campfire.

The Hiddenvale Wildlife Centre is the base for a number of research projects on various species. Head to the Spicers Hidden Vale website to book a spot on the Koala Safari for yourself. You don’t need to be an in-house guest to experience it, but you do need to book in advance as it’s a very popular tour.