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EXPLORING some of the best parts of Australia can have a positive impact not just on you, but on the very environment you're visiting

Conservation Volunteers is a fabulous organisation that has been recognised this year at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for its contribution to eco tourism, with ethical and responsible travel company, Naturewise.

And it's little wonder - this group brings together people who want to explore some of the country's most pristine environments and, at the same time, make a positive difference with their visit.

Conservation Volunteers has a range of tours going all over the country at any given time, but a couple well worth considering are upcoming Naturewise trips to Montague Island and the Grampians.

And the great thing is, Naturewise tours are priced so that everyone can afford to do something spectacular for themselves - and for the environment.

Montague Island

Montague Island is a spectacular nature reserve located on the New South Wales south coast, 9km offshore from the township of Narooma.

The island has been protected as a wildlife sanctuary for more than 50 years, and an exclusive overnight stay will reveal why.

Seabirds are in abundance, such as crested terns, shear waters and silver gulls.

Little penguins return each night to their island burrows, and playful Australian and New Zealand fur seals are year-round inhabitants.

Your stay on Montague Island can be as active or passive as you choose.

Guided by a local park ranger, it's easy to explore the island by foot, discovering its vast ecological and historical significance, revealed in 125 years of lighthouse history and native wildlife found around every corner.

Naturewise small group stays entice visitors back again and again to beautifully appointed four-star heritage guesthouse accommodation (part of the historic lighthouse quarters), and to actively participate in ongoing habitat restoration and wildlife monitoring projects.

Montague Island departure dates are: June 6-8, July 10-12, August 7-9, September 11-13, 17-19, 25-27, October 2-4, 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25, and many further departures are planned for November and December.

Three days on Montague Island for $550 per person is fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, boat transfers from Narooma and activities.

The Grampians

Make a positive change by taking a short break to Victoria's iconic Grampians National Park as part of a small team of like-minded individuals who are truly making a difference to the plight of endangered and threatened native wildlife.

For more than three years, Conservation Volunteers and Parks Victoria have joined forces to provide a real opportunity for people to participate in wildlife projects.

The Naturewise Conservation Holiday involves active participation - a hands-on role in vital wildlife research studies, monitoring the survival of small mammal species.

Each day you'll be transported by 4WD into remote locations within the park, armed with data-sheets, a clipboard and a UHF radio.

Close encounters with cute critters are common, as are regular sightings of other gorgeous Grampians residents - kangaroos, wallabies, emus and stunning birdlife.

With mornings dedicated to conservation activities, afternoons are enjoyed exploring the beauty of the Grampians National Park, visiting local attractions, or simply relaxing at the YHA Ecohostel.

Three nights inclusive of accommodation, meals and transport starts at $560 pp.

■ For more on these trips and bookings for other fabulous eco adventures, go to www.naturewise.com.au or free call 1800 032 501.


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