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Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Behind the Scenes with Researchers: Koalas

Duration: Full Day: You Yangs

Type: Groups, Private Charter.

Interests: Land Mammals & Marsupials.

This tour provides an opportunity to take an active role in assisting with Koala conservation and research. Guests will travel with their expert guide and Koala researcher, to the bushland of You Yangs Regional Park, 45 minutes to the west of Melbourne. Upon arrival, the day will commence assisting your Koala Researcher to find wild Koalas in their natural habitats. Once found, each Koala is photographed, GPS located, their behaviour and tree species noted.

Most of the Koalas in the area are known to the researchers – some for many years – and all are part of Echidna Walkabout & Koala Clancy Foundation’s 20 year Koala Research Project. The results of this important study are provided to National Parks Rangers, Wildlife Carers, Hospitals & Veterinarians, Field Naturalists Clubs and Wildlife Scientists for the betterment of wild Koalas.

About Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours was founded by Roger Smith and Janine Duffy in 1993, with the vision to bring people and wildlife together for mutual benefit. The award-winning team believes that observing and connecting with wildlife is a key element in enriching the lives for people of all backgrounds; whether this interaction is for pleasure, new experiences and learning, for connection to the land or the basic needs for humans to breathe clean air and drink clean water via healthy ecosystems.

When guests travel with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, part of the trip involves travellers contributing to a project that actively helps wildlife.

Itinerary

Tour day-by-day

  • Full Day - Research & Conservation

    Guests will travel with their expert guide and Koala researcher, to the bushland of You Yangs Regional Park, 45 minutes to the west of Melbourne.

    In 1998, Echidna Walkabout Nature Tour's co-founder Janine Duffy, discovered a revolutionary method of identifying individual koalas by their natural nose markings. That discovery launched a non-intrusive wild Koala research project that continues to this day. Since then, every wild Koala sighted in the You Yangs or Brisbane Ranges National parks has been photographed, named & identified, their sex established, location taken and tree species and height in tree noted.

    These wild Koalas are not tagged, caught or handled in any way – they are identified by observation at a distance, through binoculars. Upon arrival, the day will commence assisting your Koala Researcher to locate wild Koalas. Once found, guests will assist by photographing the individual for ID purposes, record their position via GPS and make important notes on their behaviour and the surrounding habitat, especially regarding the health of surrounding trees.

    Another important component of the day and opportunity to give back, involves a Koala habitat improvement project. Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) is an Invasive Weed of National Significance. Wild Koalas in the You Yangs avoid areas thickly infested with Boneseed, so by removing the weed, the group will make areas suitable for Koalas. Weeding is easy, chemical-free, and requires no special tools or equipment.

    It is estimated that over 100,000 boneseed weeds are removed each year!

    Trips during June to August may be involved in Koala Tree planting on private farms adjacent to the You Yangs. These trees will provide future habitat for koalas as climate change forces them out of the dry hills and into moisture-rich valleys. In 2016 Echidna Walkabout Nature tours led the planting of 500 Koala trees and in 2017, this extended to the planting of around 2000 Koala trees!

    The group breaks the weeding or planting with walks through the Koala habitat, observing birds, wallabies and other mammals, reptiles, whilst discovering plants that are important to Koalas. The focus of this tour is to see and get to know wild Koalas. In addition, we often see Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, corellas, Galahs, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wrens, White-winged Choughs, New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters, Australian Magpies, Magpie-larks, Red-rumped Parrots, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Bronzewing and Crested Pigeons, Red Wattlebirds and Willie Wagtails. We sometimes see Echidnas, possums, Blue-tongue or Jacky Lizards, Wedge-tailed and Little Eagles, falcons or goshawks.

    Lunch is served picnic-style in the Australian Bush.

    Key Details

    Private Tour Pricing: Price Available on Request. Please contact us directly with your group size & interests.
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Melbourne city hotels
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time:  8:00am until approximately 4:00pm

    Responsible Travel

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours is internationally-recognised in wildlife in the wild conservation travel, and winner of the 2014 World Responsible Travel Award. Our extensive policies with respect to conservation and social enterprise are available for your reference. As a social enterprise tour company, we invest more than 50% of our profit into our mission. Most of that investment is through our Koala Research Project, and through in-kind and direct financial support to the Koala Clancy Foundation. 

    We strongly support the concept of privately-owned land to increase the habitat available to wildlife – this is essential if wildlife is to survive the upcoming challenges of climate change. Through Koala Clancy Foundation we plant koala food trees in river valleys and along creeks on private farmland near Melbourne – returning the indigenous flora to that denuded environment.

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    Recent Awards

    WINNER Best for Wildlife Conservation at the World Responsible Tourism Awards London • 2014
    WINNER Seatrade Cruise Award for World’s Most Innovative Shore Excursion • 2017
    WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014

    Bookings & Enquiries

    The behind the scenes tour is not available to be booked online. Please contact our friendly team via our enquiry form - there are some essential details to help us provide the best options for you including group size, interests and accommodation. We will be in touch via your preferred contact method.

    Enquire Now

    Recent Testimonials

    "The highlight of our mother and daughter trip to Australia was this three day tour. The company, Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, has a strong investment in the area and is directly responsible for koala protection and identification. But, beyond the organization itself, our three day tour with Brett, and Dan...Both guides were knowledgeable and had good senses of humor," - Sylph7Kentucky

    "My husband and I took a 3-day private tour with Echidna Walkabout to see wildlife and the Great Ocean Road....Our guide Brett was fantastic and great company. That's important on a 3-day trip when you spend a lot of time together. He was relaxed, funny, smart, extremely knowledgeable, and seemed as excited as we were about all of the great wildlife sightings and beautiful scenery." - Mary, Washington DC

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