Various locations throughout Australia
Australia has always been a place where I wanted to go. My friend and I were looking into traveling there and after some Google search we found the Wild Animal Sanctuary through GoEco. What we wanted most was to be able to get hands on experience with animals and GoEco provided us that. After our long flight to Australia my friend and I were met at the airport by the onsite program adviser.
We stayed for a total of two weeks and it was not long enough at all! The first two days were spent exploring the city of Sydney and all of the tourist stuff. For example seeing the Opera House, Darling Harbor, the Bridge, Australia’s Museum, the Anzac memorial and even just the beautiful skyline. During this time we stayed in a hostel. A hostel is a like a hotel but geared towards backpackers. They are great and are cheaper than hotels. During this time I was able to get amazing photos and was taught by my adviser the “do’s and don’ts” of Australian culture.
After the two days our adviser brought us to the train station where we headed off to Gosford. Here we were picked up by the wildlife sanctuary’s owner who took us to the park. During the week we stayed on site at the wildlife sanctuary. This is a sanctuary for wildlife animals who would not be able to make it on their own. The park is enclosed by an electric fence to ensure no predators would be able to get in. Since the fence is in place there is the ability for some of the animals to roam free. Another cool thing about the park is that it is a National Park due to the traces from the aboriginal people.
During my days at at the sanctuary we had ranger days and field days. Field days are where we did some manual labor of clearing the bush and even getting to build a fence. These were the days where you got to spend some close time with other volunteers. At the end of the day, if the weather was OK, we got to make a burn pile and burn all of the broken branches we had collected. These fires were amazing to watch.
Even though these days were cool, I enjoyed ranger days the most. On these days you were paired with a ranger and got to do everything they did. This included feeding, cleaning, and in some cases even treating the animals. There were so many animals at the park that it was so much to see every day. My favorite part was getting to know each animal and their story. Every animal at the park has a name and is looked after carefully. It was great because you weren’t just standing behind a fence looking at the animal you were in the enclosure handling and helping.
During the weekend we had some time off and this is when we got to explore some more of Australia. My friend and I ventured to the Olympic Park which was where the 2000 Olympics were held. I got to see the archery fields and even run through the BMX old tracks. On the same day we took trains and a bus to Bondi beach. This was amazing! I wish the weather would have been better as it felt like we got caught in a sand storm! But the view and the water was well worth it.
Travelling in Australia is very easy, unlike other areas of the world. Almost everyone you meet is happy and friendly. Everyone is willing to help or even have a simple conversation with a smile. This country has so much to offer and, like I said before, two weeks were not long enough! I miss the animals and people that I got to spend my days with and the amazing country. I will be going back! – Nicole