A CHANCE meeting with a female koala and her baby was a momentous event for six visiting Japanese high school students from Lismore's sister city Yamato Takada.
Other memorable moments included tree planting at Lismore Botanic Gardens, lamington making, painting boomerangs, and, of course, enjoying a barbecue.
The students are staying with local Lismore families.
It was during a visit to Kadina High School on Monday when the resident koala and her baby took centre stage.
"So cute," was how student Aimii Hirabayashi described the experience.
Then it was off to the kitchen, where Aimii, friend Mei, alongside Kadina student Chloe Cassin got their hands thoroughly dirty constructing Australia's favourite treats, lamingtons.
They also paid a visit to the school's agricultural centre where they collected eggs and met lambs. And there was the souvenir gift, a white apron embroidered with a koala.
Kadina High and four other local primary schools have recently started sister school relationships with five Yamato Takada schools to build on the existing bonds between the towns.
Lismore holds a cherished place in Yamato Takada's heart - it was the first city to form an independent relationship with Japan after the war, way back in 1963. It started with fundraising for a kindergarten, back when Japan was still finding its feet. This week sees the 51st anniversary of the bond, now stronger than ever.
"They just have a great affection for Lismore," Lismore City Council's Andrew Weir, who volunteers his time to help the program, said.
"The sister school idea was to form a base so things can grow," Mr Weir said.
The group of students from Kadina High School hosting the Japanese visitors are planning to do the trip in reverse next year.