About Us

Touring with Coates

Coates Wildlife Tours visits some of the finest nature and wildlife destinations in Australia and beyond. Our relaxed itineraries explore the must-see highlights as well as the remote areas away from the tourist crowds.

Our dedicated team of well-travelled naturalists and guides will enhance your experience as they share their knowledge and help you pursue your own passion for the natural world.  It’s the quality, courtesy and personality of our leaders that have our guests returning again and again.

Travelling with a small group of like-minded people who share your love for the natural world will be its own reward. Our guests have commented that many touring companions have formed life-long friendships.

Meet Our Team

If there’s one thing that our customers always praise us for, it’s the hard work, leadership and understanding of our guides. They are more than willing to help, nothing is too much trouble, and they’ve always got a good story to tell!

Tom Grove

Managing Director

Tom after 24 years of working in the finance industry and combining this knowledge with his wife Sylvia’s extensive experience in the travel industry, they took on the ownership of Coates in 1996.

Tom loves being on tour, returning to places that over the years he has visited many times or visiting new destinations and sharing the experience with his travelling companions.

He believes that adding the natural wonders of the world, traveling with like-minded people and the friendships made on tour are a perfect recipe for a great holiday.

Tom believes in addition to offering appealing and unusual tours to out of the way destinations, they need to be environmentally friendly, safe, comfortable and informative. This is the ethos behind all the tours he develops.

Sylvia Grove


Prior to owning Coates, Sylvia worked as a travel agent and spent many happy moments camping in the South West of WA. Sylvia has a great love of the outdoors and when possible she joins Tom on our tours. Over the years her commitment to ensure we provide an educational yet fun touring experience kept our focus on what we do best. Using her travel industry knowledge she introduced a range of overseas destinations that continues to grow.

Her ability to hold together the office and her commitment to personalised customer service has contributed to Coates longevity.

Patrick Bates

Operations Manager

Patrick joined Coates at the start of 2016 as our Operations Manager. Although his job mostly keeps him in the office he enjoys getting out, when ever he can, experiencing everything the outback has to offer. Patrick has a keen interest in nature and loves to photograph the unique plants and wildlife that Australia has to offer.

Mary Neilson

Administration & Operations Officer

Mary grew up in Perth where she developed a strong love of wildlife and nature. Her childhood was filled with camping, hiking, snorkelling and travelling. This took her to the UWA where she studied Zoology and Marine Science, and then onto Murdoch University for a Masters in Wildlife Health and Conservation. Mary started at Coates in August 2017 looking to get some work experience in the field, however she soon became a valued member of the team and plans on working with Coates for many years to come!

David (Red) Morrell


Red farmed in Pingrup for 40 years, growing a variety of grains and farming merino sheep for wool. He has had an interest in birds and the natural bush since childhood, when he used to spend time in the hills around Pinjarra where his family originally farmed. Red built large bird cages on his farm and bred birds for a hobby, and revegetated a lot of the land by planting seedlings as well as using seed that he collected from the remnant bush on the property for direct seeding. He has worked as a driver / guide, cook and Mr fix it for Coates Wildlife Tours since 2003.

Mike Gregson

Naturalist Guide

Mike gained his love of natural history, especially wildflowers, through studies of biology at UWA and through many years’ membership of the WA Naturalists’ Club. After retiring from teaching, he volunteered with Cottesloe Coast care Association, served as coordinator of the Young Naturalists’ group and has now worked for several years as a wildflower guide with Coates Wildlife Tours.

Alan Brumley


Alan has been a Coates guide for over seven years and has a vast knowledge of the outback, particularly the Kimberley region and is a great camp cook. When Alan isn’t on tour with Coates he can usually be found in the outback either on his own or with his 4WD club looking for new destinations, experiences and photographing the wildlife.

Jolanda Keeble

Naturalist Guide

Jolanda has a passion for ecology and the natural environment. She is an ecologist by trade however worked as an environmental consultant in the oil and gas industry for 15 years, after completing a Master of Science in Ecology and Management of the Natural Environment. She researches and publishes field guides for selected natural areas in Western Australia (WA), is active within the WA Naturalists’ Club and the Wildflower Society of WA and began guiding for Coates in 2017.

Gane Doyle


Gane was lucky enough to be brought up in a family with a dad who loved the environment and in particular, reptiles. As a teenager Gane belonged to the Naturalist Club and spent his holidays exploring this fantastic country of ours with his family. In recent years his family has opened the West Australian Reptile Park in the Swan Valley where Gane is currently working, in addition to guiding with Coates. Gane enjoys educating people about our environment and native animals.

Diana Papenfus

Naturalist Guide

Diana grew up in the hills east of Perth and was inspired by nature from a very early age. Following a career in nursing and midwifery she underwent a career change, obtained a Bachelors degree in Wildlife and Conservation and became a park ranger in South Australia. Subsequently, Diana worked with threatened flora across the south west of Western Australia and in private property nature conservation. Diana is a long time member of the WA Naturalists’ Club and has been guiding with Coates since 2016.

Ray Dickson

Naturalist Guide

Ray has lived in Australia since 1974, after immigrating from Ireland. Ray got his love for the Australian outback and its flora and fauna from five years of work in the Pilbara, followed by work with a wide range of animals in Perth Zoo and the NT Wildlife Park. Ray has been working as a tour guide with Coates since 2000 and loves providing passengers with the opportunity to experience the Australian landscape.
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