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Travel philanthropy – or ‘travelanthrophy’ for short – is growing in popularity. Instead of merely taking a tour or checking out iconic attractions, holidaymakers are now choosing to better understand the people and places they visit in more hands-on and meaningful ways.
In doing so, they not only make invaluable contributions that have long-term benefits for the local community, but they also get to experience the adventure of a lifetime.
Located in the remote aboriginal-owned Northeast Arnhem Land, Cape Arnhem is one of the last great unspoiled areas of the world. Known for its aboriginal culture, flora and fauna, coasts, wetlands and the notorious saltwater crocodile, Cape Arnhem faces a large threat from marine debris pollution due to its wild coastlines and waters teeming with plenty of marine life.
The area is also home to the Yolngu people, one of the largest indigenous groups in Australia. They are known for their very traditional culture, and the area can be considered a key spiritual area for the group, with over 50 sacred sites in the vicinity.
Once a year in September, the marine conservation tour departs for its debris surveys at Wanuwuy beach in the Gove Peninsula. Enjoy spectacular views and the various interpretative walks through beaches and wetlands while working alongside aboriginal rangers from the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation to collect, sort and catalogue the washed-up debris. This data will later be used to pinpoint sources of pollution and guide future policies to help reduce pollution.
The 8-day trip will encompass several days of camping during the drive to and from Cape Arnhem – be prepared to sleep under the stars! A moderate fitness level is recommended as you can expect spending hours walking and being exposed to the elements as you carry out conservation work. For more trips like this, check out Naturewise, a non-profit tour operator owned by Conservation Volunteers Australia.
The capital of Sichuan province is home to a number of historical attractions, such as 1,000-year-old shops that are still intact to historical relics dating as far back as 3,000 years. This is also where you can find several UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites such as the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area as well as Mount Qingcheng, most popular for its scenery, hiking trails and ancient temples.
Chengdu is also the best place to see the adorable giant pandas. At the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda, volunteers can participate in various activities such as preparing food for pandas, research and observation work, cleaning panda enclosures and planting bamboo and trees.
Dujiangyan is some 55km from Chengdu; the Dujiangyan Giant Panda base is home to a panda hospital, a medical lab, a panda kitchen an educational centre and staff housing. Visit Pandas International for more information.
Want more ideas for meaningful activities you can do with your family? We’ve rounded up 20 enriching activities that are great for kids.