It is a great pleasure to welcome Wildlife Wonders onboard as an Advanced Ecotourism certified member of the Ecotourism Australia family.
Wildlife Wonders is 5km south of scenic Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, surrounded by the beautiful beaches of the Bass Strait and the glorious mountains of the Otway Ranges. It was established by the Conservation Ecology Centre (owners of Ecotourism Australia Green Travel Leader accommodation business, the Great Ocean Ecolodge) as an initiative to introduce flora and fauna to visitors which they have never seen or are very unlikely to see in the wild.
A 1.4km, 75-minute guided tour with an experienced conservationist guide enlightens guests with countless interesting facts and exciting stories. This ecotourism attraction engages people with nature and invests 100% of its operating surplus into conservation projects. Brian Massey – an Art Director of “The Hobbit” films and the landscape designer of New Zealand’s award-winning Hobbiton experience, has crafted and created the Wildlife Wonders experience with the support of a team led by Conservation Ecology Centre’s COO, Shayne Neal. As they have recognised, every Otway journey is magical, from walking through a rainforest, hunting waterfalls to searching for glow worms and admiring ancient forests to discover mysteries behind historic shipwrecks. Yet, there is always a special kind of magic behind the experience provided by Wildlife Wonders.
To educate younger generations on Australian wildlife and the importance of protecting it, Wildlife Wonders offer discounted guided tours for school groups with a whole range of free activities including storytime for pre-schoolers, protected paper animal folding sessions, kids’ talks on different species and more.
The Wildlife Wonders café and gift shop are open to the public and all profits contribute to the conservation of unique Australian plants and animals across the Otways. Many species that have been driven to extinction in other parts of Australia still survive within the habitats of Otways. However, without significant action, there is a high possibility for these species to vanish forever. Koalas, eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons, eastern bettongs, southern brown bandicoots, long-nosed potoroos, sugar gliders, feathertail gliders, Otway black snails, southern boobooks, laughing kookaburras, superb fairy-wrens, gang-gang cockatoos, eastern yellow robins, common blue-tongued lizards, southern brown tree frogs, southern right whales and humpback whales are some such species that Wildlife Wonders has paid special attention to.
“Wildlife Wonders provides an alternative funding model for conservation – helping us break free of short-term funding cycles – leading to more effective and efficient conservation efforts.” – Lizzie Corke, CEO
Wildlife Wonders is a social enterprise based on three key enablers: engagement, enterprise and ecology – and they adopt Ecotourism Australia’s definition of ecotourism in their operations. Through this social enterprise business model, every visitor to Wildlife Wonders becomes a part of their research and conservation efforts in protecting wildlife and nature. Their purpose in business is to support wildlife conservation and research across the region and beyond through community engagement.
We encourage Wildlife Wonders to continue their good practice in protecting and conservating Australian flora and fauna and raising awareness, especially among younger generations. We are proud to call you family!
[All images courtesy of Wildlife Wonders.]