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Secret Creek Sanctuary is situated in an idyllic setting just 2 minutes drive from the centre of Lithgow on the edge of the Blue Mountains but it feels like you are miles away from civilisation.

The sanctuary was set up to provide a feral proof enclosure where endangered native species are protected from predation. The sanctuary aims to show visitors what Australia used to look like prior to European settlement with most species previously endemic to the area. 

The sanctuary is best known for the reintroduction of the Eastern Quoll to NSW in 2001. Now also home to Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, Potoroos, Bettongs, Tasmanian Devils, Tiger quolls, dingoes and soon koalas and Mountain Pygmy Possums.

 What’s in store for 2024 at Secret Creek

2024 marks 20 years of operation for Secret Creek! (incredible, we know!) Over the years we have operated with different styles of service and for the past few years, post Covid, we have run predominantly as a function and events venue, both for in house and private events. That’s about to change! But before we get to that, we need to tell you what we’ve been up to.

Some of you may remember that a couple of months before Covid hit, we were hit by the late 2019/early 2020 bushfires. Fun year! Two fire fronts converged in the one day. We managed to save all of the animals and main buildings, but lost infrastructure like fencing, water pipelines and some sheds and other equipment. Later that year, under the NSW State Government’s Regional Bushfire Recovery Grant scheme, our not-for-profit AEFI was successful in securing funding for two major projects. We’ve been working on these since!



​The plan for our new Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre was developed following the devastating 2019/20 bushfires in which more than three billion animals – mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs – were killed or displaced (143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs) (Source: Australia’s 2019-2020 Bushfires: The Wildlife Toll, commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature). Many animals in the local area suffered the same fate. All of the rescue, rehabilitation and release activity during the bushfires had to be sourced from other areas of NSW. Due to this lack of veterinary wildlife expertise, support and resources locally, we’ve seen the need for a dedicated wildlife hospital.  

The Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre will serve the Blue Mountains and Central West region, which are surrounded by six NSW National Parks providing habitat to a variety of endangered and rare species requiring support in times of natural disasters. 

This includes Blue Mountains National Park, Wollemi National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Marrangarroo National Park, Turon National Park, and Gardens of Stone National Park. Within the region are also a variety of endangered species requiring protection, a couple of these include Spotted-Tail Quolls (Dasyurus maculatus), Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies (Petrogale penicillata), Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis), and the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia).

We are collaborating with Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH) and their staff on the design function and fit-out requirements. BBWH will be the operational managers that will collaborate and partner with AEFI & Secret Creek Sanctuary to carry out rescue and rehabilitation work. The fully fenced, predator-free Sanctuary as well as the 1000—acre AEFI property on the Newnes Plateau will provide opportunities for release.

This project is nearing completion!



Our new Cultural & Visitor Centre will become the new welcoming entry into Secret Creek Sanctuary. On the ground floor there will be a retail space for local artists and producers and displays for environmental education.

Upstairs will be an Aboriginal Cultural Centre for the Indigenous group One Mob. This project also aims to create jobs and opportunities for education for the local community as well as engaging local Indigenous artists to either sell their artwork or educate local and regional youth around art, song, dance and language.

This project is also nearing completion, with the final internal fitout happening over the next couple of months!​



Once the new visitors centre is finished and open, the sanctuary will be open 7 days. (We will likely trial Thursday-Sunday hours through winter but we’ll keep you updated once opening day is near!)

We have been working on interpretive signage and a new walking track throughout the whole sanctuary so that you can walk through on your own, at your own pace and spend some time here. We will host special events like education sessions and animal feedings daily as well as more niche events like workshops and other ways to get involved monthly.

The cafe will return to a more casual style eatery, open whenever the sanctuary is open, for lunches, light snacks, treats and drinks. We’ll host special dinners on occasion too. We also hope to be able to bring back a more permanent and sustainable iteration of our popular Friday free ‘Family Meal’ that we hosted last year. We will look to partner with other local food organisations to further expand offerings that socialise food sharing and help with local food insecurity.

You will need to enter the sanctuary to come to the cafe and there will now be an entry fee for the sanctuary. However, we will have a members club for locals that want to be able to visit the cafe more often, giving you free entry for the year as well as other perks and discounts, tickets to special events and more.

All of these changes mean that after 2024, we will no longer be hosting weddings on site at Secret Creek. Sad, we know. We have so loved sharing such important memories with so many families over the years. We hope to see all of our old couples and their families coming back to visit! 



Australian Ecosystems Foundation is a not-for-profit registered environmental organisation dedicated to saving Australian wildlife by protecting habitats and maintaining natural ecological processes.

The AEFI Management Committee is made up of a variety of industry representatives including conservation biologists, tourist operators, research scientists, accountants, public servants, Indigenous teachers, farmers and business executives.  This combination allows AEFI to manage tis reserves and wildlife with a broad range of experiences, skills and knowledge on hand.


We manage or assist in the management of important habitats to ensure that the wildlife within is protected.  We are involved in the management of over 3000 hectares of land as well as conducting research and captive breeding to improve the future for Australian endangered wildlife.


We currently reach thousands of Australians and internationals who want to help save Australian wildlife, and our reach is rapidly building. With your help, we will continue grow and protect endangered ecosystems and wildlife across Australia.


We work with a range of partners to educate, inform and conserve. This includes government agencies, universities, and volunteer and community groups. By working together with other organisations we can share expertise and resources to increase the effectiveness of our conservation work, and it's sustainability.

For more information on our projects go to

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