theparkerfamily

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Travel: Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology (a.k.a. Cape Otway School for Orphaned ‘Roos)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

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[Photo]
IMG_0209, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
Austalia (Day Eight) — Perhaps the place that the lady sparkler and I were the most psyched to stay during our trip was the Great Ocean Ecolodge, which is a small bed & breakfast type accommodation (5 rooms) attached to the Cape Otway Center for Conservation Ecology. The lodging came ridiculously highly recommended — especalially by TNCers — and the experience was even better.

Shortly after arrival they took us on a “dusk” walk around the properties, and within the first 20 minutes we had seen three koalas, were explained the entire regional ecosystem and were firmly behind their site management plan. On our way back it was all down hill, only tripping on three parrots, two dozen kangaroos, two wallabies and a magpie that enjoyed attacking human’s shoes.

The owners are a zoologist and a natural resources manager in their mid-twenties, who have overcome some pretty long odds to launch this, their dream project. Besides using the property to test a range of ecological hypotheses — including the best ways to revegetate portions of Australia that have been over-cleared — they take in injured / abandoned animals such as a baby kangeroo who flopped around the house while we ate dinner that night. If you have the chance, we highly recommend making the trip.

We had quite a great crew of fellow quests, including a retired couple from Sheffield, England and a couple of small business owners from somewhere along the Gold Coast of Australia. Much of the convesation that night was predictable (“how in &^%$ sake did *he* get elected?!?) but everyone was most generous to keep it amicable and gave us the widest possible recognizing that the lady sparkler and I weren’t unilaterally responsible for the current geo-political situation.

Ah, imagine that … two cultures who don’t assume the worst about their contemporaries.