Around the world, night vision goggles are used by the military and law enforcement agencies. In Byron Bay’s hinterland, they’re used by tourists.
It’s an experience not possible anywhere else in Australia, and for lucky guests travelling with our newest certified operator, Vision Walks, this patented, once-in-a-lifetime night walking tour of the bush provides a unique insight into Australia’s nocturnal animals in their natural habitat.
Of Vision Walks’ four tours which have just achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification, the night vision walk is the most unusual, but not the only one which gives guests a unique, fun and educational experience.
Indeed, Vision Walks pride themselves on delivering eco tours which help guests to connect with the local environment and learn about local life in and around beautiful Byron Bay, and deliver fantastic visitor experiences through a number of interesting itineraries.
All nature tours are led by qualified environmental scientists, so guests can rest assured that they’re going to get a unique insight into the world around them from someone who has studied the natural environment closely.
Have you ever wondered why most of Australia’s mammals are marsupials? Or wanted to know what Byron Bay’s hippies have to do with saving the rainforest? On Vision Walks’ tours, you’ll discover all of this and more.
Vision Walks is the brainchild of Wendy Bithell, a qualified Park Ranger and ex-employee of BBC in London. Wendy blends humour and passion for the natural world into her tours, and encourages her guests join her on explorations of discovery in this beautiful part of northern New South Wales.
Wendy’s sidekick is Gary Opit, former ABC North Coast weekly wildlife segment host, and an authority in all things nature identification. Gary spent a few years working in Papua New Guinea as well as running wilderness expeditions in Honolulu before settling in the Northern Rivers region, which he says is a fascinating biodiversity hotspot because of its varied topographies and landscapes.
The team at Vision Walks value their role as an educator of visitors to their part of the world and are dedicated to developing people’s appreciation and understanding for nature. Their tours strike a good balance between activity and rest, with night vision walks ending with a hot chocolate gazing up at the starry heaven above and their wildlife safari including a locally sourced picnic in the rainforest.
The company works hard to reduce its carbon emissions by planting trees that also provide habitats for koalas and encourages their guests to take part in their tree planting days as well. The guides are also trained wildlife rescuers and work closely with WIRES Wildlife Rescue and the New South Wales parks and wildlife service to monitor and rescue animals.
We are excited to welcome Vision Walks to the Ecotourism Australia community and congratulate them on achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification for their Night Vision Walk, Wildlife Safari, Minyon Falls Walk and Nightcap Historic Track Walk tours!
Just Cruisin 4WD Tours understands that you haven’t experienced Australia if you haven’t seen it through Indigenous eyes. Ranging from 5-day to 13-day tours, guests are given the opportunity to see Australia in the most authentic, raw way possible on Just Cruisin’s Aboriginal Cultural Tours.
Every Aboriginal Culture Tour offered is operated with Indigenous guides in their homeland, bringing tourist dollars directly into local indigenous communities.
And who better to explore with than a local who is an expert in living off the land? Guests have the opportunity to relax under the shade of a river red gum while enjoying stunning sunrises and sunsets and marvelling at the clear night sky in the Australian bush. While guests explore the land of contrasts, local Indigenous guides are able to explain how they lived off the land for thousands of years and guests will get an insight into a time before settlement.
Indigenous language is tied into every aspect of these tours as well, as the Respecting Our Culture certified business believes it is very important to keep the local indigenous language and culture alive.
“It opens a whole new world to my clients,” explains Just Cruisin 4WD Tours’ Paul Douglas.
For some, the vast and distant outback of Australia may feel strange and very far from home. For the tour guides, however, it feels like home. The team at Just Cruisin will make it feel like home for you too, incorporating wow-worthy Indigenous stories to spark your imagination and opening your mind through their bush tucker tours.
Thank you, Just Cruisin 4WD Tours, for sharing your story with us!
Have you read the other articles in this series?
Calling all comfort-loving adventurers! Melbourne Private Tours is a full-service luxury private touring operator which takes you into the nooks and crannies of Melbourne and regional Victoria to discover the hidden gems of this beautiful and diverse state. Founded in 2006 by two local Melbournites, the company exudes local knowledge on their indulgent travel and culinary experiences.
Offering a range of carefully crafted itineraries as well as fully customisable experiences to suit every individual, family and group, Melbourne Private Tours’ itineraries and experiences place an emphasis on touching, tasting, connecting and learning. Working closely with their extensive network of personal contacts in Victoria to provide guests with immersive and innovative experiences, Melbourne Private Tours aim to exceed travellers’ expectations by giving them a behind the scenes insight into the nooks and crannies of Melbourne and surrounds that other visitors will not get the chance to see. As Director Josh Oakes says, it’s about ‘meeting the faces behind the places.’
With an understanding of their state’s dependence on the natural environment and a commitment to both showcasing this and doing their part to protect it for future generations, Melbourne Private Tours works hard to partner only with suppliers that have environmental management plans in place and only take visitors to wildlife sanctuaries that are publicly committed to preserving endangered species. In the future, Melbourne Private Tours hopes to offer 100% carbon neutral tours.
We are pleased to welcome Melbourne Private Tours to the Ecotourism Australia community and congratulate them on achieving Nature Tourism Certification for their tours: Phillip Island Ranger-Led Adventure, The Great Ocean Road, A Foodie’s Journey Through the Mornington Peninsula and Grampians Adventure.
Respecting Our Culture certified, cultivated by a passionate team and managed by the Indigenous community, the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience at Rainforestation Nature Park provides a platform for Indigenous culture to come alive.
Pioneered in 1993, with the permission from local Elders, the Rainforestation Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience includes a Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance show in a rainforest amphitheatre, a Dreamtime Walk and a Rainforest Walkabout. These products showcase hunting techniques along the likes of spear and boomerang throwing, as well as enhancing visitors’ knowledge of Aboriginal traditions that were learnt in the wilderness on the spiritual transition into manhood. By bringing these tourism experiences to life, local Indigenous people are given a platform to share their culture, history and stories.
The Indigenous guides at Rainforestation Nature Park convey their heritage and culture in a hands-on manner. Since the beginning, the Rainforestation team has encompassed influential Indigenous figures of the community to ensure factual and authentic experiences for everyone who visits. An excellent example of this is the input from William Enoch Tranby, who currently works as the Cultural Development Officer for the CaPTA Group and is a Traditional Owner in Kuranda and Cairns tribal groups.
Without the appropriate recognition and authority, the experiences delivered would not be of such a high standard as they are at Rainforestation Nature Park. It is through the team’s expertise, forward thinking and cultural appropriateness that Rainforestation Nature Park are leading the way in cultural preservation.
“It means a lot to share the language of the oldest continual living culture in the world,” says Amanda Perry from Rainforestation Nature Park. “It ensures that this incredible culture is kept alive and known by guests from all over the world.”
Local Indigenous dialect is infused into all aspects of the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. This includes the Aboriginal words for cassowary and honey tree in the dance show. The Pamagirri dancers also introduce themselves as their totem names, which is something that audiences may have never heard of before. Stories are weaved throughout all of the Aboriginal experiences in an entertaining and engrossing manner.
With input form the Indigenous community for every step of the process, Indigenous people of the area are able to express themselves and their culture and traditions to visitors, in turn preserving one of the worlds oldest and most beautiful cultures alive.
Thank you, Rainforestation, for sharing your story with us!
Have you read the other articles in this series?