I arrived in Melbourne on Thursday night, ready to start my Australian Conservation Experience project with the GoEco on Friday morning. When I arrived at the office, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the project did not start until Monday and that I was free to explore Melbourne during the day.
I walked around the entire Central Business District which blew my mind. I loved all the little lane-ways with graffiti walls, and as a graphic designer, I appreciated all the establishments in the Arts Centre. After a weekend of discovering Melbourne hidden gems in the city, I was ready to start my project.
My team was sent to Tarra Bulga, a scenic area just a couple of hours outside of Melbourne. My team leader Luke was amazing. He was very knowledgeable and shared many great stories with us about his experiences in Australia and on various projects. I was afraid that I might be not physically fit enough for the tasks, but everything was at an efficient pace.
The team was very helpful and Luke gave great guidance on how to execute each task. In the evenings we would cook and eat our meals together like a family, then clean up and hang out chatting. It was great to do something different than what I usually do back home, the same routine. Being Canadian, I was happy to be making international friends with people from all around the world; the people on my team were from the Netherlands, England, Australia and New Zealand.
I didn’t know what to expect when deciding to volunteer in Australia at this conservation project, but I’ve learned so much in terms of nature, wildlife, the environment, and self-growth as well as how to travel by myself. I would highly recommend this project to anybody who is looking for adventure, looking for an affordable and great way to travel and meet other genuine individuals and, most importantly, if you care about the environment and want to learn more about nature and giving back.
I am still great friends with the people I met on this project. Volunteering in Australia really changed my life and was a wonderful experience. After our project ended, a few of us rented a car and took a trip out to see koalas and the beaches that surround Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road.