How to help in Australia on a luxury trip


As you know, Australia is suffering from catastrophic wildfires. In addition to the human toll, millions of wildlife have died. But you can still visit Australia safely, in fact you can even make a positive impact while you are there.

luxury volunteering australia

And Australia needs you more than ever!

Why?

Looking at just the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection as a small sample set… 19 lodges in 17 diverse regions across Australia – a continent the size of the USA, with just 25 million people.

Many of the lodges are leaders in their own right in sustainability in all its forms, a mandatory for businesses in today’s world.

But these lodges between them partner with well over 1,600 tourism-based businesses supplying products and services that are clearly visible to their guests, that are part of the appeal, the delivery of real, memorable, Australian experiences. These are our expert guides, our artists, gin distillers, winemakers, organic and specialist food producers, our craftspeople… the people of our places, our storytellers. They are essential to the rich fabric of our luxury lodge travel experiences.

This doesn’t include the businesses and services that are not visible to guests – the tradies, the mechanics, the behind the scenes local businesses and suppliers.

The vast majority of all these businesses are small to medium and family owned enterprises. They contribute enormously to the sustainability of the region they are based in and beyond.

  • Economically: by generating income that is spent and paid and circulates within the community
  • Culturally: by sharing the local expertise, craft, produce and character of the place
  • Community: via employment, sense of purpose and pride; and
  • Environmentally: on too many levels to deal with here.

All are essential to the economic survival of regional Australia. The economic contribution of a single lodge impacts deep into regional communities. Positively in good times, a potentially crippling void in bad. This degree of impact is mirrored across our tourism industry.

So yes, while some areas are facing devastating bushfires, the vast majority of Australia is safe to travel in and ready to welcome guests.

Here’s how you can make a difference on your luxury trip to Australia:

Wildlife Survey Counts in the Blue Mountains, NSW  

You can make a difference conserving some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife:

  • Helping with animal counting (Wombats, Kangaroos, Wallabies and Wallaroos)
  • Planting native trees
  • Weeding tree areas, irrigating and testing water quality for the animals to safely drink
  • Regenerating and rebuilding eroded areas along river beds
  • Helping with university research teams

You will learn a great deal about Australia’s flora and fauna, and play a role in preserving it.

Recommended eco-luxury accommodation: One & Only Wolgan Valley

Luxury volunteering Australia

Tree planting and wildlife counts on Kangaroo Island, SA

About a third of Kangaroo Island was lost to bushfires – countless wildlife. There are concerns for endangered wildlife recovery, especially for the endangered glossy black cockatoo. Kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, goannas and platypus have also perished. One of my favourite lodges, Great Ocean Lodge, was also destroyed.

You can help with tree planting, weed eradication, citizen science and wildlife observation/counts for species such as Koalas, Glossy-black Cockatoos and more impacted from the bushfires.

We also have new itineraries to explore the parts of this fascinating island unaffected by fire.

Recommended eco-luxury accommodation: Oceanview Eco-Villas

 Fund a Scholarship for a Promising Aboriginal Art Student

Near Uluru, you can fund a scholarship for a promising Aboriginal arts student, to give him/her a better chance at being able to decide their own sustainable future, and in return, meet with an established Aboriginal artist from whom you can commission your own unique work of art.

Recommended eco-luxury accommodation: Longitude 131

Support indirectly by visiting Tasmania and Queensland

The fabulous Saffire Lodge in Tasmania is donating $500 from its next 100 bookings to restore habitat on Kangaroo Island, equating to $50,000

As an island community that also thrives on natural wilderness, biodiversity and tourism, the funds will be channelled directly to Nature Foundation SA’s new fundraising appeal, the Wildlife Recovery Fund, which focusses on habitat recovery in Kangaroo Island’s national parks and other fire-affected areas. The work carried out from this fund will be critical in the rehabilitation and survival of the island’s unique wildlife such as the endangered glossy black cockatoo, the disease-free koala population, and the critically endangered Kangaroo Island dunnarts, to name a few. This will in turn support the vitality of Kangaroo Island’s tourism industry and ensure that future generations are able to experience native island fauna in the wild.

