Today I have now traveled 800klm since setting off from Armidale NSW. The Central Coast region is home to a diversity of landscapes; however, today I am in the ancient Paperbark and Eucalypt Forests near Wyong NSW. Just 80 klm from the shoreline of the sea, are dense forests and woodlands. At this time of year, the temperature is 35 degrees celsius most of the day. With local knowledge behind me I set about hiking through the woodland forest to find koalas. Koalas are a rare and endangered species in Australia, and are not easy to come across in the wild.
Koalas closest relative is the wombat. Koalas are not actually related to bears, it is just their common name since they were popularised in children's books in the late 1800's. In general, Koalas are herbaceous and useually feed on eucalyptus leaves. There diet and lifestyle is very sedate, and koalas are not very active as a result. Trees that they feed on include the Allocasuarina, Callitris, Leptospermum, Acacia, and Melaleuca species. Generally speaking, they eat between 400 to 500 grams of foliage per day. They get little energy from their diet, and sleep for more than 20 hours a day. They have very little in the way of fat reserves, and they adapt to their lifestyle behaviorally as a result. They will curl up into a ball on cold or wet day to conserve energy, and usually rest on lower thicker branches that do not move in the wind. Aside their diet and lifestyle; Koalas have a large cultural significance in Australia. There influence in Australia; and internationally, as a cultural icon is noted as of great importance to the national tourism image of Australia, but also they have played a large role in spreading awareness about environmental issues and conservation.