Australian Traveller Magazine looks at a Volunteer Travel program to Karijini National Park in WA.
Volunteer Travel in Karijini National Park
Helping the very country you’re there to see is the newest travel trend and with Conservation Volunteers Australia. Travellers can do just that – with a range of projects around Australia combining holidaying and volunteering.
“What we call ‘Voluntourism’ seems to have become an emerging and ever-growing area of demand,” says CVA manager Andrew Soltys. For good reason, too, with Soltys believing “travellers are getting a lot more out of Australia by volunteering.”
In response to this demand, CVA offer a range of volunteer projects in WA’s northwest, providing domestic and international travellers with the chance to see some spectacular and untouched areas of the outback, including Wolfe Creek Crater and the Bungle Bungles.
The projects give volunteers the opportunity to meet like-minded people from Australia and around the world, all while helping the conservation of the unique Australian environment.
Rio Tinto employer Sam Blanco, who visited Karijini National Park in 2007, said his colleagues had a ball and felt they had really contributed to WA. “My partner and I also had such a great time we decided to stay on an extra day and help the other volunteers,” says Blanco.
Bevan Buirchell spent 12 days in Mornington at a former cattle station, where he assisted ecologists researching fire regimes and trapping, tagging and observing native animals. But Buirchell insists it wasn’t all work. “We got to explore some beautiful parts of WA that few people have laid eyes on,” he says.
Buirchell also highlighted the diversity of volunteers, with his group coming from all walks of life and ranging from 18 to 62 years of age.
CVA is the nation’s largest practical conservation group, managing almost 2000 projects a year, including tree planting, erosion control, construction and maintenance of walking tracks and heritage protection. If you’re interested, you can see and help Australia for almost no cost, with overnight trips only $40, including food and accommodation. For more info on the scheme and upcoming trips, check out www.conservationvolunteers.com.au