Ever since 1770 when Captain Cook first discovered the Glass House Mountains, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia has been famous because of its spectacular surroundings, including magnificent beaches and world renowned Sunshine Coast accommodation. One of the first things visitors notice when they arrive on the Sunshine Coast, are the fantastic coastal views, top class surfing opportunities, great fishing, or just plain bush walking. It simply cannot be denied that the Sunshine Coast is by all accounts a major tourist hub, partly because of the presence of Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, the Big Pineapple, the Majestic Theatre, and of course, Underwater World Marine Park.
The area general is also home to several natural parks and sanctuaries, bearing in mind that the biodiversity of the area has enjoyed a high level of protection here from five separate parks, namely: Mapleton Falls National Park, Kondalilla National Park, The Glasshouse Mountains National Park, Noosa National Park, and the Great Sandy National Park, which includes sections on Fraser Island and in Cooloola near Rainbow Beach.
Unfortunately however, the Sunshine Coast region is on the brink of experiencing a huge ecological disaster, in that it is believed that the koala population may very well be heading towards depletion unless some drastic measures are taken in order to prevent any further decline in their numbers. In the not too distant past, it was estimated that there were approximately 20,000 koalas, and yet in a recent survey which lasted for eight days, not a single koala was spotted on the Sunshine Coast.
It’s hardly surprising then that so many nature conservationists have issued warnings relating to the possible extinction of the koalas within the next 30 years. A similar decline in numbers has also been observed in southeast Queensland, according to recent figures which were released by the government. That’s right, just as many of us are fascinated with dinosaurs, it may not be long before people are fascinated with the fact that koalas once lived on this planet. If like so many others you would really like to have an opportunity to see koalas living in nature, you had better book your Sunshine Coast holiday before it’s too late.
Is it possible for tourism to help reverse this impending disaster? Of course, many would argue that the situation could’ve been avoided in the first place had it not been for over-development in the region, but one should also bear in mind that nature reserves and natural habitats can in many cases be afforded protection by channeling money to them which comes from echo tourism. Additionally, tourism can help to raise the status of koalas, and of course if there is more awareness of the plight of the koala, politicians may be pressured into doing more to save them.
Interestingly enough, years and years of research has shown beyond all doubt that a great number of tourists who come to Australia do so because of their interest in Australia’s wildlife. As you can no doubt imagine, most tourists enjoy having an opportunity to see koalas living in nature rather than seeing them in a zoo. Also, the species has become closely associated with Australia’s image, largely because tourist information usually includes mention of koalas. According to experts, if the koala population continues declining it’s very likely to have a negative impact on the international tourism to the region.
If you’re thinking of having a Sunshine Coast holiday and you’re determined to see koalas, then you’ll be glad to know that they can be seen in Noosa National Park. However, because sightings are usually few and far between you will need to have some patience. Currently, Australia Zoo is the only place that can guarantee you a chance to see koala.
The images on this page are from the book “Koala Kingdom” by Eddie Alfaro. For more info about the book, click here.