One thing that makes Melbourne Victoria so unique is the forward-thinking towards sustainable travel. The people have a passion for the planet, and everyone there does their bit for protecting the environment. As Australia begins to open its borders again to international travel, a new incentive has been introduced, “Good Natured Victoria”.
The project is to inspire and encourage visitors to collaborate and engage with one of Victoria’s 5 charitable tourism experiences. These were set up to educate and allow visitors to make a difference before and during their trip to Victoria. At the same time giving back and protecting the environment for future generations.
Some of the “Good Natured Victoria” sustainable activities include adopting an adorable penguin, planting trees to help the recovery of koalas, and supporting Aboriginal culture through a variety of programs.
The best bit is that most of these sustainable activities can be done while staying in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne.
Melbourne Victoria is known as the cultural hub of Australia. If you want to know what’s going on in the world of food, fashion, and art, look no further than here. Sure, there are galleries to see, famous graffiti laneways to explore, and major sporting events to attend, but there is so much more beyond the city.
Victoria is home to 30% of all native Australian species, meaning you are pretty much guaranteed to see a cute native animal in the wild.
The state’s diverse regions, natural beauty, culinary experiences, and attractions outside the city are something to behold, like Lerderderg State Park. Only recently Victoria was named in National Geographic’s Best of the World 2022 in the nature category.
“Good Natured Victoria” – Sustainable Travel
The organisations that are involved as part of the “Good Natured Victoria” are Phillip Island Nature Parks, Echidna Walkabout, Koorie Heritage Trust, Wildlife Wonders, and Sea All Dolphin Swims. All of whom are leading the way in protecting Victoria’s environment and marine and wildlife conversation. As well as preserving and showcasing the importance of the Aboriginal culture.
Visit Victoria encourages visitors now and in the future to explore these unique charitable experiences. You can sign up for their newsletter, interact with them or even donate where you can. What better way to travel, knowing that you are doing your a bit to help the earth and the companies that are trying to protect it.
Here are the “Good Natured Victoria” sustainable activities offered and information on the companies taking part;
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Help Koalas by Planting Trees with Echidna Walkabout
It is hard not to think of Australia without picturing the adorable fluffy animal known as the Koala. For decades, the wild koala’s environment and numbers have been shrinking from deforestation, wildfire, and expanding cities. Only a few years ago, devastating Australian bushfires killed an estimated 60,000,000 Koalas.
The purpose of this experience is to ensure the future of wild koalas for generations to come by protecting and enhancing their natural environment. Echidna Walkabout offers a unique experience as part of the Koala Recovery Experiences association with the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Foundation. Which is named after a real life wild koala called Clancy living in the You Yangs.
Echidna Walkabout runs a selection of small scheduled small groups and private multi-day tours. Choose between a two, three, or four-day experience where you will venture out to plant Eucalyptus and other trees in specific areas where they are needed most. All experiences depart from Melbourne for the wildlife-rich regions of Victoria.
Participants can get back to nature and plant trees in recovering areas for much needed koala habitats. This is a different way to see Australia, touring into the western plains of Victoria, meeting the locals, and chatting to them about koalas.
Don’t be mistaken by thinking that you will only see koalas, as there are kangaroos and emu’s that can also be found in the area. This is an Aussie wildlife experience that is pretty hard to match and nothing beats seeing Australian animals in the wild.
Make sure to take along a water bottle with you to keep hydrated while out walking in the wildlife. One that I recommend is the eco-friendly and plastic-free reusable water bottle by Bambaw.
Address and postcode for Echidna Walkabout : 333 Howe Parade, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia
Protect the Great Southern Reef with Sea All Dolphin Swims
Located a stone’s throw outside Melbourne, at the start of the Great Ocean Road is the award-winning Sea All Dolphin Swims tourism company. This is a wildlife-focused tour company striving to teach and inform visitors about these stunning mammals. At the same time, educating about marine conversation and how we can better take care of our oceans, all while having fun.
There are several tours that you can do but the main one is the dolphin and seal swim or the wildlife sightseeing tour. The tour is a three-and-a-half-hour ocean journey where you will see all sorts of marine wildlife. Apart from seals, dolphins, and birdlife, you might be lucky to even see humpback or southern right whales. Don’t worry the staff are experienced, well trained, and on hand, if needed.
In their bid for sustainability, a part of the tour price goes towards the environmental levy. The money is used in various programs and research carried out with their partner, SOEL (Southern Ocean Environmental Link). One such program was the development of marine monitoring systems, allowing researchers to study seals and dolphins remotely.
Some of the ongoing projects that donations go towards are research into improving the health of the local marine ecosystems. Plastic recycling education programs a wide dolphin population study and an investigation into the effects of ecotourism experiences.
Seals and dolphins are such incredible mammals to watch swimming freely in the ocean. I was lucky enough to have these experiences on my doorstep, growing up. Choosing the right company will not only give you everlasting memories but help the environment too.
Make sure while on the tour to take along your GoPro for all those memorable ocean life pictures. If you don’t have one you can hire one from the Sea all Dolphin swims. Also, don’t forget your beach towel and bathers under your wetsuit.
