Yelverton Brook Eco Spa and Conservation Sanctuary nominated for Australia's Favourite Family Business

Yelverton Brook Eco Spa and Conservation Sanctuary in Metricup is a fox-free conservation area with healthy populations of endangered native species such as woylies and western ring tail possums.

Woylies were once the most populous marsupial in Australia until the fox came along, and because the creatures have no fear they were an easy target for predators.

Around 20 woylies live on the 100 acre sanctuary along with other marsupials including brush tailed possums, quendas, kangaroos, the Dunsborough borrowing crayfish and 50 species of birds.

And when the sun goes down on Yelverton Brook, the native animals come out to play.

The conservation sanctuary was started by Joy and Simon Ensor who purchased a 100 acre bush block in the heart of the Margaret River region in 1988.

"When we moved into the shed, the hand basin, shower and toilet worked," she said.

"We started really simply, then started building the chalets with handmade mud bricks.

"We opened the first chalet in Easter 1992."

The Ensors where operating chalets on their property when guests told them they were having interactions with bandicoots which had come up from the bush.

"We thought it would be really nice to try and protect them and started researching Earth Sanctuaries which is now the Australian Wildlife Conservancy," she said.

"We didn't want to reinvent the wheel, we wanted to learn from what other people had done and started following their fence design."

The fence surrounding the property is specially designed to keep predators out to protect the wildlife.

"It has all been self funded apart from a grant from GeoCatch many years ago," she said.

"When people stay here it helps us protect the wildlife."

The Ensors received woylies from Perth Zoo, which they released into the bush after the last remaining fox on the property was captured.

"Woylies spend four weeks in the pouch with their mum, four weeks in a nest with their mum, then they are independent," Ms Ensor said.

"They repopulate very quickly without predators.

"They are much like a Jack Russell and have no fear factor, it is like they have little man syndrome."

Ms Ensor said the woylie population boomed to start with and they now have around 20 living in the sanctuary.

"Sometimes there are a bit more and sometimes a bit less, but that seems to be a comfortable population in the 100 acres we have," she said.

"Woylies are about half the size of a quokka and are the smallest animal in the kangaroo family.

"Most Australians have no idea what a woylie is.

"Woylie is the Aboriginal word, the European word is a brush-tailed bettong because they have a little fluffy bit on their tale.

"Their favourite food is truffles and they can carry stuff in their tale, they kick stuff between their legs and wrap their tale around it and jump off with a bundle."

South West Eco Discovery Tours run a nocturnal Meet the Woylies Tour which takes guests to the sanctuary to see the animals.

You can also stay overnight at the sanctuary in one of the chalets, some of which have an outdoor spa where you can relax and watch the animals play.

Yelverton Brook Eco Spa and Conservation Sanctuary is one of ten businesses in Australia to be nominated for Australia's Favourite Family Business 2019 award.

They were the only business from WA to be nominated and the only tourism business in the country to be in the running.

"We were told we were one of twenty in the running, then we were told we were one in ten," Ms Ensor said.

"Voting has now opened and we are seeking to get some help for WA, it is pretty exciting."

The public can vote on the awards until 9pm on December 10 by going online to