Best of 2016: Get a dose of the best feel-good stories of the year.

“I don’t watch the news, because it’s too depressing.” Sound familiar?

Yes, 2016 was a pretty bad year all around, but you might just need a dose of good news in time for the festive season.

So here’s our pick of the year’s most heartening stories — get ready to feel warm and fuzzy.

Baby koala Louise rescued after wild storms.

Louise the infant koala — a squeaking, wet, grey bundle of fur found on the ground after the east coast storms — became a symbol of hope after wild weather hit Australia’s east coast in June.

The storm cell brought tragedy and tears to many who lost loved ones, livelihoods, and homes, but when the iconic little Australia was rescued — and named after rescuer Louise Haynes — her fate was soon being followed by thousands of fans on social media.

Making music for those who can’t hear.

Amber Galloway Gallego is not your everyday American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter — she specialises in the interpretation of music, in real time and in front of thousands of people.

Ms Galloway Gallego has performed at more than 400 concerts, interpreting a stunning array of artists over the years including Kendrick Lamar, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and The Black Keys.

Love story captures hearts around globe.

Taylor Anderton and Michael Cox, who were both born with Down syndrome, have known each other for six years and been a serious couple since last year.

When Michael partnered Taylor at the 16th Gold Coast Debutante Ball for Disability, they had already decided they would spend the rest of their lives together  — and our video of their love story has had more than 13 million views on social media.

Indigenous medical grad to head home.

Vinka Barunga was one of six Aboriginal medical students to graduate from the University of Western Australia this year — and now she hopes to return to her home in a remote part of the state to become the town’s first Indigenous doctor.

“I hope that one day it gets to a point where it’s not a significant thing that an Aboriginal person is studying medicine,” said Ms Barunga, who grew up on the outskirts of the Kimberley town of Derby.


A fresh take on things.

Disgruntled over the price of a lime, two Queensland locals started Australia’s first integrated, edible streetscape in a bid to live a simple organic lifestyle of community and fresh food.

And what began with one citrus-lined street is now an 11-street suburban enclave, paved with seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, that encourages growing, sourcing and eating fresh food in the public realm.

Australia’s most eclectic fashionista.

Dee Goldberg’s flamboyant garments may not have been paraded on the runway yet, but her unique passion for fashion has long been turning heads.

The 61-year-old, who was born into a conservative family in South Africa, only found her individual style when she was in her 40s after working in finance for 14 years.

When it comes to clothes, her motto is “more is more”.

Young teddy bear maker wins hearts.

A bedroom that resembles a sewing room may not be a dream set-up for most pre-teen boys, but Campbell Remess is not like most 12-year-olds.

The boy from Hobart makes teddy bears for sick children and he captured the hearts of millions around the world after a video about his good deeds went viral.

‘Bloody awesome’ mobile shower van for homeless.

The Brisbane duo famous for launching the world’s first free mobile laundry for the homeless launched their second charitable venture in June — a shower van.

The van, built from scratch by Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett of Orange Sky — means homeless people will have access to a free hot shower every day.

The shower van was trialled in Brisbane earlier this year and, with the help of the Victoria-based Shine On Foundation, has since permanently set up in Melbourne.

Dave ‘Bushie’ Brum, who has lived on the streets for more than 20 years, said it was “bloody awesome … to have a real shower”.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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