The planning process to underpin the transformation of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital into a world-class tourist attraction is almost at the final concept stages.
A draft concept plan for the $6.25 million redevelopment includes a meandering walkway from which visitors can easily view the exhibit koalas as well as explore a gated walk-in enclosure.
Visitors will have different experiences along the way.
Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton said visitors could look forward to a fully immersive nature experience.
She said they would also get the benefit of education and experiencing the care of koalas.
The leaf cutting and preparation will become a feature under the plans, while the clinic will also be on display to visitors.
The visitor-facing area will be sympathetic to the natural bushland experience, while the back of house areas will have more practical surfaces and finishes.
Other components of the redevelopment plan include an open-air museum and storytelling area, 10 intensive care units, rehabilitation units, shop and training room.
Allen Jack+Cottier Architects developed the plans in close consultation with the project planning team.
The redevelopment will be funded through a $5 million grant from the state government and $1.25 million from the koala hospital.
Mrs Ashton said often the passion of the koala hospital team seemed to transfer to visitors so they left feeling passionate about the importance of koalas and how we all had a role to play to ensure their survival.
She believes that will be even more pronounced after the redevelopment.
The building tender is expected to be released by the end of the month with a tender evaluation panel to select the successful applicant.
Mrs Ashton said they were making good progress on the redevelopment planning given the amount of work involved.
Plans for the wild koala breeding program are also underway.
The breeding facility at Cowarra State Forest has reached the initial concept stage.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is working with its partners Taronga Zoo and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to progress the scientific licence to breed wild koalas.
The aim is to breed koalas with a high level of genetic diversity.
Juvenile koalas will be released into the wild to create new populations and bolster existing populations.
The generosity of supporters from around the world after the devastating bushfires allowed the koala hospital to fast-track the program.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's GoFundMe campaign, initially to buy and distribute wildlife drinking stations, was expanded to include the wild koala breeding program.
The campaign raised $7.9 million.
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