Saffire Freycinet holds conservation and protection of biodiversity close to its heart, having worked for the last six years in close conjunction with Wildcare Tasmania, DPIPWE, the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, and Menzies Research Institute.

Spicers Peak Lodges in Queensland were created to help travellers experience the Australian bush for themselves. Recent fire events and the ongoing drought will make this season one of the toughest on record. Rural Aid will play a significant role in supporting people in rural and remote areas while they get back on their feet.

In November and December 2019, Spicers Retreats raised over $45,000. Spicers Retreats will continue its fundraising efforts for Rural Aid in February.

For bookings made up until 29th February 2020, they’ll be donating 10% of the booking value to Rural Aid. Their aim is to raise an additional $20,000.

In conclusion

Do plan to visit Australia. It is times like this when the Australian character shines through and you will receive the warmest of welcomes, deepened by the shared experience of the land – a land that we have had a stark reminder is both fragile and resilient – all the more precious to us all.

Australia needs you…

Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (16)

  1. Ben says:

    As an American, I’m always blown away by the size of Australia and its population. I’ve been wanting to visit places like Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney for quite some time. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the whole country. All the money that’s currently being raised to help the country after the bushfires is really inspiring. I hope to get there soon.

  2. Steve says:

    Yes, Australia needs our support but let’s not forget what an amazingly. awesome and astounding place it is. There were always 100s of great reasons to visit. For those of us far away in the Northern Hemisphere it’s such a different world, literally he world turned upside down. I’d been planning to visit soon in the next year or so, the fires aren’t going to change my plans.

  3. Janet Gordon says:

    The Aboriginal Art scholarship is a brilliant idea. Throughout the world we ought to be making more effort to preserve the art of indigenous civilisations though I know that UNESCO is working hard to classify and record these cultures.

    Commissioning your own art work can be something of a two-edged sword. Fantastic that you are providing a commercial outlet for Aboriginal art work but so much depends on how far your First World 21st century tastes intrude into the design of the work.

  4. Roger says:

    Every cloud has its silver lining and one thing that Australia’s raging infernos have done is to make people realise how important the tourism industry is. When you write about 1,600 tourism based businesses it’s nice to hear about how many people are involved with the luxury lodges and good to see them get some recognition for their contributions. Too many people’s efforts are taken for granted nowadays.

  5. Vicky Matthews says:

    My friend and her husband went over there two weeks ago, they’d already booked a year or so ago so they didn’t want to lose out as they’ve got a place for 3 months. Really good point about supporting businesses and how income gets fed back to affect not just sustainability and the environment, but the culture and community of people there too. I’ll email this to them. It would make a trip feel more meaningful if you can do something to help and make a difference like this, doesn’t matter if it’s small because everything adds up. It’s horrific when there’s a manmade or natural disaster like this that causes such destruction but there’s something wonderful about the way individuals and businesses come together and do what they can. Nice to see the Saffire Lodge making donations too because I do feel particularly awful thinking of the habitats destroyed and animals hurt or killed after all these weeks on end of fires.

  6. Jez Brown says:

    As someone who spends most of his time sat at a computer the idea of hands-on help on Kangaroo Island is an interesting one, it would do me and the planet a bit of good to do some manual work. I’ve done big trips before and when you stay in hotels and travel about at times it can all seem a distant from reality and that’s why I’m thinking it would be good to get involved with a real project.

  7. Thanks for emailing this to your friends, Vicky, they will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to make a difference.

  8. Lisa says:

    It is so sad how many koalas have been killed as a result of the fires – such devastating impact to the Australian wildlife. But you are so right, the fires, although devastating did not mean the destruction of many places that tourists would like to travel for example, major cities were barely affected at all.

  9. Yes, Australia is a huge country, and once the virus issue is resolved, the exciting thing is that you can play a part in helping restore the wildlife population to proper amounts.

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