You’ve all looked at pictures of koalas.  Some people are even lucky enough to have actually seen or held a koala.  These slow moving, furry, silver gray to chocolate brown marsupials are usually found up in the branches of Eucalyptus trees, chewing on their favorite diet of Gum leaves. 

If you think "drab and boring" when someone says "koala" have I got news for you!  Grab some popcorn, get comfortable and prepare yourself for the coolest koalas you have ever seen!

The animals you will see in this article are anything but silver or brown and can be found scattered throughout Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia.  But if you want to see them you will have to hurry because they will only be on display for a few months.

HelloKoalasCredit: Regional Arts NSW

Some Background Information

I discovered these colorful koalas on a recent visit to Port Macquarie and, intrigued, I did a bit of research.

 It turns out that they are the result of something called the “Hello Koalas” project[1].  This project was set up to celebrate koalas as one of Australia’s iconic animals and to help raise money for the Port Macquarie Koala hospital.  This hospital is apparently the first facility in the world that is solely dedicated to the care and conservation of these shy, slow moving animals. 

 The vividly painted figures are made out of fiberglass[2].  Each individual koala has been hand-decorated and the effect is stunning.  They may be inanimate objects, but they are brimming with life.

 Apparently there are 50 of these sculptures scattered around the area, but I could only find about 6 of the fiberglass koalas.  They are individually designed and hand-painted by celebrity artists, professional artists and community groups.  Information about the designer can be found at the base of each sculpture.

 If you want to see them for yourself you will have to be relatively quick.  This public Koala sculpture trail opened in September 2014 and closes in December of 2015.  The social media tag is #hellokoalas.

MY FAVORITES

Here are my favorites.  For some of the sculptures I have tried to show their front and back so you can see the intricate detail.  

Starry Soul

This sculpture is called "Starry Soul".  It was created by Goya Torres[3] and has a lovely, celestial feel to it. 

Starry Soul - FrontCredit: Teleranya - 2014Starry Soul - BackCredit: Teleranya - 2014

Scoop

This next beautifully decorated koala is "Scoop" by Rebekah Brown[4].  It is a celebration of the culture of Port Macquarie and all the elements that make this area such a special place. 

Hello Koala - ScoopCredit: Teleranya - 2014

The Cyclist

Next up is "The Cyclist" by Suzanne Fischer[5].  This slightly sassy figure reminds me of all the lycra-clad cyclists that race along the roads in packs on a Sunday morning.  

Hello Koalas - The CyclistCredit: Teleranya - 2014

 Koalatron

Koalatron by Joel Cameron[6] is one of the more unusual sculptures.  I love the detail of the gears on chest and back.  It reminds me of some of the more creative steam punk sculptures I have seen in my travels.

Hello Koalas - Koalatron - FrontCredit: Teleranya - 2014

 

Hello Koalas - Koalatron - BackCredit: Teleranya - 2014

 Celtic Koala

The colors in this next sculpture might not stand out as much, but "Celtic Koala by Yvonne Kiely[7] is still one of my favorites.

Hello Koala - Celtic KoalaCredit: Teleranya - 2014

Carramar 

My final choice is Carramar by Elise Howard[8].  She explains her choice of names; “Carramar is the Birpai name for shade of trees which is appropriate because that is where you will usually find Koalas.”

Hello Koalas - Carramar - FrontCredit: Teleranya - 2014

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the cool koalas I discovered when I was exploring Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia.  Remember, this series of sculptures is only on display until December 2015.  See how many you can find!

 

 

There are many hidden treasures in Eastern Australia. This book will help you find them

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Recommended Reading

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