In 1993 Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout to foster respect for Australia’s wildlife and to ensure its wild and free-living future. Small group tours (2 to 8 passengers) depart Melbourne and travel to carefully chosen wildlife locations in south eastern Australia. Our Nature Guide training ensures Guides are knowledgable & respectful interpreters of wildlife. They are also trained in tour leadership and first aid and organize everything on our fully guided and catered journeys.
Our Wildlife Team provides support to our tours. Their research is passed on to our guests and to the National Parks Service, Field Naturalists Clubs and the Atlas of Australian Birds. Echidna Walkabout respects our Indigenous Cultures and is grateful to the Wathaurong and Gunnai communities for their support over many years.
Member since: 11 Jun 2010
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
- We employ Aboriginal Guides as much as possible. No non-Aboriginal person should speak for the Aboriginal People of Australia. In addition, we and our Aboriginal mentors teach our non-Aboriginal Guides about the protocols of dealing with, and speaking about, Aboriginal People.
- We buy locally produced fruit from our local market and independent businesses, where possible. All fruit supplied on tour is Australian grown. We buy locally produced sandwiches made by an independent small business within 500m of our office/base. Food is picked up each morning on foot, or on the way to the guest pickup.
- Our specialized food for Private tours is prepared by a local Aboriginal-owned business. We also create awareness and understanding of the local Aboriginal Culture by working with and learning from the local indigenous people.
- We take all rubbish with us when we go, often including anything we find left behind by others. All natural products (95% of our rubbish) are brought back to base and composted. We check the fireplaces left by others in the National Parks we visit, and put out any campfires left in a dangerous condition.
- We are active in promoting the care and rehabilitation of injured native wildlife. The owner and three of our Guides hold permits for wildlife rescue and care, and train all our staff to look out for injured native wildlife, and we carry a first aid kit for wildlife in all vehicles.
- We minimise vehicle travel and fuel use by employing local people and using local suppliers and businesses as much as possible. We minimize off-road vehicle travel. Our tours are designed in such a way that vehicle travel is conducted on made roads. We do not use four-wheel drive vehicles for passenger transport – they are not required and their energy costs are high.
- We only use 100% recycled office paper. When we can’t avoid printing documents, we double-side and recycle our own. All incoming paper is checked for a clean back and placed in the printer for another use. Our brochures and business cards are produced on 100% recycled stock
- The buildings at our wildlife habitat use solar-powered hot water, collect rainwater in tanks for drinking and washing, are fully 5 star rated energy-efficient design incorporating passive solar collection, double-glazed windows, full insulation to ceilings, walls and floors and use plantation and sustainably –harvested non-rainforest timbers throughout.
- All our Nature Guides, Field Guides and Researchers live locally – many in the smaller towns outside of Melbourne, close to the sites where we operate. We are active members of the local Field Naturalists Groups and Bird Observers Clubs in the areas we work in. We share our wildlife sightings with local people visiting the National Park – often passers-by notice our group looking at a koala, for instance, and so we invite them to join us for a short time to see and learn about the animal. This encourages local pride in the wildlife and in the area.
- We create awareness and understanding of the local Aboriginal Culture by working with and learning from the local indigenous people, employing indigenous people where possible, including them in tours where possible and passing on respect for their culture to our guests and staff. We promote and encourage Aboriginal–guided cultural interpretation on all group, special and private tours.