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Monday, May 19, 2014

Experience Nature in a Different Way - 'Voluntour' in Victoria

The abundant terrain of nature and wildlife surrounding Melbourne makes it easy for nature lovers to discover Victoria's diverse natural environment.

Providing an ideal setting for eco-adventures, Victoria's exciting series of voluntourism experiences gives visitors the opportunity to encounter and connect with local wildlife whilst relishing in the natural beauties and landscapes the state has to offer.

Experiences include working alongside park rangers to monitor threatened species; planting trees on the iconic Great Ocean Road; close up encounters with wildlife such as tiger quolls, penguins, owls, koalas, kangaroos and more.

A selection of new group holiday experiences from Naturewise Eco Escapes allows participants to not only experience some of Victoria's most amazing locations but to also make a personal contribution to the conservation of the state's natural assets.

Visitors can choose from an array of nature-based tourism experiences to immerse themselves in the natural diversity of the state through various learning and ecotourism experiences. Developed in Victoria in partnership betweenConservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria, the tours showcase the beauty of the state's natural assets whilst contributing to its conservation outcomes and regional tourism growth.

The all-inclusive packages range from day trips to four-day adventures, with various levels of conservation activity, catering to different types of travellers. Participants can work alongside Parks Victoria Rangers and specialist researchers to support cutting edge research activities including remote camera monitoring work, bird research, animal trapping and spotlight surveys.

The new Naturewise Eco Escapes include two different styles of day trips to the Woodlands – just 20min north of Melbourne - where participants can help save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction. 

There is also a two-day 'Kinglake Conservation' trip which provides a great opportunity for participants to work on fauna recovery efforts in Kinglake National Park following the devastating bushfires in 2009.

Also available are four-day experiences in the Grampians, the Glenelg region and Little Desert National Park which offer amazing walks amongst spectacular scenery, rich cultural assets, and hands-on conservation work.

Teaming up with the good folk at the Cape Otway's Conservation Ecology CentreConservation Volunteers Australia have a program available where volunteers can help save the endangered Tiger Quolls living in the Otway's National Forest located on the iconic Great Ocean Road. Participants assist with the collection of DNA for analysis, undertake practical work in the Great Otway National Park including track maintenance and bush regeneration activities and go on a guided cultural tour with a Parks Victoria ranger to learn about both the indigenous and post-settlement history of the area.

Available directly through the Cape Otway's Conservation Ecology Centre is theTiger Quoll Conservation Experience.

Volunteers have the chance to conduct fieldwork through the wild Otways during quoll breeding season alongside rangers, partake in DNA collection for analysis, get involved in habitat restoration to play a vital role in this wildlife rescue mission that will ensure a future for the endangered Tiger Quolls. Guests can choose from three and six day fully-escorted packages focussing on conserving some of Australia's most beloved native animals - with the added benefitto this program is being able to stay at the property's award-winningGreat Ocean Ecolodge,.

Another three and six day package experience that includes staying at the Great Ocean Ecolodge is the  Koala Conservation Experience. Guests can venture into the Australia bush with the Conservation Ecology Centre's conservation team to participate in inspiring fieldwork, learn about koala and woodland ecology, gain skills in survey techniques and assist with the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned koalas.

Wildlife tour operators Echidna Walkabout host the interactive voluntourism programs: a one-day Koalas & Kangaroos in the Wild) (in the You Yangs, just 45min west of Melbourne) and a four-day Wildlife Conservation Journey (three hours east in Gippsland). Visitors can partake in important project research around Victoria while spotting wild koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and birds in their natural habitats - and help record their wildlife sightings and the behaviour of koalas as well as assist with keeping habitats healthy by hand-pulling the invasive weed Boneseed, or by removing fishing nets from ocean beaches.

For more information on voluntourism opportunities in Victoria visit Conservation Volunteers Australia.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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