As avid travellers, we are often reminded just how fortunate we are. At APT we recognise the importance of treading lightly in the environment and the privilege of being welcomed into unique communities. As a pioneering provider of Australian holidays, we believe that we have a responsibility to both our customers, and to the unique cultures and environments to which we take them. So that is enough of the theory. Here’s what we do.
Advanced EcoTourism Certified
"Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation". At APT, we strive to minimise our impact in the places we operate. In the Kimberley, our commitment is demonstrated through our certification as the only Advanced EcoTourism major tour and accommodation operator in the region.
Kimberley’s Kandiwal School & Community
The Kandiwal Community is the traditional owner of the land on which APT’s Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge is built. The community has been a close partner of ours since 2003. Since the relationship was formed APT has actively been involved with the community, providing employment and training opportunities as local guides, provided opportunities for them to sell their artwork to our passengers, guests and staff, plus our Camp Hosts have volunteered in their community.
In addition to this in 2012 and 2013, we donated $267,000 toward the education of the communities children. Of this, $77,000 went to funding the employment two tutors to live locally, and assist in the delivery of the education syllabus to the 15 children of the community, in collaboration with the School of the Air. This delivered fantastic results for the kids, who have grown in confidence, enthusiasm to learn and ability.
APT donated a further $190,000 to fund the installation of electrical infrastructure which now provides reliable electricity to this remote region, and in the future will be able to provide the power required for the proposed new school. Please see below for more information on the Kandiwal Community.
Partnering Indigenous Organisations for a Sustainable Future
Through joint ventures between Indigenous Organisations and APT, employment and training opportunities are made available, which provides socio-economic benefits for many Aboriginal communities. APT partner with Wunan and Djabulukgu Association Inc., who are both are committed to community development. This creates a win/win situation for both the Australian tourism industry and local communities. Other significant benefits include partnerships to build sustainable business practices.
Wunan was established in 1997 as a not-for profit indigenous organization to drive long-term socio-economic change for the East Kimberley’s Aboriginal people. APT is proud of its long partnership with this vital organisation. Through our touring program, financial investment and network of wilderness lodges in the Kimberley, we assist Wunan in several ways. APT provides real employment opportunities for local Indigenous people via the by the construction, maintenance and operation of our wilderness lodges.
Djabulukgu Association Inc.
This Indigenous association represents the interests of Traditional Owners in Northern Kakadu and parts of Western Arnhem Land. APT has a very close partnership with this organization where together we provide our travellers with accommodation at Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge, which is in a restricted area of Kakadu, and the very unique Guluyambi Cruise along the East Alligator River.
Imintji Community, near APT’s Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge advised us that one of the best ways we could assist them was to regularly provide art materials, and we have since being doing this for many years. The talented artists of the Imintji community have been able to follow their passion whilst also generating independent t income which remains within their community. Our wilderness lodges provide exhibition spaces, giving our guests the chance to purchase their artwork.
Respecting Our Culture
APT has also received Respecting Our Culture (ROC) endorsement. This program uniquely acknowledges APT's cultural protocols and authenticity, as well as our sustainable business and environmental practices.
Find out more About Us here.
We feel honoured to have be welcomed by the Kandiwal and, together with the extremely important access to the land that they have granted us (including access to the magical Mitchell Falls), we are privileged when members of the community guide our groups on walks. This is often reported by our guests as being a highlight of their Kimberley trip.
‘Scaly-tailed Possum and Echidna’ by Cathy Goonack
To help raise funds for the community, one of the senior members on the Kandiwal tribe, Cathy Goonack, has written and published a Children’s book. Called the “Scaly-tailed Possum and Echidna”, this story has been passed down from generation to generation by the Kandiwal Aboriginal community. This engaging Dreamtime tale explains how the possum got its scaly-tail and the echidna got its spikes. It also tells of the Wandjina, the Creator and Great Spirit, an important part of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories from the Kimberley.
Where can you purchase the book? Click here to purchase your copy.
APT is proud to be partnering with the Kandiwal Community, and look forward to our future projects.
The APT Charitable and Conservation Fund was established in 2003. Although global in scope, we believe in being local in impact. Our fund supports innovative projects spearheaded by exceptional individuals.
The projects we select strongly reflect the regions that APT guests visit and are built around the idea of either preserving the natural environment or improving the well-being of the communities that welcome us into their world.
We currently sponsor a Tasmanian Devil, Delilah, to encourage the species’ survival and that of future generations.
Past projects have included support of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, dedicated to preserving Indigenous wildlife at Mornington Sanctuary in the Kimberley, Brooklyn Sanctuary near Cairns and Karakamia Sanctuary near Perth.
Making a difference
APT, in conjunction with Opportunities of Development thru Art (ODA) and The Rotary Club of Atherton, Queensland, have built a school in an impoverished area near Siem Reap, Cambodia.
APT supports this venture through direct and indirect funding, and will take guests to ODA when possible. The school facilitates the teaching of English, which will lead to wider employment opportunities for students. Offering both practical and financial support, we’re delighted to be making a difference to a region that provides our guests so much enjoyment.
A generous donation
ODA volunteer Shirley Hawe recently thanked a group of APT visitors who donated new bicycles to the orphanage. The ODA children have never had brand new bicycles before and could not believe what they saw.
They are wonderfully happy children despite the traumas that have been handed out to most of them in the past. They are very happy just having enough food, the opportunity to attend school and having a safe, dry home but these bikes have been a gift from heaven to them.
Opportunities of Development thru Art
ODA is a fully registered grass roots NGO (Non Government Organisation) established by Leng Touch, and his wife Sry On in 2003 and operates on two levels:
- The Orphanage & main focus - to fully care for & guide the children who live there with a traditional Khmer respectful, caring life & a full education for them to meet the changing face of Cambodia's future.
- To provide free English education to outlying village children in order they may be qualified for employment in the future & break the cycle of poverty for them & their families.
Find out more about ODA and how you can make a donation:
APT is a proud supporter of the Blue Ribbon Foundation. The Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation perpetuates the memory of members of the Victoria Police killed in the line of duty through the support of worthwhile community projects within Victoria.