You’ve definitely heard of kangaroos, you’ve probably heard of bandicoots, but what about… malleefowl? Let us fill you in. These cautious birds freeze whenever they are disturbed, using their patterned feathers as camouflage or else fading noiselessly into the scrubby bushes to avoid predators. Sadly, these fascinating and somewhat eccentric birds are under threat in the wild. Little Desert National Park, situated in Victoria’s Western District, is home to populations of malleefowl and other bird species, and has been identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’. Help to protect Little Desert’s wildlife whilst also enjoying the striking scenery unique to this remote region on a rewarding conservation project.
You’ll learn about the exciting conservation work being done in the area, including an endangered mallefowl recovery programme. Your work will involve helping to set up sensor cameras and collect data on different local wildlife species - this data will help researchers to gain a better understanding of species diversity as well as population numbers within the region. Discover what makes this biodiverse and beautiful area so unique on a guided nature walk, and enjoy panoramic views across the Grampians National Park from excellent lookout points. Staying in a private conservation reserve at the comfortable ‘Little Desert Nature Lodge’, you’ll have a host of wildlife, including kangaroos, bandicoots and a plethora of birdlife, right on your doorstep!
Australia is a global leader – in species extinction. Now, that’s not a label any country wants to be attached to. The nation is facing an ‘extinction crisis’ in terms of wildlife, with over 30% of its mammals and around 14% of its birds either critically threatened or totally extinct. In an effort to come up with a solution to desert species extinction, a number of organisations are coming together to help secure some of Australia’s most vulnerable species. The ‘Rewilding the Desert’ initiative hopes to transform the country from a leader in species extinction to a global trail-blazer in conservation and research. By taking a collaborative approach, it is hoped that threatened species can be protected, and unique wildlife can be reintroduced to their original habitats.
Naturewise Eco Escapes makes a valuable contribution to wildlife conservation in the Little Desert region, allowing volunteers to discover outstanding national parks and conservation reserves whilst also providing practical hands-on help for wildlife reintroduction programmes. Identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area, Little Desert supports populations of threatened malleefowl as well as other bird species. Volunteers on this project help to set up remote motion sensor cameras that can monitor Little Desert’s wildlife; data collected helps researchers to understand species diversity and also population numbers within the region.
Travel through the Greater Grampians region from Melbourne to Little Desert Nature Lodge, stopping at Mount Arapiles en-route. Renowned for its beautifully rugged scenery, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Wimmera Plain from this impressive quartz and sandstone landmark. Arrive at Little Desert Nature Lodge late in the afternoon and check in, before taking some time to explore your surroundings and getting a first glimpse of the local wildlife. After dinner, take a nocturnal wildlife tour, during which you might spot kangaroos, bettongs, bandicoots and sugar gliders.
After breakfast, get started on your project activities with some camera monitoring in the nearby park or conservation reserve. Later, take an afternoon guided nature walk – a great chance to learn more about local wildlife and biodiversity. After dinner you’ll spend some time in the evening reviewing data collected using the cameras, and recording information about the wildlife that have been captured on film.
Today, take a guided tour of the fascinating Malleefowl Aviary. Watch as these critically endangered birds construct huge incubation mounds using leaf-litter, sticks and sand – they are the only bird that lives in an arid region to construct such mounds! After lunch, participate in camera monitoring activities. Once the sun has set, marvel at the stunning desert night sky.
Leave Little Desert Nature Lodge behind you as you proceed to Melbourne. On the way, stop by at the Pink lake for a relaxing picnic lunch. You’ll arrive back in Melbourne in the late afternoon.
- Prices vary depending on accommodation; rate shown is for a Bunk room
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above for full project dates and costs
- Children: This tour is suitable for 10 years and above
- Participants under 16 are to be accompanied by an adult
- Maximum 10 people per group
- Departure is guaranteed, subject to 3 people travelling
- In the event of a cancellation by the traveller more than 30 days before start date, 15% of the program cost will be forfeited. For cancellation 30 and 14 days before start date, 30% of the program cost will be forfeited. For cancellation less than 14 days before start date, 100% of the program cost will be forfeited. There is no refund after starting the program.
- The cancellation fee is payable within 14 days of the cancellation. Your payment is non-refundable should you fail to join the program or leave the program at any time. Click 'Ask a Question' for more information.
- Transfers from Melbourne
- Wildlife monitoring
- Guided nature walk
- Nocturnal wildlife experience
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel to the departure point
- Travel insurance
- Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' up above to chat to the operator directly!