At the start of my time in Australia I was a bit stressed because of the very long and exhausting flight and the search for the office. You suddenly find yourself in a new country, with a different language and bus and train system. At first you need to get used to all these changes and organize yourself. After I had made it to office all my stress disappeared. The local staff was very friendly and gave me a warm welcome. They helped me to organize my bus ticket and provided me with the information I needed.
Surprisingly, I was not going to stay in Melbourne for the following 4 weeks, but instead I was going to stay 3 of the 4 weeks in Warrnambool. Warrnambool is a small town in South-West Victoria, a 4 hours train ride away from Melbourne, also known as the western end of the great ocean road. It’s a cute little town, with lots of things to see, and three weeks are definitely enough time to spend in Warrnambool. I was lucky to have a very nice group of volunteers from Germany, the US, Japan and France and a team leader who spent a lot of time with us, also in his free time. He took us for example to Tower Hill, where I saw my first Wallaby and my first Koala. Most of the time we started working at 8 AM and finished working at 4 PM, but we also had to drive for at least one hour to reach our project location. Our work included for example the removal of invasive tree and plant species on a huge farm far away from civilization or constructing a fence around a Bandicoot enclosure. Unfortunately, I did not see a Bandicoot. It was sad to say to Goodbye to some of the volunteers who left after two weeks, but I stayed for another week at Warrnambool with another volunteer.
During my fourth week, I was staying in Melbourne with two other volunteers, which I was super excited about. We always finished working quite early which gave us a lot of time to explore the city. Over the week, we planted a lot of trees, which was my favorite work, because I was able to contribute something to the preservation of the Australian landscape which would stay there for a very long time if not forever!
I spent the following four weeks in Brisbane which I liked even better. One reason was definitely the weather, as it was a lot warmer with more sunshine than before. We spent every weekend in Brisbane and drove to another location from Monday till Friday. Again, I met a lot of very nice people in Brisbane and even camping in the rain was fun, because the team was great! Every week we drove to a different location and discovered many beautiful places in Queensland, which probably stay hidden from most tourists and backpackers. Often the work was quite repetitive, most of the time it was weeding, but we always had a lot of fun with the rest of the group and could enjoy the beautiful nature around us.
My time was full of adventures and very exciting. The 8 weeks flew by and I experienced many new things, have found new friends, collected new memories and learned a lot!
The local staff was super friendly and always caring for our well-being and safety. I also enjoyed it to meet new people from all over the world almost every week and to share our stories. I definitely do not regret taking part in this project and would like to volunteer again at some point. There are many other places in Australia which I would like to discover and I really like the country, so I will most likely come back to travel more and explore the rest of Australia. As a conservation volunteer, you have the chance to experience the country and its inhabitants from a different perspective and can visit amazing places, which you would probably not see as a regular tourist. Which is why I would like to send a big Thank you to NATUCATE for placing me at this project, helping me to organize my trip and making this incredible experience possible for me!