theparkerfamily

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preview: australia

Saturday, 26 January 2008

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[Photo]
Map courtesy Google Maps.
Travelling breeds more travelling, so even before we got back from Belize, we immediately started imagining where we were going to go next. I wanted to go to Chile/Argentina (the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, the southern tip, Patagonia) and the lady sparkler was hot on South Africa or Southeast Asia.

Turns out, the Conservancy is sending me to Australia because it is the location of our next Adopt an Acre project. We actually do most of our work on the continent through partners, so we occasionally have to fly in marketing/membership specialists to collect stories, collateral and other materials we need to launch the program.

So, I’ll already be there for about 9 days, and the lady sparkler and I will tack on a little time beforehand. Here is how the itinerary is shaping up:

  • Tasmania — We fly straight into Tasmania from the U.S. and then drive around the island, through Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park and Mt. Field National Park on the way to Hobart, the territory’s capital.
  • Adelaide / Great Ocean Road — We’ll spend a day or two in Adelaide, before renting a car to travel along the south coast on a road much like our Pacific Coast Highway. We’ll stop in three different seaside towns, and pass through a number of parks including Coorong, Port Cambell and Cape Otway National Parks.
  • Melbourne — As soon as we arrive into the big city, I start having meetings for the Conservancy, but the lady sparkler will have a couple of days to explore the city. I’ll have one fully free day to explore before she and I go our separate ways.
  • Gondwana Link — I’ll hop a flight to Perth, which is near our project area, and travel between Perth, Albany, Margaret River and the project itself.

    The story behind the southwest of Australia is much like the Dust Bowl-era high plains of the U.S. — government endorses cultivation, indigenous people are displaced in the onslaught, farming destroys the ecosystem and then collapses due to the land being poorly suited to cultivation.

    The Conservancy is working with local partners and the indigenous Noongar to rebuild segments of the ecosystem, and by preserving the open spaces that remain to link these fragments into a sustainable environment.

  • Sydney — the lady sparkler will come here straight from Melbourne, and I will follow long after she has gone. We will both have a day and two nights, which will be just about enough to get a picture of the Opera House.

Needless to say, we are feel incredibly luck to have this kind of dropped in our lap. More on the work part of the trip next time around.