What better way to start or finish a day exploring the Great Ocean Road, with an easy walk next to your accommodation during which you can spot wild koalas! The koalas seamlessly blend into the grey/brown of the trees and seem to be unfazed by the constant swinging of the branches in the wind.
If you can’t get enough of the koalas, and would like to learn more from knowledgeable conservationist guides, you can book a tour at Wildlife Wonders sanctuary, just 15 minutes from Chocolate Gannets.
Fun facts about koalas
- Koalas eat only the leaves of a small number of types of eucalyptus trees
- Because the leaves are not very nutritious and are full of toxins, koalas sleep between 18-20 hours a day to conserve energy and digest the toxins
- Adult male koalas have a big brown patch in the middle of their chest (their scent gland to mark territory)
- Not a fun fact: Koala populations are declining because of habitat loss and threats from cats, dogs, foxes. Supporting initiatives like the Conservation Ecology Centre, through a tour at Wildlife Wonders for example, is a great way to help build knowledge, restore habitats and support threatened species.
Improving the habitat for wildlife at Chocolate Gannets
When Chocolate Gannets came into our care back in 2009, the area behind the villas was an uninviting overgrown scrub taken over by prickly blackberries and other weeds. As we prepared a comprehensive land management plan to best take care of the 100 acres Chocolate Gannets sits on, we realised that this area was key to improving the overall health and balance of the land and was also a great opportunity to showcase Australian native flora and fauna to our guests.
The Koala Track is thus part of a broader revegetation project in the land around Chocolate Gannets. We planted more than 2000 native Australian plants to increase the fauna, flora and insect biodiversity. A big thanks to our local Southern Otways Landcare Group for their amazing technical advice and for growing healthy baby plants for us to plant!
The general landscaping was done across two years, using upcycled railways sleepers for steps and benches, and we commissioned local Torquay artists to build a magnificent 2400mm sphere made of discarded railway pins.
We finished planting in early winter 2023, and can’t wait for the shrubs and trees to grow and show their full splendour.