Southeast Queensland Birding and Wildlife Tour Specialist
Araucaria Ecotours is a family wildlife business run by Ronda, Denis and Darren Green since 1997, located in Southeast Queensland (just across the board from NSW) and in close proximity to a number of national parks. Our main guide will be Dr Ronda Green, who has conducted extensive research over the years in bird behaviour and ecology in Australian forests, and effects of habitat modification on wildlife largely in south-east Queensland.
Araucaria Ecotours aims to deepen visitors’ understanding of Australia’s wildlife while seeking kangaroos, platypus, fruitbats, birds, reptiles and much more with wildlife experts on eco-certified tours through coasts, mountains, and outback in areas of high biodiversity.
Southeast Queensland is one of Australia’s most diverse regions in terms of species and habitats, and what better way to explore it than with our wildlife experts who have conducted years of ecological research and fauna surveys in the area? If short on time, you can choose to see kangaroos, koalas, glow worms, fruitbats, rainforests, typical Australian bushland and waterfalls all in one day by exploring a scenic little island with many habitats very close to Brisbane, or go birdwatching in wetlands, bushland, and lush rainforest.
To get a substantial grasp of what makes Australia’s wildlife so different from the rest of the world, our wildlife overview tour is hard to beat. You will visit mountains, forests, wetlands, a wildlife park dedicated to conservation breeding and a sandy beach edged by woodland, instead of tourist accommodation. You will seek kangaroos, platypus, fruitbats, dolphins, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife as well as receiving a take-home book on Australia’s wildlife written by proprietor Ronda Green (PhD in zoology, many years’ experience in wildlife research and teaching all ages from kindergarten to university and adult education and author/editor of numerous publications on wildlife and wildlife tourism).
Outback tours run once or twice a year (autumn and spring), not to crowded tourist destinations but to wide open spaces way out west that maximise chances of red kangaroos, emus, Major Mitchell cockatoos, colourful parrots, sand monitors and other wildlife. Some of our other tours (on demand) include a three-day visit to the pre-historic-feeling tall forests of the Bunya Mountains, or to Girraween NP, with its massive granite boulders, many kangaroos and birds, and brilliant wildflower displays in spring.
All tours have advanced eco-certification, most are suitable for all ages and abilities, and all cater to special diets and many other individual needs. Most of the wildlife tours depart from Brisbane.
Araucaria Ecotours also offer custom Queensland wildlife day for multi-day tours with sufficient notice.
Ronda Green, BSc(Hons) PhD
Ronda is a research ecologist with a PhD in zoology who has conducted research – primarily on birds but also other wildlife – in the wilderness and altered habitats in four Australian states, but in recent decades mostly in southeast Queensland. She has also had several decades of experience in nature education for all ages, from pre-school through primary and secondary schools and children’s groups such as the Queensland Gifted and Talented Children’s Association to lecturing at universities and other tertiary institutions and running adult education classes. Apart from her ecological research (foraging ecology, rainforest seed dispersal by fruit-eating birds, effects of habitat modification on wildlife), she has studied play behaviour of captive chimpanzees, recreational and educational outdoor experiences for primary-aged children, positive and negative impacts of wildlife tourism, and sustainable wildlife tourism in Asia and the Pacific. Araucaria Ecotours, her current family company near Brisbane, which has been running since 1997 and has recently been incorporated into Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of fame, is the second business she has run providing nature tourism experiences, the first being a holiday farm she founded many years earlier in South Australia before pursuing academic studies. In addition to publications in the academic (scientific and tourism) literature, she has authored books on bush holidays, preparation of nature trails, Australian wildlife and wildlife tourism, plus many wildlife-related articles for the popular press, and is currently writing a book on animal-plant interactions and another on her experiences running the holiday farm. As chair of both Wildlife Tourism Australia and the Scenic Rim branch of Wildlife Queensland, she has run many conferences, workshops, wildlife expos and other events, and has been an invited speaker on sustainable wildlife tourism in Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan. Her handbook on running a wildlife tourism business is being used in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, and she is planning an updated version for late 2021. Other memberships include the Ecological Society of Australasia, the Biodiversity Working Group of TAPAS (IUCN), Australian Mensa, Australian Citizen Science Association and Protect the Bush Alliance. An enthusiastic traveller herself, she has visited wilderness areas and cities in all Australian states and territories and all non-polar continents, and bases much of her own tour programs on the kinds of information and experiences she seeks when visiting new places with different cultures and ecosystems to explore.
Darren grew up on a forested property in southeast Queensland with plenty of opportunities to
indulge his love of animals and nature generally, from gently removing snakes from our chicken
enclosure and disentangling horses from lantana thickets to taking many thousands of nature photos and having a platypus swim underneath him as he floated in our creek. His first camping experience was at six months of age at Binna Burra, where he was entranced by the birds he now pints out to our guests. He started assisting his zoologist mother (Ronda Green) with fauna surveys commissioned by governments and private land-owners from the age of eight and has continued to do so formally throughout adulthood, as well as fauna surveys for Wildlife Queensland’s Scenic Rim branch, of which he is currently treasurer and has recently been active in tree-planting for a wildlife corridors project. His driving record is spotless, never having even so much as a speeding or parking ticket in his more than twenty years behind the wheel. He has taken short courses in defensive driving and rally driving and has driven under many very trying conditions in busy cities, sandy outback tracks, long muddy roads and steep hillsides without incident, even once while being chased along a rocky road by an angry African elephant. He studied sound and light management as part of a drama course at university, is using his skills (including music competition) to develop educational videos, and travels to most Wildlife Tourism Australia and Wildlife Queensland (Scenic Rim) events to run the audiovisuals. He has also played his own music compositions at various public events and sang in productions by the Queensland Music Theatre (he has perfect pitch and has been trained in opera singing). He is also a committee member of WTA and has been secretary for the Lamington Natural History Association. He has travelled in wilderness and city areas in
most Australian states and territories as well as Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina and studied a little Spanish and Mandarin at university.
Araucaria Ecotours is a member of Ecotourism Australia, Wildlife Tourism Australia, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Brisbane Marketing and Scenic Rim Escapes
The Araucaria team are heavily involved with the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, and we also conduct fauna surveys for conservation groups and for local councils for conservation management.
Travelers wishing to book tours at a time when such projects are happening are sometimes invited to participate in such activities, with no additional costs except meals and sometimes accommodation or travel; that is separate from Araucaria Ecotours.
Guests on tour are encouraged to help find and photograph examples of animal/plant interactions, especially possibilities of pollination and seed dispersal, to assist with research by the proprietor which has conservation implications for designating, managing and enhancing local reserves and habitat corridors between them.
Coochiemudlo Coast Care is a conservation group conducting a weeding program, and guests on ecotours can, with prior notice assist, with this. Thus enabling the establishment of ephemeral orchids and other vulnerable plants and assisting the movements of small ground-dwelling lizards, frogs, and other native creatures.
Bags and gloves are often carried on tour for the collection of litter, including plastics that could otherwise end up in the sea to be swallowed by turtles, seabirds and marine mammals.
Unusual sightings of threatened species on the tours are reported to relevant bodies such as Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, to research ecologists or to local councils to assist with conservation plans.
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