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In the wild Koalas and Kangaroos Melbourne
Australia Guided Nature Tours
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Koalas & Kangaroos IN THE WILD. One day tour

See Koalas and Kangaroos IN THE WILD! Interact with wild animals in their natural habitats on this full day, fully inclusive small group (max 8 people) eco-tour, led by an experienced Wildlife Guide.

Walk through natural bushland to meet wild koalas, then learn about each one's history and social life from your Wildlife Guide and Koala Researcher. Help collect important data, remove Boneseed (a weed) and make a difference to koala habitat.

Join wild mobs of Kangaroos on the plains and in open forests. Their natural instinct is to flee humans, but with care we often get close enough to take photographs and observe their complex social life. While we walk, help your Guide record sightings of all native wildlife.

The natural environments we visit are also home to parrots, fairy-wrens, emus, honeyeaters, possums, wallabies and lizards. Your Wildlife Guide will help you find and understand them, and teach you survey techniques that will be useful to you wherever you go.

At the end of the day all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife, and an opportunity to stay in touch with each of the Koalas seen on the day.

The tour is vehicle-based, with short walks during the day; includes a substantial picnic lunch and pick up/drop off to Melbourne city.

Easy walking: Although this tour is vehicle based, most of the day is spent outside the vehicle on a number of easy, flat terrain, bushwalks so that you can get close to nature. Passengers must be able to walk unassisted at least 1km on uneven dirt surfaces to ensure wildlife sightings. There may be up to 5 walks of this duration during the day.

Meal on tour: A substantial bush picnic lunch is provided which includes sandwiches, fruit, cakes, water and traditional Australian "Billy Tea". NB Vegetarian or other food preferences should be noted at the time of booking. We can only cater for allergies and special food preferences that we are informed of in advance. Transport: In our comfortable air conditioned vehicle.

What to bring: Strong, fully enclosed walking shoes or boots (sandals are not recommended), outdoor clothing to suit variable weather conditions (please check weather forecast for accurate predictions), sun hat, rainproof coat, insect repellent, 15+ sunscreen and 1 litre water bottle. Camera and binoculars are recommended.

Volunteer/Conservation component details: To safely and effectively conduct voluntary conservation activities, we provide protective gloves, garbage bags, wildlife lists, pens, share binoculars and the expertise of our Wildlife Guides and Koala Researchers. The activities are simple, non-dangerous, pleasant and do not interfere with guests' enjoyment of the wildlife and wild places we visit – in fact, the activities usually increase guests enjoyment through fostering a sense of contribution and greater understanding. Wildlife sightings are recorded on a pre-prepared list – guests only need to tick a box under instruction from the Wildlife Guide or Koala Researcher. Wildlife Lists are later submitted to online atlases that provide the basis for population density estimates and monitor changes over time that lead to special classification for threatened species listing and conservation efforts – your Wildlife Guide will show you how to submit the lists. Data collection and entry for our Koala Research is also simple – we provide a hard-copy map or tablet with tick boxes for guests to fill out in consultation with the Wildlife Guide or Koala Researcher. Rubbish collection is done whilst walking through the bush. Boneseed removal can be done easily whilst walking through the bush, and our recommended limit is 10 small plants per guest (on daily tours 363 days per year, at 10 plants per guest, we remove a lot of weeds, and no-one gets a sore back, tired, or misses out on anything!)

NOTE: this itinerary is an indication only. Due to conditions on the day, weather or National Parks instructions, it may change to maximise wildlife viewing opportunities

We depart Melbourne at around 9.30am to travel just 45 minutes to the west to the bushland of You Yangs Park. The park is home to a healthy population of wild Koalas, which we research and monitor to ensure the best possible sightings. We take a very easy walk through the gum trees, searching for koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and birds in their natural setting.

Wild Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Koalas are the main focus of this tour. We also see a large variety of birds, which often include Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Galahs, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wrens, Whitewinged Choughs, Emus, Cape Barren and Magpie Geese, New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters, Australian White Ibis, Whistling Kites, Australian Magpies, Magpie-larks, Red-rumped Parrots, Crimson or Eastern Rosellas, Crested Pigeons, Red Wattlebirds and Willie Wagtails. We sometimes see wild Swamp (Black) Wallabies, Common Brushtail or Ringtail Possums, Common Blue-tongue or Jacky Lizards, Wedge-tailed and Little Eagles, falcons, goshawks, other parrots and cockatoos. We occasionally see an Echidna.

