Michael and Michelle Reilly are the owners of Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers, a property situated in Boat Harbour, approximately 40km north of Newcastle, New South Wales. The property is an accommodation house and camp ground as well as a sanctuary and release site for rehabilitated wildlife. Michael and Michelle intend to maintain the property as a sanctuary for wildlife whilst improving habitat and educating visitors about native flora and fauna. The property is registered with Land for Wildlife, and Michelle has additionally been licensed with Hunter Wildlife Rescue for over 14 years.
The property covers approximately 2.1 hectares comprised of bushland and grassed recreation areas. Native vegetation consists of melaleuca forest and other temperate plant species. The owners are currently removing invasive weeds and replanting native species to support local wildlife on the property.
A range of native species are found on the property including koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums, gliders and various lizards including land mullets (Egernia major) and eastern blue-tongued lizards (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides). An abundance of birdlife is also present including laughing kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), magpies (Cracticus tibicen), tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) and powerful owls (Ninox strenua).