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

After 24 years of working in the finance industry, Tom, along with his wife Sylvia and her extensive experience in the travel industry, took on 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

Operations Officer & Guide

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.

Wayne Merritt

Naturalist Guide

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.

Neil Hamilton

Naturalist Guide

Neil has worked for the WA Parks and Wildlife Science Division as a Senior Technical Officer for 23 years. His main area of research is feral animal management and control, but he has also worked in wildlife trafficking and fire. Neil has his own private consulting business, Ghost Bird consultancy, as a result of his passion for protecting biodiversity areas. Neil also worked in the zoo industry for 28 years. Throughout his life, Neil has been involved in many programs within Australia and overseas, from captive breeding to translocations and recovery programs. He has a very keen interest in threatened Australian bird species and native fauna, and has been guiding for Coates since 2020.

Terry Bourke


Terry grew up on the family farm in Victoria, and did a trade before moving to WA. He has always loved traveling around, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and people around him. Being lucky enough to help out at Coates Wildlife Tours is a great privilege in this grand country of ours.

Sustainability and the Environment

Coates Wildlife Tours is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. As a company specialising in natural history, wildlife and flora, Coates understands the importance of protecting and preserving wild species for the benefit of ecosystem function, biodiversity and tourism. 

Coates Wildlife Tours considers it part of their role as a nature-based company to educate and promote conservation and sustainable tourism practices at every opportunity. Through their work, Coates hopes to support, educate and advocate for the environment by inspiring appreciation, fostering connection, and improving peoples understanding of the natural world. 

When visiting wilderness destinations, Coates takes the utmost care to ensure their presence doesn’t disturb the natural environment. Coates always: 

– Encourages and operates with respect for the environment.

– Aims to protect and preserve nature as a company. 

– Purchases sustainable products and plastic replacements (where possible), such as recycled bin liners, compostable sandwich bags and biodegradable plates. 

– Only takes small groups to minimise the impact on the environment. 

– Supports and encourages the use of reusable items such as water bottles and coffee mugs. 

– Buys and supports local businesses whenever possible.

– Sends a Naturalist, experts in natural history (the scientific study of animals and/or plants).

– Collaborates with and chooses local businesses and operators with similar values, including a personal approach, high quality customer service, and care for the environment. 

– Tries to reduce waste, increase recycling, preserve water, save energy, use renewable energy and carbon offset as often as possible. 

– Minimises disturbance to wildlife on tour. 

– Donates equipment to charity such as sleeping bags. 

– Acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands visited, and pays respects to Elders past and present. 

– “Takes only photos, leaves only footprints.” 

“Take only photos, leave only footprints”

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