Monday, May 27, 2024

Australian adventures that give back to the land and people

2020 has taught us the importance of human connection. Many began to wonder if a new kind of travel was possible…

By Chan , in Travel , at December 13, 2023

2020 has taught us the importance of human connection. Many began to wonder if a new kind of travel was possible in the post-COVID era. Travelers started to search for ways to contribute to the environment, connect with local communities, and travel with a greater purpose.

These travel connections can be easily made in Australia, where Indigenous communities have passed on traditions of land custodianship for thousands of years. There are many opportunities for travelers who want to do good in Australia as the nation recovers from both the pandemic outbreak and the devastating bushfires. Sydney is Australia’s biggest city and the main hub for international visitors to Australia. Here are some suggestions for travelers who wish to do good.

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Welcome to the country

Margret Campbell, a Dunghutti/Jerrinjah, runs Dreamtime Southern X in Eora, otherwise known as central Sydney. She explores the layers of Indigenous kinship that connect people, land, and climate over 65,000 years. The tour starts with the application of ochre on the hands as a personal acknowledgment of Earth Mother.

Margret explains that “when we welcome you, and invite you walk country, to sleep on country, or eat country, it is like a protective order.” As long as you follow the protocol that we teach in that ceremony, you should be able to enjoy your experience without any problems. We’ve already linked you with ancestral creators.

This type of ceremony was the first step on a journey to learn about ancestral land in ancient times. Margret’s tour, like those ancient journeys, changes according to the seasons. She explores the meanings and purposes of seasonal animals and plants, as well as astronomy and the kinship system. She discusses the injustice, dispossession, and colonization that her community had experienced since 1788 when the first white settlers arrived.

The Bushfires of 2020

COVID-19 shook the world in March 2020. But for many Australian communities, the shockwaves arrived months earlier in the form of a record bushfire-burning season. In January and February 2020, 17,000,000 hectares of Australian bush were lost. This is an area larger than Austria.

Many communities worked tirelessly to help native wildlife that had suffered huge losses of habitat and life. Amanda Fry, in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley, about two-and-a-half hours south of Sydney by car, set up the Helping Hands group on Facebook to connect volunteers who wanted to help with the recovery effort. Visitors have donated their time to build enclosures, transport supplies like baby koala formula, and donate their time.

“We are going to have some wonderful things coming out of it.” “Australians are resilient and tough,” she said. The community and volunteers are responsible for the animals that we have in our care.

Amanda runs Experience Nature and offers bespoke ‘Travel with Purpose’ experiences. She offers workshops that explore the role of fires in Australian ecology, along with activities such as seasonal foraging, wilderness camping, and gourmet bush food.

She said, “In March, we took a small group to an area in the middle that had been saved from fire.” They met the firefighters and watched a video showing the fire spreading through the property. We took them on the water, and they did workshops.

Amanda customizes experiences to meet individual interests. This may include meeting locals and hearing stories of courage and resilience.

Supporting wildlife and ecosystems

Kerstin Schweth is one of the people who have been telling stories of hope since 2006. She runs Native Wildlife Rescue, a nonprofit sanctuary that cares for up to 35 animals at a given time. Kerstin and other wildlife volunteers are only now starting to release animals that were rescued in the fires. “We keep animals for up to 2 years.” She says that kangaroos and koalas are included in this, as well as wombats. “We will care for them until they reach the size they need to survive on their own,” she says.

Amanda Fry works with Travis Frenay, who offers Canoe and paddle tours that take you deep into the area affected by the Tallowa Dam fires. Travis defended his home on the day of the terrible fire. The fire was not able to directly affect him or his wife, but it was an experience that the entire country felt. “You felt like you were being blown into a furnace by a powerful fan.” “You couldn’t even see anything. The smoke was so thick and putrid that you couldn’t even breathe,” he explained.

He uses his extensive knowledge of the bush to point out signs of fire damage but also of recovery. One of these is the kangaroo fruit (Solanum Aviculare), which grows quickly. The native bush, with its purple flowers and orange fruits, moves soon to the area after the fires, providing food for the native animals that are reestablishing themselves in the charred landscape.

Extend Your Trip

Discovering ways to spend time in local communities has a lasting and real impact on their resilience, recovery, and economies. This can also lead to educational and eye-opening encounters.

The Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley, a luxury resort with conservation as its focus in the Blue Mountains world heritage area on a 2,800-hectare conservancy, is a great option for those who want to leave the city of Sydney. The main homestead of the resort was spared, but the reserve suffered a great deal. Guests are encouraged to participate in conservation activities such as habitat reconstruction or bush regeneration.

At Port Stephens in the Northern part of the State, Sand Dune Adventures is owned by Worimi Aboriginal Land Council. It offers an adrenaline-filled quad bike adventure on the largest dunes along the coast in the Southern Hemisphere while weaving in culture and history.

In Victoria, New South Wales’ neighbor to the south and the Brambuk Cultural Centre located in Geriwerd (aka Grampians National Park), you can connect with Indigenous Culture at Brambuk Cultural Centre owned by Aboriginals. The Grampians are one of New South Wales’s most important natural and cultural features. It acts as a haven for bushwalkers and rock climbers and attracts nature lovers.

In South Australia’s stunning Flinders ranges, the Aboriginal-owned Wilpena pound resort offers travelers a chance to experience ancient Adnyamathanha culture. You can book Adnyamathanha-led experiences at rock art sites or enjoy a campfire with storytellers.

The eco-certified Kangaroo Island offers tours on the bushfire-ravaged Kangaroo Island. These tours include an exploration of fire ecology and the resilience of Australian bush.

In Australia, you can find many more opportunities to interact with people and the natural environment. Find out what a trip to Australia based on giving to the land and people of Australia can offer you.