Here’s 6 thought provoking holiday ideas that can help you — and your family and friends — make a positive investment in the future of Australia’s unique wildlife.
After the pandemic lockdowns many Australians have a pent up desire to help save wildlife that was lost in the 2019-20 wildfires. We saw the unforgettable footage showing the carnage in our forests but we couldn’t do anything to help.
Even away from the wildfires marsupials like the beautiful little Wilkins Rock-wallaby (our feature photo) are declining in numbers due to climate change.
So for Christmas this year why not consider buying yourself a tour that gives back to wildlife in 2022?
Here’s our best picks for 2022 (shortest to longest)
#1 : Koala Recovery Experience – 2,3 or 4 days
The name says it all. Unlike the other 5 trips this one is aimed at people who want to get down and dirty to help koalas. It’s a no nonsense experience with 3 options.
Participants in the Koala Recovery Experience will plant koala trees in the places koalas need them. They’ll engage with local landowners, community members and help educate others about the importance of koalas.
You’ll be part of the legendary Koala Clancy Foundation team that’s planted 60,000 trees for koalas. You’ll meet lots of other like minded people, give back to koalas and feel great!
KOALA RECOVERY DETAILS
Operator: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, Koala Clancy Foundation
Locations: one near Melbourne and one in eastern Victoria
See the full tour: Koala Recovery Experience
Koala Conservation program, monitoring koala movements, planting trees on private property, tending planting sites.
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 2,3 0r 4 days | Time of year: Winter & Spring (see dates on website) | Style: Shared touring | Group size: minimum 4 adults | Accommodation: on request | Activity level: moderate, lots of physical work | Departs/Returns: Melbourne/Melbourne | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, meals, accommodation
#2 : Wildlife Journey – 4 days
East Gippsland in eastern Victoria was hit hard by the bushfires. None of us will forget the scenes that came out of the tiny township of Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Yet there are many areas of the region still acting as natural sanctuaries for wildlife especially in and around the townships of Orbost, Cann River and Mallacoota itself.
For over 15 years Echidna Walkabout has been operating its conservation-based Wildlife Journey into East Gippsland. Following the fires they redesigned the trip to give participants even more opportunities to not only enjoy the wildlife of East Gippsland (and there’s lots of it) but to also help it recover.
Koala Conservation program (Raymond Island), wildlife listing (part of ongoing bushfire recovery monitoring), ghost net removal from ocean beaches
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 4 days – 3 nights| Time of year: September through May | Style: Shared or private touring | Group size: maximum 8 | Accommodation: 3 nights in 4 star B&B | Activity level: Vehicle-based and numerous easy walks | Departs/Returns: Melbourne/Melbourne | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, meals, accommodation
#3 : Mungo Outback & Conservation Journey – 6 days
Australian Geographic Travel recently teamed up with tour operators across Australia to provide high quality nature-based touring. Their Mungo trip immediately became a hit with Australians becuase it travels to the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, the “heartland” of Australia’s Aboriginal and wildlife heritage.
On this trip you will learn about the world’s oldest human burials and see evidence of the remarkable megafauna that preceded our current wildlife.
Wildlife conservation in the arid zones is becoming increasingly important due to the impacts of climate change and land clearing. This tour adds to our knowledge of what’s happening to our desert wildlife.
Even after the tour you can remain involved as the tour organisers use online photo and wildlife monitoring tools that are shared with you as part of the trip.
A special report on the trip’s findings is circulated to all participants post trip.
This is a remarkable, achievable and giving back to wildlife experience.
Operator: Australian Geographic Travel & Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Location: south-west New South Wales and north-west Victoria
See the full tour: Mungo Outback & Conservation Journey
Climate Change research, bird and wildlife surveys, monitoring water availability
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 6 days – 5 nights | Time of year: Set departures in March, April, May & June 2022 | Style: Shared small group | Group size: maximum 14 | Accommodation: Mildura hotel (2 nights) and Mungo Lodge (3 nights) | Activity level: Vehicle-based and numerous walks | Departs/Returns: Mildura/Mildura | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, meals, accommodation
#4 : Spot-tailed Quoll research, bird & wildlife surveys – 4 days (1 day optional add-on to the Great Barrier Reef)
Tropical far north Queensland contains the oldest rainforests in the world plus, surprisingly, rich tropical grasslands and woodlands.
