As Australia’s borders begin to reopen, Visit Victoria is encouraging Britons to adopt a little penguin from Phillip Island; plant trees to support koalas; protect the Great Southern Reef; save endangered species; and support the state’s Aboriginal culture before coming out to get involved with these inspirational tourism experiences in person.
These activities are all included in the Good Natured Victoria initiative launched today giving international visitors and friends of Victoria the opportunity to collaborate in one of Victoria’s purpose-driven tourism experiences and to help to make a difference before and during their visit.
The call to be ‘good natured’ before and during a trip coincides with the news of Victoria’s borders reopening on December 1 for fully vaccinated people under the age of 30 travelling on a Working Holiday Maker visa.
Working holiday makers, and future travellers who are eco-lovers and fans of nature and wildlife, can now engage with one of five inspiring and beloved experiences from Victoria - each playing their part in protecting the state’s environmental, marine and wildlife conservation and importance of Aboriginal culture. These companies are: Sea All Dolphin Swims, Echidna Walkabout, Wildlife Wonders, Koorie Heritage Trust and Phillip Island Nature Parks.
Visit Victoria CEO, Brendan McClements, said: “We are thrilled to be launching Good Natured Victoria today. Melbourne and Victoria boast a wonderful array of inspiring sustainable, conservation and community driven visitor experiences often combined with our iconic nature and wildlife assets.
“Good Natured Victoria aims to highlight some of our purpose-driven tourism partners. We would like to encourage Brits to make a real difference by engaging with these inspirational projects, and to come and see them in person when they visit Victoria soon.”
As well as being home to more than 30% of all native Australian species, Victoria features a wealth of diverse regions and attractions, which are easily reached from its lively capital, Melbourne. The captivating state has an array of new activities and adventures, indigenous experiences, spa and wellness attractions and culinary delights to welcome Brits when they can return.
Victoria was recently named in National Geographic’s Best of the World 2022 list in the nature category. Visit Victoria encourages those who are able to explore, connect, donate and protect Victoria via these five ‘good natured’ organisations:
1. Help protect the Great Southern Reef with Sea All Dolphin Swims
Come face to face with wild seals and dolphins whilst restoring the Great Southern Reef. Sea All Dolphin Swims is more than just an inspiring ecotourism experience, it’s setting a new standard in marine tourism environmental advocacy. The award-winning tour offers guests the chance to swim with dolphins and seals, sightsee some of Victoria’s extraordinary wildlife along with being able to catch some waves with a surf lesson in the beautiful Port Phillip Bay, just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The team also proudly support a not-for-profit organisation called Southern Ocean Environmental Link (SOEL), intending to improve the health of the ocean through recycling, research and conservation. Along with developing revolutionary marine monitoring systems, which provide a snapshot into the Great Southern Reef at the Popes Eye Marine National Park, SOEL created Victoria’s first plastic recycling workshop – an interactive way to combat the issue of plastic pollution, inspiring visitors that we can all make a difference, one bottle top at a time.
2. Help plant koala trees with Echidna Walkabout
Echidna Walkabout is an international award-winning tourism experience and social enterprise whose ethos is to ‘help nature while you enjoy it’. Its wide variety of multi-day tours enables guests to enjoy a more in-depth experience in the beautiful rural landscapes of Victoria. There is a range of options for guests to discover, including the ‘Koala Recovery Experience’, a special koala tree planting and recovery activity that ensures koalas have a safe future, enabling guests to meet wild koalas, including Koala Clancy who lives in the You Yangs near Melbourne and speak with the researchers dedicated to these fascinating animals (working with the not-for-profit charity, Koala Clancy Foundation), as well as the ‘Wildlife Journey’ tour, which is a four-day trip to help wild animals in East Gippsland. Activities include removing ghost nets from beaches, conducting bushfire-recovery wildlife surveys in the biodiverse forests, and at the end of the journey all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife conservation, a full species list of everything they have seen, and the satisfaction of knowing they have given something back to the environments and animals visited. Each tree planted helps to save koalas from climate change with Koala Clancy Foundation and Echidna Walkabout.
3. Help save endangered species with Wildlife Wonders
Founded by Otways residents, Lizzie Corke and Shayne Neal, to protect the Great Ocean Road’s precious wildlife and habitats, Wildlife Wonders is a not-for-profit ecotourism experience and social enterprise created to showcase what the Otways landscape was once like and could be again. Visitors to the region of the Great Ocean Road – home to the stunning coastal drive of the same name - can experience unique wildlife including Australia’s iconic koalas and kangaroos and wallabies alongside more elusive species such as potoroos and bandicoots. Wildlife Wonders’ 75-minute guided nature tour allows visitors to see local wildlife living freely in a protected bushland environment and gain key insights into Victoria’s rich flora. Each visit supports local environmental conservation projects, including the Conservation Ecology Centre, which help ensure this beautiful part of the world survives for future generations to discover.
4. Support Victoria’s Aboriginal culture with Koorie Heritage Trust
Located within Melbourne’s acclaimed Federation Square, Koorie Heritage Trust is a not-for-profit Aboriginal owned and run cultural centre, which offers a range of programmes and services to promote, support and celebrate the continuing journey of the Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia. Housing the largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts and artworks in south-eastern Australia, the Koorie Heritage Trust enables visitors to truly learn and immerse within Aboriginal culture through collections, exhibitions, art galleries, education programmes, cultural tours, guided walking tours, workshops as-well-as a shop dedicated exclusively to showcasing the uniqueness of Victorian Aboriginal art and design. Each visit and donation to the Koorie Heritage Trust helps support a range of cultural programmes that impact the development of the Aboriginal communities.
5. Adopt a little penguin with Phillip Island Nature Parks
Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Penguin Foundation are two organisations dedicated to the protection of wildlife and its environment in one of Victoria’s scenic nature parks, Phillip Island, just 90 minutes from Melbourne. Home to the largest colony of little penguins in the world, the daily ‘Penguin Parade’ offers visitors the chance to have a magical experience of watching these incredible seabirds in their natural habitat. Whilst roaming around the fascinating boardwalks, visitors can get a glimpse of some of the island’s resident wildlife including swamp wallabies, eastern barred bandicoots, cape barren geese, koalas and short-tailed shearwaters. As a visitor-funded conservation and tourism organisation, the Phillip Island Nature Park offers a true connection with nature through the operation of its four responsible tourism attractions: Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Reserve, Churchill Island and Antarctic Journey - every visit and donation helps protect nature for wildlife ensuring the island’s native habitats thrives into the future for both wildlife and visitors to enjoy.