Going on a koala safari at Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley

I’ve had to travel all the way to a towering, anonymous eucalyptus forest, a pocket of greenery deep in the parched, colour-drained farmlands of southwest Queensland, to discover that you can tell a lot about a koala by staring at its buttocks.

But wait. Bear with me. It’s late afternoon and I’m staring straight up at an arboreal marsupial’s posterior, through borrowed binoculars, as part of a new conservation-based “koala safari” introduced by Spicers Hidden Vale Retreat, 34-room luxury resort built around an historic, 5000-hectare cattle station.