There's new life and hope at Billabong Zoo in Port Macquarie after a horrific year of trade hampered by drought, bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.
After three months of closure the zoo celebrated its reopening in June by showcasing four cuddly koala joeys and a lovable wallaby joey.
Billabong Zoo owner Mark Stone said the zoo's only koala joey, Mr Magoo, would now have to share visitors' attention with other young koalas and a baby wallaby.
"We had one koala joey before and now he has to share the spotlight. We decided to ramp up the koala program due to the challenges with the koala population in the wild," Mr Stone said.
"Internationally there will also be the opportunity to assist other zoos with koalas in the future because there is renewed focus on conserving koala populations."
Mr Stone said the zoo had survived through three months of closure during the coronavirus shutdown but is still at financial risk due to the disruptions earlier this year.
"We had a good week four and five of the school holidays at the start of the year which was our saving grace when we hit COVID-19 lockdowns," he said.
"This year has been absolutely devastating. I've never had to endure anything like that in my 40 years in the business, I went into a black hole which was quite deep and it was hard to see the other side.
"Luckily we had support from a few people and businesses including Janette Hyde who checked in regularly. We even had an offer of an interest free loan of $50,000 from a private pensioner, which was the turning point for me.
"Having the doors closed was a big hit but now is the time to brush ourselves off and try again.
"We have to get to Christmas and I'm hoping we get local support through the holidays to keep us afloat. We have got a long way to go and we are not out of the woods yet."
The zoo has already committed to extending its main entry building over the next four to six weeks. The new construction will house a restaurant with liquor licence and warming fire pit to cater for lunchtime visitors.