Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project

SH koala project - image of Koala sitting in tree. Image credit Patrick Tegart.

Koalas (Guula) in the Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands is home to an estimated 3,000 koalas, which is 10% of the NSW Koala population. 

The Southern Highlands has a long history with Koalas: the Gundungurra Traditional Owners call Koalas “Guula” and the first recorded sighting of a koala by a European was in Bargo in 1798. The Southern Highlands Koala population virtually disappeared during the 20th century, due to a deadly combination of habitat clearing, hunting for the fur trade, and drought. 

The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project is working to ensure that our Koalas are surviving and thriving in the wild. The project is addressing six main issues to protect Koalas and their habitat in the long term:

  1. Private land conservation
  2. Habitat restoration
  3. Fire management
  4. Road kill
  5. Population monitoring
  6. Supporting Koala carers

The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project is proudly supported by the NSW Government’s Saving our Species Program and Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Environment Levy.


Where are the best places to see Koalas in the Southern Highlands?

Koalas are notoriously hard to find because they are so good at camouflaging into the tree canopy. Our research shows that almost all bushland in the Wingecarribee Shire is Koala habitat. If you want to see Koalas in the Southern Highlands, we recommend that you try your luck at:

  • Mansfield Reserve, East Bowral
  • Guula Ngurra National Park – Mount Penang Walk

If you do see a koala, make sure you report it to the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project. 

Koala Spotter App:

Call the Koala Hotline: 02 4868 0888


How Can You Help Koalas?

Look after Koala habitat at home

If you have bushland at home, you can protect the koala habitat on your property by joining the Land for Wildlife program (need more than 0.5 hectares of bush) or signing up to the Conservation Partners Program with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (need at least 20 hectares of bushland).

Get in touch via the rural landholder Koala interest form if you want to know more:

Rural Landholder Koala Conservation Interest Form 

Plant Koala Habitat

Incorporating Koala habitat trees into your property is a great way to create new Koala habitat and potentially connect existing patches of koala habitat together. 

You can buy local provenance Koala habitat seedlings from Wariapendi Nursery in Colo Vale – these seedlings are grown from seed collected by the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project and a portion of the price of each seedling sold goes to supporting local Koala carers.

If you don’t have anywhere to plant koala habitat at your place you can volunteer with one of Wingecarribee’s bushcare groups.

Koala habitat planting guides

Revegetating Koala Habitat – Central Coast Koala Management Area

Wingecarribee version – coming soon!

Become a Citizen Scientist

All Koala records are Since 2014 we have had more than 350 community sightings of Koalas reported to the Southern Highlands Koala Project. All community records are uploaded to the NSW BioNet – the official wildlife atlas for NSW.

Report your koala sightings using one of the following methods:

Koala Spotter App 

Call the Koala Hotline: 02 4868 0888 

Report injured or distressed koalas to Wildlife Carers

If you see a koala that is injured or in distress on the ground, then call either:

Wildlife Rescue South Coast Inc: 0418 427 214

WIRES: 1300 094 737


Koala Karaoke Party

The Koala Karaoke Party was held in September 2021. Join guest host, Julia Zemiro, and the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project to learn more about Southern Highlands koalas!


Biodiversity Conservation Projects in the Shire

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