PORT Macquarie's koalas are on the road and are turning heads in our nation's capital.
Throughout March, the 20 one-metre-tall Hello Koalas statues, each one uniquely decorated by local artists, will be scattered around Canberra's gardens.
The Australian National Botanical Gardens' visitor service coordinator Megan Donaldson said the installation was all part of the Carramar Koala Quest, aimed at helping to raise awareness of Australian plants and native wildlife.
One of the koalas, named Carramar, is named after the Indigenous Birpai word for "shade of tree" and is adorned with native Australian plants.
The koala display will help mark National Eucalypt Day on March 23, as well as events celebrating World Wildlife Day.
Hello Koalas project director Margret Meagher said people loved engaging with the statues.
"I've seen three-year-olds actually pick up a gum leaf or a branch and try to feed Ranger Riley something for lunch," Ms Meagher said.
"The engagement with koalas is very direct: eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose."
But she said she couldn't say which one was her favourite.
"It's like children. You can't say 'this is my favourite', you can think it but you can't say it," she said.
Six other koalas will stay elsewhere in Canberra, with two at the National Zoo, two at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, one at the Australian National University and one in the parliamentary triangle.
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