Address and postcode for Sea all Dophin swims business: Shop 3. Building 6, Queenscliff Boat Harbour, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia
Save Endangered Species with Wildlife Wonders
The bush is famous for taking people into untouched land, where indigenous wildlife roams free. A two-and-a-half-hour drive outside Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road is Wildlife Wonders, a piece of land that stretches from the forest to the sea.
The enclosed area sits on the edge of the Great Otway National Park and spans over 30 acres to create a space that protects native species from their natural predators. The enclosed park creates an ecosystem of the Otways that just is not possible to see anywhere else. Many of the species that have been driven to extinction in other parts of Australia still survive in the habitats of the Otways today.
All profits made at Wildlife Wonders go towards investing in protecting the environment, wildlife, and nature. It supports various conservation programmes, habitat restoration, and saving threatened species. Some of these precious species that exist in Otways could vanish from the forest at any time.
Wildlife Wonders offers an interesting 45 minute conservation guided tour, where you learn about the National Park and how they’re protecting native species living there. You will walk through Otway National Park looking for native wildlife, in between stopping at the research base and learning about the current projects that the Conservation Ecology Centre is working on.
Afterward, you can enjoy a proper flat white at the on-site cafe to recharge your batteries. Not a bad way to spend a day out in nature enjoying sustainable travel in Victoria.
Great Ocean Road is an amazing spot to spend a few days if you want to extend your road trip. This area of Victoria offers some other amazing sustainable travel activities like seeing the Twelve Apostles. Check accommodation and availability here for the Great Ocean Road area.
Address and postcode for Wildlife Wonders: 475 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
Explore Victoria’s Aboriginal Culture with Koorie Heritage Trust
The Koorie Heritage Trust is an Indigenous not-for-profit cultural organisation based in the popular Federation Square Melbourne. Koorie Heritage Trust’s aim is to teach and highlight the indigenous culture and history of the Aboriginal people in Victoria. Visitors will learn from the Aboriginal perspective and engage in the experiences.
The Koorie Heritage Trust has an impressive public collection of over 100,000 items that range from artifacts, photographs, and books. Apart from the permanent display, the Trust frequently hosts exhibitions to showcase local Aboriginal artists and their artworks. There is also an on-site store where you can purchase artworks created.
As well as exhibitions there are other services and programmes offered to help educate and highlight Aboriginal history. The guided walking tours will take you to locations of cultural significance within the Melbourne city CBD and Federation Square. This is a beautiful way to learn about the rich and complex history of the indigenous people while taking in the scenery of Melbourne.
Being an indigenous Australian myself, I was brought up learning about our people and the ways of the land. Anything to promote the culture and history of the indigenous Australian people, I am all for. I love the Koorie Heritage Trust’s aim and that it is something both adults and children can visit.
As the Koorie Heritage Trust is an Indigenous not-for-profit organisation, all funds contribute and donations go towards furthering their vision.
This is a great activity if you are looking for things to do in central Melbourne the capital of Victoria that involve sustainable travel. Which is easily accessible by foot or public transport if you don’t have a car.
Address and postcode for the Koorie Heritage Trust centre: The Yarra Building, Federation Square, Flinders St &, Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Adopt a Penguin with Phillip Island Nature Parks
There is something about Penguins that just melts your heart, especially when they are waddling along. One such place you can watch these majestic birds in their natural habitat is the Penguin Parade. Which is located only a 90-minute drive away from Melbourne in the Phillip Island Nature Park.
The Penguin Parade allows visitors to watch the world’s largest colony of little penguins emerge from the sea at sunset. Viewing points in the ground and from above have been built, so the penguins can go past without being touched or disturbed by the public.
The Penguin Foundation and Phillip Island Nature Parks are devoted to protecting and raising funds for the native wildlife of the island. Apart from the Penguin Parade, there are three other responsible tourism attractions, each offering a different experience.
All funds received and donated for these attractions contribute to various conservation and research projects for the Island’s unique wildlife. One initiative you can do if you can’t get to Phillip Island at the moment is to “adopt a little penguin”
Adopting a wild penguin on the island means that you become their official guardian and your money will help projects like habitat restoration. You will receive an adoption certificate, penguin fact sheet, and updates on how your donation is helping.
You also have the option of adopting a Koala, fur seal, eastern barred bandicoot, hooded plover, or a short-tailed shearwater. This is a different kind of sustainable travel, but so incredibly rewarding in different ways as well.
Remember to use your sunset or night setting on your camera to capture the best pictures of the penguin parade. I use a Sony A6000 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera, which is great for night photography.
Address and postcode for the Penguin Parade: 1019 Ventnor Road, Ventnor, 3922
Taking part in sustainable travel in Victoria before you go
While I may be a little biased, there is one thing for sure, Victoria is leading the way in sustainable tourism, preserving our wild habitats, and helping to protect the environment. You can see that through these non-profit organisations that the companies are a part of the “Good Natured Victoria”.
As Australian borders begin to open, it’s time to look forward to future travel to Victoria that is sustainable. Whether it is interstate, international travel, or even on the Working Holiday Maker Visa.
The best incentive is that we can help play our part in sustainable travel before you arrive. If you are looking for something a little different and want to collaborate and donate to “Good Natured Victoria”.
Have you done any sustainable travel in Melbourne or Victoria before? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: This is a paid post in collaboration with Visit Victoria Tourism.