About Araucaria Wildlife Sanctuary

Araucaria Sanctuary is 100 acres of privately-owned land located in Northern NSW.  Our long-term vision is to create a rich and biodiverse carbon-positive ecosystem, forming a haven for existing and released wildlife and supporting population increases in threatened fauna and flora species.

Araucaria is ideally suited for soft release of wildlife, with permanent creeks, dams and a range of vegetative areas.  Alongside our animal care we are focused on bush regeneration and land care. 

Araucaria Sanctuary is listed with Humane Society International's Wildlife Lands Trust and is available for short-term visits through Help-X

Photo: Ruby, one of our first Red-necked wallabies released in 2012 - and one of our many grand-joeys. 

Our Name

Araucaria is the name of a genus of cone-bearing trees. Araucaria cunninghamii – the Hoop Pine – is a dominant tree on our Sanctuary. Rock Valley was historically noted for the prevalence of Hoop Pines prior to timber felling and there are some enormous remnant trees on our land that would be hundreds of years old.

The Hoop Pines are a key food for the enormous Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) who regularly and brazenly screech their way across the valley – at times choosing to fell saplings for a meal of wood-boring grubs. 

The Hoop Pines hold particular significance for us. When we first moved to this land more than 25 years ago we were captivated by the magic of the Hoop pines rising magestically from the valley through the billowing morning mist. We have planted many more trees since, and have delighted in those that self-seed in nooks and crannies.

Our Custodians

Rock Valley is part of the Bundjalung Tribal Lands. The Bundjalung name for Rock Valley was "Durrigan" or Hanging Rock Valley and was Wiyabal territory (A.A. Leycester of Tunstall from Olley, W. The Spriit of the Valley)

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Araucaria Wildlife Sanctuary is currently owned, managed and cared for by Don Metcalfe and Renata Phelps. As members of WIRES Northern Rivers we particularly specialise in the rescue and care of marsupials, with a focus on macropods, possums, gliders and other small mammals. We are also members of Friends of the Koala and Jiggi Landcare. 

Our Helpers

We also have many helpers, both local and visitors from overseas visitors, who assist us. We thank all of them for their support. Without them we couldn't save as many little lives as we do. Just some of the wonderful people who currently help, or have helped us over the years...

Many thanks for bush regeneration assistance from:


Daniel Riordan from Forests First. 

Dan has been helping to do heaps of landcare and weed control at Araucaria over the past couple of years, including as part of some of our funded projects. 

Philippe Binetruy (pictured right) and his team

Julie Reid - Jiggi Landcare - for all her advice, mentoring and grant assistance

Our Affiliations and Supporters
Jiggi Landcare

We are active members and licensed carers with WIRES Northern Rivers and are also members and rescuers with Friends of the Koala. Our Sanctuary is listed with Humane Society International's Wildlife Land Trust.
Our involvement with Jiggi Landcare has helped us learn more about the flora of our area, and has assisted us to apply for grants to support our regeneration work. 

We have been fortunate and grateful to have secured a number of grants in recent years to assist us with our activities.

In 2021 we partnered with Conservation Volunteers Australia and were supported to plant 1200+ trees with a grant from NRMA. We will be involved in hosting some workshops and monitoring wildlife with camera footage.  Huge thanks to Shae and Kelly for all their energy and dedication. 

In 2018/19 we received a grant from Lismore City Council through the Rural Landholders Initiative. This enabled us to get assistance to do weed control in our riparian zone.  

Our Sanctuary is registered with Humane Society International's Wildlife Lands Trust. 

We have received funding through the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust and the Federally funded National Landcare Program (with a focus on controlling and containing Weeds of National Significance in riparian habitat known to contain threatened species).

We are now, also, a Land for Wildlife property...

Araucaria Wildlife Sanctuary

AND we are currently in the process of applying for an in-perpetuity conservation agreement under our Conservation Partners Program.

Our Logo
Araucaria Wildlife Sanctuary Logo

Our logo was designed for us by Abi Andrews, and captures the essence of our sanctuary... with wallabies, gliders and our stately Hoop Pines. 

If you have an animal that needs rescuing, please contact WIRES on 1300 094 737.


Rock Valley
NSW, Australia, 2480


[email protected]
Phone: +61-2-66293226

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