On this trip you’ll get a taste of these unique ecosystems including exclusive access to the Forever Wild Tropical Wetlands Shared Earth Reserve, a landscape of old growth savannah woodlands, lakes, swamps and creeks.
This trip includes behind the scenes access to a significant conservation program where you’ll work to conserve one of the world’s rarest and most endangered carnivores – the Spot-tailed Quoll.
You can extend your trip out to the Great Barrier Reef by adding a 5th day.
QUOLL RESEARCH DETAILS
Operator: FNQ Nature Tours, Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Location: Cairns, Daintree National Park, Shared Earth Reserve, Far north Queensland
See the full tour: Spot-tailed Quoll research, bird & wildlife surveys
Spotted-tail Quoll Survey: Working alongside and assisting scientists understand the conservation needs of these endangered native Australian carnivores.
Bird and wildlife surveys for citizen science atlassing
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 4 days – 3 nights | Time of year: 15th-18th March and 6th-9th September | Style: Shared small group | Group size: maximum 6 | Accommodation: high quality rainforest eco-lodge style | Activity level: Vehicle, easy walks and 2 river cruises | Departs/Returns: Cairns/Cairns | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, river cruises, meals, accommodation
Great Barrier Reef add-on: 1 day
#5 : Wild Top End – 7 days (4 day optional add-on to the Katherine Bird Festival)
Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s most astounding wildlife destinations. Located in our tropical outback, Kakadu is also home to Aboriginal people to whom English is a second language to their own languages (Kundjeyhmi, Kunwinjku and Jawoyn). At almost 20,000 square kilometres Kakadu was, until recently, Australia’s largest national park
This tour travels not only to the escarpments of Kakadu but also to the massive wetlands of Mary River National Park thereby capturing a exceptionally broad representation of the wildlife of the tropical Top End. (Enjoy Kakadu : 5 best tips)
Darwin itself has some incredible wildlife experiences — both within and near to the city — that should not be missed.
A natural add-on to this trip is the Katherine Bird Festival. (see: 5 reasons to learn birds at the Katherine Bird Festival)
WILD TOP END DETAILS
Operator: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, Australian Geographic Travel
Location: Darwin, Kakadu and Mary River National Parks, Northern Territory
See the full tour: Wild Top End
Shorebird (wader) count to record these threatened birds and share information with local Birdlife Australia representatives, listing and sharing of all wildlife sightings on the tour including changes in environment, atlassing of all information gained for citizen science
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 7 days – 6 nights | Time of year: 30th August to 5th September 2022 | Style: Shared small group | Group size: maximum 10 | Accommodation: 3 nights in Kakadu and 2 nights in Mary River | Activity level: Vehicle, walking and crocodile boat cruise | Departs/Returns: Darwin/Darwin | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, meals, accommodation (except first night in Darwin)
Katherine Bird Festival add-on: 4 days 8th to 11th September
#6 : Exmouth & Ningaloo – Island Birds & Whalesharks OR Humpbacks – 8 days
The Ningaloo World Heritage Area on the coast of Western Australia is an incredibly rich wildlife location — equal to the best in the world — with large seagoing mammals and fish, a barrier reef, white sand beaches and a backdrop of wild craggy ranges that contain some of Australia’s rarest plants and wildlife.
This tour is offered in three similar styles built around Whale Shark and Humpback whale migrations along the Western Australian coast. All three trips include wildlife monitoring on a nearby island, over Ningaloo reef and in Exmouth Gulf. Each trip spends one day snorkelling with either Whale Sharks or Humpback Whales. The June trip includes the possibility of interacting with both species.
Other than whales and whale sharks, there are excellent chances of seeing mantarays, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, sea snakes and much more.
Bird, fish and wildlife surveys on an Exmouth Gulf island, research and monitoring the rare Black-footed Rock Wallaby in the Cape Range National Park, support local environment organisations protecting Exmouth Gulf
Wildlife Guide: Yes | Duration: 8 days – 7 nights | Time of year: Set departures in March, June & September 2022 | Style: Shared small group | Group size: maximum 16 | Accommodation: Exmouth hotels | Activity level: Vehicle and water-based, numerous walks and snorkelling | Departs/Returns: Exmouth/Exmouth | Inclusions: conservation projects, transport, 4 extended sea-going boat trips, meals, accommodation
CONTACT and BOOKINGS INFORMATION
To find out more about how you can book your conservation holiday call (03) 9646 8249 or email Conservation Travel Australia
Discover other ways to use your holidays to help Australian wildlife