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Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Koala Recovery Experience

From: $830 USD

Duration: 2 or 3 days

Type: Groups, Private Charter.

This tour provides an opportunity to take an active role in assisting with Koala conservation and research! You will spend two or three days in the Great Western Plains near Melbourne, to plant trees and participate in recovery activities for this iconic species.

  • You will assist by planting targeted trees in the places Koalas need them most along critical watercourses.

  • Led by an experienced Wildlife Guide and Koala Researcher, you will engage with local land owners, community members along with Koala Clancy Foundation volunteers and staff. 

  • Many 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.

Koala Recovery Experiences do not have pre-set departure dates and can be booked on request from March through to September.

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.

Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2022) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary detail.


Tour day-by-day

  • Two or Three Day Experience: Melbourne

    Guests will travel with their expert guide and Koala researcher, about an hour west of Melbourne to the tree planting site near the You Yangs Regional Park.

    Tree planting sites are located along rivers, creeks and near waterholes on farms on the Western Plains. The mornings will be spent planting Koala trees in these high-quality, fertile sites, with holes pre-dug to make tree planting quick and easy. These trees will provide future habitat for koalas as climate change forces them out of the dry hills and into moisture-rich valleys.

    Guides - Janine Duffy“Our tree total is going up every year and managing the work is a huge job. We need to plant at least 30,000 trees every year to reach our target of 300,000 by 2030. We need that many trees to support the population of Koalas. It’s a myth that they only eat one type of tree leaf. We plant a variety of tree species, which is vital for long- term ecosystem health – and the health of our Koalas.”

    Janine Duffy - Guide & Co-founder

    Lunch will be picnic-style for guests, either at the planting site or in nearby bushland. 

    The afternoons are spent on nature walks to visit the Koalas that will benefit most from the tree planting. Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, corellas, Galahs, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wrens, White-winged Choughs, New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters, Red-rumped Parrots and Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, are common sightings. We sometimes see Echidnas, possums, Blue-tongue or Jacky Lizards, Wedge-tailed and Little Eagles, falcons or goshawks.

    Dinners are at a local hotel restaurant, adjacent to accommodation. 


  • Tour details:

    $1,140.00 AUD per person - 2 days
    $1,750.00 AUD per person - 3 days

    Child rate (7-13 years)
    $855 AUD per person - 2 days
    $1,315 AUD per person - 3 days

    Single supplement: Please add $260 to price per person for the 3 day tour; or $130 to price for 2 day tour if you wish to have single rooming. 

    Accommodation: Please note that accommodation is only available in queen configuration.
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Melbourne city hotels
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time:  8:00am on day one, approximately 4:00pm on day two or three
    Grade/Difficulty: medium fitness required


    Your guide will be an experienced Wildlife Guide and Koala Researcher. Wildlife guidance throughout, air conditioned transport to and from Melbourne city. Gloves and gumboots (rubber boots) are available for participants (gumboots only if weather is wet). 

    Meals & accommodation as below:
    - 2 day experience: includes 2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast and 1 night accommodation
    - 3 day experience: includes 3 lunches, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 2 nights accommodation

    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

    How you'll be making a positive impact

    We have aligned our sustainability vision with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    E-WEB-Goal-15Citizen Science with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours contributes observations of flora & fauna via iNaturalist, the world’s leading global social biodiversity network. This platform allows our team to create research-quality citizen science data that enables a more detailed picture of our national biodiversity, and assists bodies such as the CSIRO, ecologists and other decision makers to deliver better outcomes for the environment and our species.

    Our guides record observations with iNaturalist Australia by using the iNaturalist app on mobile phones or desktop computers. An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location in Victoria. We require photos to be attached to observations for them to become research grade and added to the Atlas of Living Australia.

    This is where you can greatly assist us in capturing images out in the field! Although we make broader observations that we think are valuable to the local scientific community, we have identified the following species to track when we are exploring Victoria by vehicle or on foot.

    E-WEB-Goal-04Sustainable Koala Watching Code

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours has been at the forefront of policy development for responsible Koala viewing based on over 27 years of research. In 2006, the organisation launched the Sustainable Koala Watching Code, implementing a welfare policy for guides, researchers and staff members in order to reduce human behaviours that cause Koalas to respond negatively as much as possible. 

    This includes policies such as maintaining a distance of 10 metres (horizontally) from any wild Koala, never surrounding a Koala’s tree and avoiding excessive movement or noise around wild Koalas.

    Interestingly, a recent scientific study has found that even captive Koalas subjected to people at close proximity (5 metres) do experience higher levels of stress than when people are further away, highlighting the importance of this requirement. Given that the organisation often visits and studies the same Koalas on a regular basis, this code has enabled a positive, or at least benign relationship to form with these wild Koalas.

    E-WEB-Goal-04Discovering the Nose Patterns of Koalas

    In 1998 Echidna Walkabout’s co-founder Janine Duffy discovered a revolutionary method of identifying individual Koalas through their distinctive natural black and white marking patterns inside their nostrils. That discovery launched a non-intrusive wild Koala Research Project that continues to this day.

    The study documenting nose markings over 22 years and across more than 100 individual Koalas in four locations in southern Victoria, showed that the nose pattern stays essentially the same throughout life, with no two Koala patterns being identical. This method provides a cost-effective and reliable non-intrusive process of monitoring wild Koala populations and has since been embraced by Koala research groups across Australia. Koalas are identified by observation at a distance, through binoculars, without the need for tagging, handling or causing stress to individual animals.

    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. The Wild Koala Research Project is Echidna Walkabout’s own initiative, and fully funded by their social enterprise structure, with Koala researchers employed to input data, conduct research analysis and reconnaissance. This ensures a high degree of success with Koala sightings and adds valuable monitoring data to each day’s sightings.

    E-WEB-Goal-15Planting 300,000 Koala Trees by 2030

    Research conducted by Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours and the Koala Clancy Foundation, estimate that there are around 100 Koalas still living in the You Yangs, down from an estimated 200-250 in 2007. Of concern is that a 46% decline over 10 years has been reported for the overall population.

    With the increasing effects of climate change, the stony country of the You Yangs is drying out, with the tree canopy thinning out, leaving Koalas dehydrated and thirsty with the reduction in usable home ranges. Without action, this will result in Koalas dying and the population reducing significantly.

    This has prompted the Koala Clancy Foundation to embark on a mission to plant 300,000 Koala trees by 2030 and save the Koalas of the You Yangs. Trees planted away from water, are struggling to survive with the drying climate, so the Koala Clancy Foundation approached farmers on the Western Plains to provide access to precious land, where trees can be planted along rivers, creeks, drainage lines and around dams, to increase the chances of obtaining high tree survival rates.

    It is estimated that each Koala needs around 3,000 trees along more fertile regions, allowing the support of an additional 100 Koalas. In 2021, a total of 22,000 trees were planted with the aim to reach 30-35,000 in 2022. Travellers are able to book the Koala Recovery Experience as a two or three day package to assist in planting trees and recovery activities for this iconic species.

    E-WEB-Goal-17Supporting the Koala Clancy Foundation

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours created, and remains the primary supporter of, the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Foundation. The foundation is set up to support, advocate and plant trees for wild koalas, particularly around the You Yangs and on the Western Plains of Victoria. Started in 2015, the charity relies on the donations and promotional reach of international travellers, and the willing hands of local volunteers and private landowners to restore koala habitat to the rivers and creeks of western Victoria. 

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