GO BUSH Safaris is not an ordinary ecotourism outfit. We have a wealth of experience and networks to draw on as we embark on our 14th year. We provide the best quality environmental and cultural experiences. We not only target Australia's most outstanding natural areas, but we engage with them and their management.
Overseas Experience: The demand to revisit most of our former Australian destinations doesn't stop us moving in other exciting directions. As reported over the page as a result of our Thai adventure last January, we will be taking a safari (already booked out) there next January. We also spent 18 days in July in the United States both studying National Park management and attending the second reunion for Goldman Environmental Prize winners in San Francisco. Two of the parks visited now attract more than 2.5 million annually and it is illuminating to observe how they cope with such heavy visitation. More details of this trip and our observations are on the web at www.sinclair.org.au..
Our Tropical Rainforests and Reef safari continues to be an annual highlight and we get to visit some wonderful places and renew old friendships. The Wet Tropics are a major project area for GO BUSH Safaris . We continue to encourage and support the on-going research into rainforest ecology at the Cape Tribulation Research Station which provides valuable insights into the oldest and most complex rainforests on Earth and some of its special attributes.
Fraser Island: Historically we are more closely identified with Fraser Island than any other area. The management of this wonderful island continues to consume many of our hours each week. Our intimate knowledge though means that GO BUSH offers the most comprehensive safaris to this great natural wonder of the world. It is surprising that demand for our annual 9 day safari is not greater given that it includes whale watching in Hervey Bay, exploring the Mary Valley, Maryborough and more.
Shark Bay: Our Western Australian safaris continue to be very popular. Because John had to attend an important workshop on Fraser Island's World Heritage status last November, he could not lead the Shark Bay trip personally. However, the safarists who had been on other GO BUSH Safaris with John were eulogistic in their praise of the standard. We have now changed the itinerary to spend more time in the mega diverse wildflower region of the south west including Fitzgerald River and Stirling Ranges National Park.
Kakadu in the Wet: The weather in Kakadu in February is hot but bearable. It is fine for the majority of the time and the added cloud cover makes the year round temperature more tolerable. Our 2000 Safari began with little sign of "the Wet" and low stream levels but the monsoon arrived on Day 7 and steadily continued into April. Kakadu is fabulously different place in the green season. Because the word is out, people are queuing up for Kakadu 2001 which will include a scenic flight into Arnhemland.
Kimberley Adventures: The monsoon rain continued much longer than usual, delivering record falls in the Kimberley. This affected both of our Kimberley Adventures. Key roads such as the Gibb River Road remained closed right up until July and road repair gangs are still working to repair all of the substantial damage. Despite the modified itineraries we had a wonderful experience seeing the Kimberley at its greenest. We better appreciated the climatic vagaries of this region. To satisfy the very heavy demand for our Kimberley Adventures and to help accelerate the expansion of indigenous ecotourism ventures within Australia we will again run two Kimberley Adventures in 2001. Our famous Fitzroy Crossing friend, Willigan, will accompany us the whole distance of our November safari and not just be limited to the Fitzroy basin. The November Safari will be at a much drier time of the year and will overcome the difficulty experienced in 2000 when many roads were still closed even in August as a result of the prolonged and heavy wet season in the Kimberley. The weather in ovember are slightly warmer (not much) than June but that makes more comfortable night temperatures for camping.
Heavy Demand for GO BUSH Safaris means that we will be conducting three safari in 2001 which do not appear in the brochure. All have already been booked out. All also involve international travel. While GO BUSH Safaris aims to be Australia's World Heritage area specialist, our 2001 operations includes a significant foreign component.
Thailand-Laos Adventure: Our April "Bush Telegraph" reported on our Thailand experience helping hill tribe people develop an ecotourism strategy. This created so much interest that we will now be leading a Thailand-Laos safari next January. Although we can only take 12 on our first foreign venture, subject to our experience with, we anticipate offering other Thai-Laos trips subject to evaluation. Our aim is to help disadvantaged hill tribe people and the voluntary conservation movement there as well as providing an extremely rich experience for safarists.
We will mail out details of any new Thai-Laos safaris after reviewing our 2001 venture in April. Please add your name to the list if interested in this.
Queensland Odyssey: One reason we have reduced the offering in our 2001 catalogue is that we have been chartered for two special safaris for overseas groups. Our old friends from UK Wildlife Travel whom we showed around Kakadu and the Kimberley in 1998 are returning to undertake an 18 day Queensland Odyssey. During August, they will take in five different World Heritage sites in Queensland.
Seacology: We are also planning another special trip for the American voluntary conservation group Seacology which specializes in the conservation of island culture and environment. In 9 days in December a group of 12 will explore in three World Heritage islands, Lord Howe Island, Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
Deferred Destinations: To fit in these safaris we have had to defer some other destinations which we would liked to have revisited in 2001 including Mungo and Mootwingee, Uluru and the Red Centre, the Blue Mountains and another Great Barrier Reef Cruise. We had also anticipated going to Lake Eyre but found that it was drying out fast. We will however definitely include Mungo Mootwingee ad More in 2002.
One thing leads to another: In 2001 we will again include our very popular Tasmania and Lord Howe Island destinations. Tasmania combines majestic scenery, a wonderful climate, interesting history and some insightful background by our expert guide, Geoff Mosley. Geoff has recently updated his Norfolk Island Management Strategy and he has urged John to update his Lord Howe Island Management Strategy originally done in 1988 for island conservationists to take account of changes which have occurred there in the last decade. We plan to complete this interesting project next year. GO BUSH is involved in more than just showing people around World Heritage sites. We want to help preserve them for posterity.
Inspiration continues to flow to safarists on all safaris. It isn't surprising given the spirit and humour each safari generates. Each of our safaris have produced a diary and each has had some original sketches/ poems/ creative writing.
One eminent safarist recently passed judgment on the Kimberley Adventure:
Our revels now are ending,
And we are heading home.
Our many magic moments
Would fill a weighty tome.
These highlight recollections,
Mere fragments of our roam.
For me, the scenic special:
The flight to Cape Leveque.
From Derby's sheen-brown mudflats,
To isles, green waters fleck,
With rich red sandstone ramparts
Towering over beach and neck.....
Special Thanks: We would like to thank all of the people who have helped to make our 1999-2000 season so special and so very memorable year. Our crews, most of whom are volunteers, have made exceptional contributions. They perform many duties: nurses, baggage handlers, entertainers and catering assistants, etc. Perhaps our greatest talent is attracting outstanding people to join our crews. They bring a variety of expertise but all have a great sense of humour and add to the wonderful harmony. This plus our ever growing network of friends only goes to show that GO BUSH Safaris is not just any ordinary ecotourism outfit.
John Sinclair & Sharan Daly