The entire world hurts as it sees the devastating impact the Australian bushfires have had on so many communities. At Contiki we feel the pain acutely. The media hype may have died down, but many fires rage on and the healing process is only just beginning.
Simply put, without Australia there wouldn’t be Contiki. Since that first yellow combi journeyed through Europe in the summer of ‘62, we’ve hosted over 1 million Australians on our trips. Australia’s natural affinity with travel and the nation’s curiosity, sociability, warmth and humour – these are the values that shaped us. Australia is still the country where the majority of our travellers depart from, and where much of our workforce hail from.
We’re heartbroken. It’s hard not to look at the scale of destruction – the scorched skies and the sickening statistics – and not feel a degree of helplessness. But one thing we know about this spirited nation is that it never is completely helpless. And there’s so much we can all do to support the relief process.
We want to support the everyday heroes who have grouped together to fight the crisis, putting themselves at personal risk to protect families, homes and wildlife. We want to support the fire services who continue to battle the raging fires. Their bravery and solidarity in the face of apocalyptic destruction is truly inspiring.
That’s why we’re proud of the $100K donation made by our parent company, The Travel Corporation, to the NSW Rural Fire Service. These funds go towards technology and necessities such as radios, floodlights, GPS for the trucks, maintenance, fuel, food and training.
The science is clear on how the climate crisis continues to intensify natural disasters such as the Australian bushfires. In recent years, Australia has experienced abnormally low rainfall and record-high temperatures. There’s still a long road towards a greener future. A future where natural disasters like these don’t become everyday occurrences. But we can also have an immediate impact in providing relief to the people and wildlife whose homes have been destroyed.
From fire relief to wildlife rescue, here are five ways you can support the Australian bushfire relief. We can all make a difference.
1. Help restore Australian forests
Once conditions allow, our partner Onetreeplanted is now accepting donations for their project to restore over six million trees in Australia. To date, 15 million acres of bush have burned.
2. Support rural fire services
Rural Fire Brigades are more than just an emergency service, they are also a vital community service, helping rural areas as they regroup and rebuild.
- Donate to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service
- Donate to the Victoria Country Fire Authority
- Donate to the Rural Queensland Fire Service
3. Raise funds for vulnerable communities
The impact of natural disasters on First Nations Communities can be devastating. This fundraiser supports some of the most vulnerable communities in Australia, including those who have lost their homes and been forced to evacuate to other regions.
4. Support wildlife rescue
It’s estimated that more than 1 billion animals have died due to the bushfires. This figure that doesn’t include fish, frogs, bats and insects. WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) has been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and is the largest wildlife rescue organisation in Australia. They’re a vital part of the exhaustive effort to protect, rescue and rehabilitate the wildlife most affected by the bushfire-hit areas of Australia.
5. Visit Australia
One underreported element of the Australian bushfires is its impact on the tourism industry. The traumatic scenes have been described as a ‘nightmare’ for tourism, yet Australia can’t rebuild without this vital component of its economy. Much of Australia remains unaffected by the bushfires, and, when safe to do so, visiting impacted areas and local businesses is the best way to support communities as they begin to heal.
As Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed: “Australia is still very much open for business. Most Australian regions remain unaffected and continue to offer tourists the incredible tourism experiences that our country is known for.” As things stand, all of Contiki’s upcoming trips to Australia are operating as scheduled. So, if you really want to show your support, do so in person!