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Stories from our backyard: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Jan 20, 2021 | Australia, Victoria

I don’t know about you, but weeding is not top of my list when it comes to how I spend my downtime. But it does bring great joy to some people, particularly if they know it is doing a lot of good beyond eliminating those pesky intruders. Strangely enough, apart from Koala spotting, weeding is one popular component in the myriad of tours on offer with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours who are based out of Melbourne, Australia. After the devastating bushfires from 2019-20, this leading wildlife journey operator is all about positive conservation and encouraging visitors to help with the rebuild of Australia’s animal population, and most notably, their habitat.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Janine Duffy & Koala

Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout in 1993, and since then have been providing high quality nature and wildlife experiences for small groups of international and domestic travellers. Most of their tours are in the wildlife-rich regions of south-eastern Australia (primarily near Melbourne, Victoria), as well as offerings in West Australia, Northern Territory & far north Queensland. Their tours range from a half-day to 8 days and all feature specialist expert wildlife guides who love identifying the wildlife and sharing their knowledge with you. The wildlife tours cover everything from Koala spotting, swimming with Whale Sharks, bird surveys, exploring wildlife in the Top End, and visiting wildlife locations best known for their diverse wildlife population.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Emu chicks Mungo National Park

It’s all about positive conservation…

Echidna Walkabout are a Conservation Travel specialist, which is a style of travel that always aims to nurture and give back to nature and to the wildlife that we love. Their tours are designed to minimise the negative effects on the environment, and positively create a sense of wonder, an understanding, a power to change for the better. Which is why every one of their tours has a conservation action. By choosing one of these tours, you will help nature while you enjoy it! Conservation actions are small components of the tour – on day tours just 5 minutes, on extended tours up to 30 minutes.  Conservation actions range from light weeding to bagging up discarded fishing net, planting eucalyptus trees, and helping a guide record birds for atlas submission.  They are designed to be fun and easy.  Combined, these small Conservation actions achieved by thousands of guests on tours each year make a big impact.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Koala tree planting

Which brings me back to the weeding.  Koalas are finicky eaters at the best of times and they certainly don’t like residing in areas that have the boneseed weed as found at the You Yangs Regional Park. Echidna Walkabout discovered as much and as a result of their collective efforts of pulling out over 2.4 million weeds they have been rewarded with an increase in the Koala population in this region. Its great news indeed as its only area in the You Yangs where the Koala population has increased!

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Clancy, Koala male

Help nature while you enjoy it…

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours are more than a proud Australian Wildlife Tour operator with a window-view into the local wildlife. They are also a major supporter and donor of the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Foundation. Each participant on an Echidna Walkabout tour helps koalas with a proportion of their tour price contributing to saving wild animals, funding wild Koala research, removing invasive weeds and planting koala trees.

The catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 caused a lot of destruction of lives both human & wildlife, as well as destruction of more than 11 million hectares (110,000 sq.km/27.2 million acres) of bush, forest and parks across regions of Australia. But bushfires are also a catalyst of amazing regeneration, and so it is that a worthwhile outcome has been the positive conservation focus of our wildlife tour operators such as Echidna Walkabout. Lonely Planet recognised Australia in the 2021 Best in Travel Awards for Community Restoration and make sure to watch this video to see Janine Duffy featured, telling the Echidna Walkabout story, as a worthy contributor to Australia’s Community Restoration Award.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Eastern Grey Kangaroo mob You Yangs

As you can see, there are plenty of very good reasons to support Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours and the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Foundation. Make sure to include one of their tours on your wish list for your next Australia holiday…. I know I will be doing just that 🙂


The summer season (December-February) is traditionally the most popular time to visit. The daytime temperatures average 26 degrees Celsius and the nights are cool. The shoulder seasons just prior and after summer are also good times with less crowds but expect the daytime maximum to drop to 20 degrees. Perfect weather for all activities.

Good to know:

The You Yangs Regional Park is 60km south-west of Melbourne, and only 20km north of Geelong. It’s location is perfect as it’s also on the doorstep to the Great Ocean Road drive. The You Yangs deliver plenty of Aussie bush to explore on the many bushwalks, mountain bike trails and picnic areas. Nearby, Geelong has plenty of cafes, tantalising restaurants, and interesting shops as well as a fantastic waterfront esplanade boardwalk. Then it’s only a 30-minute drive to Torquay (our surf capital) and the start of the stunning 240km Great Ocean Road. You could easily stay for 4 days as there is plenty to do! Apart from a tour with Echidna Walkabout and the magnificent Great Ocean Road drive, other top highlights of the region include:  a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles, chase some waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park, spend a day at a picture-perfect beach, teach the whole family to surf and of course more wildlife activities such as spot the kangaroos at Anglesea and swim with wild dolphins at Queenscliff. Read more on the Great Ocean Road.

And finally:

AET Travel (formerly Australia Expat Travel) specialises in exceptional holidays to Australia and New Zealand. We make it simple with our local knowledge, seamless logistics and trusted advice since 2004. Expect a bespoke itinerary curated with the big picture and the small details. Contact Us

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