Koala hits the water to escape heat

Animals try to cool down as heatwave fires up

BEACHES, riverbanks and lakes have quickly become a mecca of salvation as soaring temperatures continue to break records across the country.

And not just for those who walk on two-feet.

Australia's wildlife has been flocking to waterways to cool down as the mercury soars to almost 50C in some parts of the country.

In regional New South Wales, a koala was filmed hanging out by a river as temperatures hit 42C in Narrandera.

In the video, the koala had no problem mingling with holiday-makers for a chance relax on the cool sand and have a drink.

"We were having breakfast and the koala came down from a tree right beside where we were setup and it stood there looking at us for a while then walked to the river and stood and sat there," Camerman Grant Higginson told Storyful.

"Hung around for maybe half an hour before strutting off to another tree."

Meanwhile, grey-headed flying foxes were spotted dive-bombing into the Torren River to get relief from the afternoon heat of Adelaide.

Pam Whetnall, who witnessed the event, said she felt like "a desiccated husk" after watching them cool off for an hour.

But when the going gets tough, sometimes you need a helping hand, and that's exactly what a couple did when they found a distressed possum in their Canberra shed.

Griffith resident Murray O'Hanlon offered the marsupial a drink and a piece of fruit after finding it lying on its back.

In footage of the incident, the possum heartily slurps away at the refreshing drink before nibbling at the fruit on the roof in the shade of a tree.

However, there seems to be no reprieve for our wildlife, or even ourselves, with forecasters predicting the worst is still to come in this summer's heatwave.

New South Wales is likely to be particularly badly hit with the mercury climbing today and the peak of the blistering temperatures coming on Friday when parts of Sydney could touch 45C.

While south-east Queensland will continue its runs of sunny days with temperatures expected to hit the low 30s.