Tilgerry Habitat is a 9 hectare flora and fauna nature reserve, located at Tanilba Bay in the scenic Port Stephens region. It is home to koalas living in the wild, over 100 species of birds and a variety of bushland ecosystems which you can walk through. There is a family friendly boardwalk along the waterfront of Tanilba Bay and a myriad of paths and bridges through the rest of the reserve, to look for native wildlife in their natural habitats. It is completely run by volunteers and a donation to have a look around in greatly appreciated.
With such beautiful views and native wildlife to spot, it is a "must" for any nature-lover on their visit to the stunning, Port Stephens region.
Look for koalas as you walk along the family friendly boardwalk
My daughter and I visited Tilgerry Habitat in the autumn school holidays, to see if we could spot any koalas in the wild and explore a part of Port Stephens we hadn't been to before. We put the address (2E King Albert Ave, Tanilba Bay) into the GPS in the car and we were glad that we did, as the signage was quite small and it was tucked away off the main road out of Tanilba Bay. Even when you arrive, slow down when you see that you are close, as it is located on a small side road near the local primary school.
When you arrive, park your car and visit the Visitor Centre of the Tilgerry Habitat, to make your donation and pick up a map of the walks around the reserve. There is also a Sensory Trail map that you can pick up, as well as a full listing of orchard species to look out for as you walk around. My daughter and I also picked up a check-list of different birds species you could see along the way - which provided entertainment for our walk, as we ticked off each one we saw.
Stop at the Visitor Centre and pick up maps and look around the plant nursery, behind
As it was a warm day, the volunteer at the Visitor Centre suggested we take a walk along the shady boardwalk by the water and then we could choose to walk back the way we came, or take some of the walks inland back to the Visitor Centre and car park.
We followed the map back past the car park and down a pathway to the water. At the end, there was signage to announce the start of the Tanilba Bay Boardwalk, which was lined with towering trees. We were excited to begin our walk - the water was a spectacular shade of blue, the birds were actively chirping in the trees and we were particularly excited about discovering this natural gem, tucked away in Tanilba Bay!
The boardwalk was an easy, flat walk along the bay, with numbered seats along the way to simply sit and take in the view. We looked for koalas in the trees (although we didn't see any on our visit), birds to tick off our list and we read the signage along the way which described the different ecosystems in the bushland. The shade was welcome on a hot day and it was the perfect family friendly walk to enjoy with my school-age daughter.
When we got to the end, we walked out onto a viewing deck, with stunning scenery which took our breath away.
Walking out to the Viewing Deck overlooking Tanilba Bay
The path continues on a little further, or you can choose to walk inland starting from Casuarina Corner and walk through the pathways back to the Visitor Centre. On our visit however, we enjoyed the boardwalk so much, that we continued back the way we came. It wasn't a long walk, however we stopped many times to simply listen and look for birds, watch kayakers in the water, spot swans out on the bay and admire lizards sunning themselves on rocks. Although we didn't see koalas, we enjoyed the abundance of wildlife all around.
Tilgerry Habitat is a fascinating place to explore. If you are a "twitcher" you will enjoy the native birdlife, if you like to walk in the bushland you will enjoy the range of paths to take, and if you have kids, the boardwalk is the ideal length for kids to walk - with a chance of seeing a koala. If you are anything like us, you will be distracted by all the beauty of the walk, so remember...