We rarely see snakes or spiders, though we are as interested in them as in all wildlife, and will look out for them.

Note: we go to enormous effort to ensure sightings of Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Koalas and have a very high success rate with these species. However, we do not guarantee sightings of any wild animal.

Your Wildlife Guide will point out plants and features of interest, explain some of the history of the area and, where possible, introduce you to known, named Koalas that are part of our research project. At each koala, a guest is invited to fill out our koala behaviour datasheet, in consultation with the Guide, while another guest keeps track of all other wildlife sighted. At one of 5 Boneseed-removal sites we stop for 5 minutes to remove some of these noxious weeds to improve Koala habitat.

The area we walk through is of great significance to the local Aboriginal People of the Wathaurong Tribe. The granite rock formations of the You Yangs staged huge meetings of Aboriginal People from all over Southeastern Australia. Many signs of their occupation still remain. Your Guide will share their knowledge with you. Though we will not be meeting any Aboriginal People on this tour, we act with the knowledge, consent and support of the Wathaurong Community.

Our picnic lunch is usually served under the gum trees and includes gourmet sandwiches, fruit and cakes, and delicious Australian "Billy tea". Your Guide will explain the history and recipe for the traditional tea of the Swagmen.

Leaving the You Yangs, we travel just 10 minutes to Serendip Open Range Sanctuary where we are immediately amongst wild kangaroos and native birds. Often our entrance is heralded by the screeching of Cockatoos or the chattering of Honeyeaters. We drive, then walk through the gum trees and across grasslands in search of wild mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. They are wild and secretive, and we often walk quietly along kangaroo tracks, using trees and bushes as shelter. Sometimes we find them before they see us, and we can watch completely natural kangaroo social behaviour. Other times they find us first, and we enjoy the magnificent sight of a wild mob hopping, fast and powerful, but silent as ghosts. We also look out for curious Emus, and take a short walk to the billabong, home to large populations of waterbirds. As we walk we collect rubbish, and take note of all wildlife seen for listing on our Wildlife Species List, and later submission to the online Atlas of Australian Birds.

We return to Melbourne between 5 and 6pm.

 

Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout in 1993, to foster respect for Australia’s wildlife and to ensure its wild and free-living future. Most tours depart Melbourne and travel to carefully chosen wildlife locations in south eastern Australia.

Our fantastic team of Wildlife Guides – Bill, Paul, Joanne, Martin and Janine & Roger – and Koala Researchers – Mary, Donna & Melinda – ensure that every tour is a special, once-only experience. No two tours are ever the same with wild animals!

Our Wildlife Team provides support to our tours. Research conducted on tour is passed on to you and to the National Parks Service, Field Naturalists Clubs and the Atlas of Australian Birds. All wildlife seen on tour is noted, forming a large, valuable repository of data on population densities of native species, including some threatened species. Submission and analysis of this data is a huge job, but enormously valuable, so guests are encouraged to assist with this most important of tasks.

Echidna Walkabout respects our Indigenous Cultures, and is grateful to the Wathaurong and Gunnai communities for their support over many years.

Our tour groups are small (no more than 8 people) allowing for a personal experience and optimal wildlife viewing opportunities.

For the past 15 years, Echidna Walkabout has tracked and monitored the movements and lives of hundreds of wild koalas. The proceeds of each tour contribute to this important study and our guests are involved while on tour. The results of this study are made available to all our staff, the National Parks Service, Field Naturalists Clubs, wildlife veterinarians and wildlife carers.

For many years Echidna Walkabout and our guests have been improving the natural habitats we visit, through weed and rubbish removal. The removal of the noxious weed Boneseed, in particular, directly improves habitat quality for Koalas.

We are also regenerating an old farming property west of Melbourne as a Wildlife Habitat – for the benefit of native wild birds, Kangaroos, Koalas and Wallabies, plus reptiles, frogs and invertebrates - to restore some lost habitat to these wild creatures that have given us so much.

We have, and have always had, a serious commitment to running sustainable tours.

 

 

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This activity is also available as part of on of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

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