WHEN Lisa Warren saw a koala wander out of the scrub and on to the beach at Coolum, she thought she was seeing things.
And when the furry little fella jumped into Stumers Creek and began swimming towards the opposite bank, she realised she was witnessing something unusual.
What Ms Warren did not know at the time was that it was the first confirmed sighting of a koala in Coolum in at least 20 years.
Sadly, experts say it is unlikely he is a member of a previously unknown colony in the area and was most probably lost and looking for his family.
"I grew up in Coolum and have never seen or heard of koalas there, let alone down the beach," Ms Warren said.
"I don't know much about them but it worried me that he was somewhere he shouldn't have been.
"The nearest gum trees are on the other side of David Low Way and I realised then he would have to cross the busy road if he was looking for food.
"I am really worried about him and only hope people look out for him so he can get home safely."
Ms Warren captured the moment on her camera and contacted Ray and Murray Chambers at Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue in case the animal needed help.
"He didn't appear to be sick or anything, although he was a bit slow swimming across and his little ears kept disappearing below the water," she said.
"Once he hit the other side, he shook himself and wandered off. It was an amazing experience."
Ray Chambers said he had not heard of a koala being so far south of the well-documented Peregian Springs colony for a long time.
"There used to be koalas around Coolum many years ago but it's been 20 years since anyone had a confirmed sighting," he said.
"It would be nice to think there's a colony in the Coolum area, but it's unlikely.
"I would say he's probably one of the Peregian koalas who's drifted south. Maybe he's become lost or is looking for a mate.
"From the footage we saw, he looks healthy enough."
The Chambers visited Stumers Creek to look for the koala without any luck.
Mr Chambers said he was also concerned the koala would try to cross David Low Way to reach the handful of blue gums in the area.
He urged motorists to be careful and said anyone who saw the koala should not try to catch him but contact the rescue service.