Announcement of the NSW Government’s $45 million package to protect the state’s threatened koala population is reason to celebrate, and the best place to party is at the Hello Koalas Festival! Held in spectacular Port Macquarie, on the NSW Mid North Coast, this is the world’s first festival dedicated specifically to Australia’s iconic koala, and is full of fun and entertainment for all ages from June 7-11.
It is based around the gold medal-winning Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, which combines art and environmental awareness in the form of 62 one-metre high individually hand-painted and themed koala sculptures, dotted around the beautiful and diverse Port Macquarie region. Will you be able to find them all? This is the festival’s second year, and it promises to be Abba-solutely fabulous, with Lady Lola the Dancing Koala – the newest addition to the Hello Koalas population – crowned its queen. And where would a dancing queen be without an Abba tribute band? Australia’s premier Abba tribute band MamaMia will perform all your favourites, including Ring Ring, SOS, Money Money Money, and of course Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. You can really get into the spirit by dressing up in your best ’70s and ’80s gear and enjoying a dance, with prizes to be won. Tickets are now available to the event at Panthers on Friday, June 8. Call (02) 6580 2300 or go to www.portmacquarie.panthers.com.au.
In a new event this year, the Hello Koalas Festival Cars and Coffee Meet and Family Fun Picnic will take place at Douglas Vale Historic Homestead and Vineyard on Sunday, June 10 from 8.30am-2.30pm. It’s just $5 to display your unique, colourful or classic car (or bike) with car-is-ma, and gold coin entry to a great day of live music from 9am, Devonshire teas, sausage-sizzle, koala face-painting, arts and crafts, as well as family games presented by NSW National Parks, with proceeds going to the Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie.
But that’s just the tip of the Koala Festival tree, with other events including a special koala-focused Foreshore Market on the banks of the Hastings River, Hello Koalas High Teas, a koala picnic, Melbourne City Ballet, Koala Hospital and Landcare farm gate tours, meet the artists and beyond. And for anyone really serious about koala conservation and the environment, the festival kicks off with the Caring for our Koalas and our Environment Conference from June 7-8, with expert speakers covering koala conservation, the latest research, environmental solutions, education programs and the draw of nature-based tourism.
It’s all waiting for you in Port Macquarie this June long weekend. For more details go to www.hellokoalas.com/festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 0416 641 482 or book your place at the Caring for our Koalas conference on Eventbrite.