Project: Nature Conservation in Australia and New Zealand
Location: Cairns/Australia and Auckland/New Zealand
Duration: New Zealand: Mid-May until beginning of June 2018 (3 weeks) – Australia: Beginning of June until mid-June 2018 (2 weeks)
Support from NATUCATE: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Arrival: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Project Partner: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
Accommodation: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✫
1) Could you give us a short overview of your activities/tasks in the project?
In New Zealand we mainly worked in nature reserves where we planted trees or arranging plants which were planted by others. In Cairns we were involved in different projects each day: taking care of tree cangaroos, feeding turtles, counting plants and laying out a garden.
2) What were your biggest challenges during the project?
A lot of times the team leader in Auckland didn’t give us enough information on what we are supposed to do. We often had to find out ourselves what he meant and what our tasks were.
3) Was there anything that you liked most? Or anything that left you with a negative impression?
I really loved that one rainforest trip we did, close to Cairns. It took place in the evening, with the intention to count frogs. Driving a “mule”, which is a kind of quad, was also lots of fun! We used this mule to transport plants.
4) Did you have certain expectations before you started the project? If yes, did the project meet your expectations, disappoint or maybe even exceed them?
I tried to not have any expectations and decided to simply wait and see. The only thing I hoped for: meeting nice people and to not get bored. Both things worked out well: I met lots of fun and nice people and it never became boring.
5) Did you do anything during your free time that you can recommend to other participants?
It is quite easy to go on weekend trips from Auckland, for example to Cape Reinga in the north or to Hobbiton in the south – these are trips I went on. Between my two projects I traveled New Zealand a little more – I recommend everyone doing so! Our usual leisure time activities were watching movies, reading books or simply sitting together and talking. In Cairns we went on day trips to different rainforests as well as a diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef, including an overnight stay on an island by the reef. As we were accommodated in a hostel in Cairns I was able to go into town with friends in the afternoon/evening.
6) Which tips/recommendations would you give to other participants who would like to do this project? (e.g. tips that would have helped you before your journey)
Bring a sleeping bag for your stay in New Zealand! It is also a good idea to take a pillow or at least a pillow case with you – if you don’t want to sleep on the same pillow as others before you. Fresh bedsheets are always available. Moreover, you should definitely pack warm clothes when joining the project in winter – also for sleeping, because there is no central heating and it can become quite cold, especially at night. A clothes line is quite useful as well.
7) Can you guess how many additional expenses you had? – We can give this information to future participants.
In New Zealand I only had additional costs because of the weekend trips I went on. As an example: The cheapest option for an Auckland-Hobbiton day trip I found was approx. 130 NZ$ (about 75 euros), including entrance fee and guided tour. Excluding the stuff I paid for during my travel time I had additional costs of round about 400 euros. In Cairns my additional costs were approx. 500 euros, as I was accommodation right in the city and therefore spent more money on food etc. Keep in mind, though: The most expensive thing are day/weekend trips – which you do not need to do, of course. I paid approx. 130 AUS$ for my Great Barrier Reef diving trip (80 euros). The night I spent on Fitzroy Island, an island close to the reef, cost around 200 AUS$. I recommend bringing enough money to able to do something special once in a while, even if it is a little more expensive.