A hands-on wildlife monitoring experience helping to rewild the Little Desert in Western Victoria
This hands-on wildlife research experience takes place in the vast, striking landscapes of the Little Desert. Located 375km west of Melbourne, near Dimboola in western Victoria, the Little Desert National Park covers 132,647-hectares (327,780-acres) and extends from the Wimmera River in the east to the South Australian border in the west near Naracoorte.
More than 670 species of native plants can be found in the Little Desert, representing about 20% of Victoria’s indigenous flora. The biodiversity of natural habitats makes the national park one of the best places to see Australian native wildlife in their natural habitat; including kangaroos, emus, wallabies, bandicoots, bettongs, possums, gliders, bats, many kinds of reptiles, and over 220 bird species. Birds to spot include the elusive Mallee Fowl, the rare Southern Scrub Robin Parrot, wrens, currawongs, and honeyeaters.
Through land clearing and feral animal impact wildlife species that were once common to the Little Desert region are now endangered or vulnerable in the wild. The Rewilding the Desert is a long-term wildlife conservation project which aims to reintroduce wildlife species back into the area, including:
- Western quoll (vulnerable)
- Spot-tailed quoll (endangered)
- Red-tailed black cockatoo (endangered)
- Malleefowl (vulnerable)
- Numbat (vulnerable)
- Red-tailed phascogale (endangered)
- Western barred bandicoot (endangered)
- Bilby (vulnerable)
- Burrowing Bettong (vulnerable)
- Brush-tailed Bettong (endangered)
During the week you will assist our researchers to set and check wildlife traps and record data. The data is used to establish information on what wildlife species are currently in the region and ultimately the success of the rewilding program.
At the end of a rewarding day return to your comfortable ensuite accommodation at Little Desert Nature Lodge – our private conservation reserve complete with emus, kangaroos, bandicoots and a myriad of bird life – right on your door step.
Expedition Tour highlights
- Practical, hands-on wildlife survey experience lead by researchers
- Exploring the Little Desert on guided walks with our experienced local guides
- Guaranteed wildlife sightings including kangaroos, bandicoots, emus, bettongs, brushtail possums and much more
- Spectacular scenery of the Little Desert National Park
- Guided private conservation reserve and Mallee Fowl Sanctuary tour
- The opportunity to support the Rewilding the Desert, wildlife conservation project
- Small group of 10 or less
- Comfortable 3.5 star ensuite accommodation
- 8 – 13 April and on request – 2 PLACES LEFT
All prices are for 6 days, per person.
- Twin/Double ensuite room: AUD $1,780 per person
- Single ensuite room: AUD $2,080 per person
Day 1: Travel to Little Desert Nature Lodge and Conservation Reserve
Depart Melbourne at 8am and travel to Little Desert Nature Lodge. The journey is approximately 4 – 5 hours. Arrive and settle into our accommodation before an overview on the ‘Rewilding the Desert’ wildlife conservation project which aims to reintroduce wildlife species which were once common to the Little Desert back into the wild. In the late afternoon, we head out into the conservation reserve to set up the wildlife traps. Evening group dinner.
Meals: Afternoon Tea and Dinner
Day 2: Wildlife Monitoring and Aboriginal Experience
An early morning start to check wildlife traps. Alongside our experienced staff help to check pitfall traps and record data on the wildlife that has been captured. The data is used to determine the current base line population of wildlife in the region.
After lunch, we are joined by one of the Aboriginal Elders from the Wimmera region for a welcome to country and authentic Aboriginal experience connecting you to the people, wildlife and culture of this country.
Evening dinner and weather permitting camp fire under the stars. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3-5: Little Desert Wildlife Monitoring Activities
Each morning we head out to check traps. It’s an early start, leaving just on sunrise, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful sunrise vistas and wildlife. Alongside our experienced staff help to check pitfall traps and record data on the wildlife that has been captured. The data is used to determine the current base line population of wildlife in the region.
During the day’s there is time to relax, discover the conservation reserve and adjoining National Park on foot, or visit the nearby Mallee Fowl conservation sanctuary. The region is home to interesting flora and fauna, including over 220 bird species.
The late afternoons are spent resetting the traps for the following morning. Our evenings are spent enjoy time together over an evening meal, share stories from the day, enjoy some of the clearest night skies and stargazing. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 6: Depart Little Desert Nature Lodge
Early morning trapping activities before returning for lunch and our return journey to Melbourne city with an approximate return time of 5.30pm. Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.
This research expedition is graded Moderate. Suitable for moderate fitness levels, with light walking on average up to 3 kilometres a day.
Over 30% of Australia’s mammals and around 14% of birds are threatened or extinct in the wild. This tour supports Rewilding the Desert, a wildlife conservation project aiming to combat species extinction in Western Victoria. Conservation Volunteers and the FAUNA Research Alliance are ‘Rewilding the Desert’ – restoring wildlife habitat, protecting threatened species and reintroducing wildlife back into wild. The initiative will reintroduce some of Australia’s most vulnerable wildlife back into their original habitats including the Western Quoll, Malleefowl and Western barred Bandicoot, among others.
You will be staying at 3.5 star ensuite accommodations. With nature and wildlife right at your doorstep, the lodge offers the prefect accommodation base. All rooms include linen, heating and air-conditioning, tea and coffee facilities, and wifi.
- 5 nights ensuite room accommodation at Little Desert Nature Lodge
- return transfers from Melbourne
- meals as indicated in the program itinerary – breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners
- experienced local wildlife rangers
- Rewilding the Desert Wildlife research activities
- Aboriginal welcome to country and cultural experience
- alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (can be purchased from the restaurant at additional cost)
- travel to the departure point
- travel insurance
- items of a personal nature
- lunch on day 1
Departs: Melbourne 8am – CVA Office 120 Rosslyn Street West Melbourne or North Melbourne Train Station
Returns: Melbourne approximately 5.30pm
NB: If flying out from Melbourne please book flights after 7pm
If travelling on to Adelaide post tour, we can drop you at the Nhill railway station to catch the train across or at the bus station to catch the Fire Fly bus service that travels to Adelaide.