Visitors to the Great Ocean Road can experience the unique wildlife of the region in a totally new way as a new ecotourism attraction opens its doors for the first time.
The first of its kind experience gives visitors the opportunity to see local wildlife in a wild setting like never before - with each visit also supporting local environmental conservation projects.
Australia’s iconic koalas and kangaroos will feature alongside more elusive species such as potoroos and bandicoots at Wildlife Wonders, where visitors will be able to experience all the magic of a thriving Otways ecosystem during a 75-minute tour with a conservationist guide.
Leonie Bowles, Director, Wildlife Wonders, said, “The stunning hills and forests of the Otways are home to many threatened species which have been lost from other places, but the rugged nature of this landscape, and shyness of these animals means you are unlikely to catch a glimpse of many of them in the wild. At Wildlife Wonders you have the opportunity to see these animals as never before, living freely in a protected bushland setting, while you enjoy the sights of a thriving Otways ecosystem.”
Wildlife Wonders is a not-for-profit ecotourism experience and social enterprise created to showcase what the Otways landscape was once like and could be again – with all profits going back into local environmental conservation projects.
Lizzie Corke OAM, CEO, Conservation Ecology Centre, said, “The Wildlife Wonders experience was developed by the Conservation Ecology Centre with this dual purpose in mind. It’s a chance for visitors to learn more about the incredible plants and animals of the region, at the same time generating vital funding for wildlife and ecosystem conservation and research, which will help to restore and protect these unique species and their habitats in the wild.”
Danielle Green, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, said, “We understand how tough it has been for tourism operators and communities along the Great Ocean Road - that’s why we’re supporting high impact, high value, projects like Wildlife Wonders. This will help to drive tourism to the region in the long-term while showcasing and protecting some of our most unique and beautiful wildlife.”
The project has been supported by a US$2 million grant from the Australian Government under the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages, a US$1.5 million grant from the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund and funding from the The William Buckland Foundation, The RE Ross Trust and local individual supporters.