Feeling jaded? Try a green adventure which to slow down, soothe your spirit, and fully appreciate Mother Nature.
The Maria Island walk
This award-winning walk in Maria Island National Park, off Tasmania's east coast, is a sure way to beat the crowds - the island has a population of just two park rangers. The walk takes a maximum of eight guests, who are guided on a gentle journey of 30 kilometres over four days by two guides, and it encompasses pristine beaches, the world’s largest Tasmanian Blue Gum forests and convict settlements which hark back to a more turbulent era.
The journey starts and finishes in Hobart and includes two nights in twin share, beachfront camps, and a final night at world heritage-listed Bernacchi House. The wildlife includes kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and echidnas, while the birdlife includes the endangered forty spotted pardalote, Cape Barren geese (the world’s second rarest breed), eagles, and numerous sea birds. The crystal clear waters include protected marine reserves abundant with dolphins, seals, and migrating whales.
If you’re like me, you can tell a seagull from a kookaburra but that’s about it. Well, did you know that about 780 migratory birds call Australia home, and Australian birders Richard Baxter and Phil Hansbro can tell you about every one of them? Richard and Phil run Birding Tours Australia from Newcastle, and offer a variety of tours such as waders, night, eight habitats and parrot tours (to name a few). Phil and Richard also take groups out to sea to get closer to seabirds, and go to offshore destinations like the Cocos-Keeling Islands.
The Beanies, Baskets and Bushtucker experience lets you sit around the campfire and learn to crochet mukata (beanies) or weave tjanpi (grass) baskets while sharing stories and bushtucker with Pitjantjatjara women. These workshops are run in Old Alice Springs Gaol in Alice Springs Desert Park, which is part of the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame where hundreds of women are recognised for their special contributions to Australia’s heritage.
Australian Desert Expeditions is a registered environmental organisation which conducts scientific and ecological surveys into remote inland regions. Anyone can join an expedition and assist scientists in their work. This might involve collecting and documenting botanical specimens, assisting with marsupial trapping, or helping with anthropological, archaeological or palaeontological recovery. The expeditions continue the historical spirit and cultural heritage of 19th and 20th century expeditions. Everyone travels on foot supported by pack camels making them walking treks – not camel riding safaris. This experience reconnects the trekker to the land as they experience the gentle pace of nomadic life. Participants are also given lessons in navigation, bush cooking, mapping, and topographical data collections.
Corporate lawyer turned change catalyst Helen Gregoriou offers expeditions to outback Australia with a twist, taking guests on a journey of self-discovery across sacred indigenous lands. She says Initiate journeys are designed to accommodate progression in life wisdoms and entwine two ancient cultures – Ayurveda and indigenous Australia.
Guests learn daily lifestyle routines for self-healing to reclaim and maintain optimum health and improve vitality and awareness. They are offered an Ayurvedic health and wellbeing consultation, food is prepared by blending Ayurvedic principles with fresh, organic seasonal produce, and interactive indigenous workshops, guided walks and meditations, and sunrise Qi Gong are offered. Workshops delve into the real nature of what making change in your life is all about. Initiate Tours offers 2 nights stay on sacred indigenous land, by special invitation only, to experience real ‘healing country’ and share in the untouched landscape and vibrant history-soaked culture. Every Initiate experience is as individual as it is a defining adventure of self-expression.
The monastic life isn’t for everyone, but a weekend might just be the tonic needed to refocus and regenerate. The Nan Tien Temple, in Unanderra NSW, offers weekend meditation retreats every month. Retreaters stay in the Pilgrim Lodge, eat vegetarian meals, receive teaching in Buddhist meditation and, of course, meditate.
Scattered across 2.5 million hectares and encompassing about 12,000 species, many of which are unique to this part of the world (and thousands have yet to be named by botanists), Western Australia’s wildflowers burst into life between July and November, forming spectacular displays. Many flower in inhospitable areas, making the experience of walking among them a humbling and uplifting experience.