Chip & Bere Tour to New Zealand and Australia – Australia Day 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27.

Southern Africa Conservation and Communities Tour to New Zealand and Australia – July and August 2011


We are Here - Canberra.

Thursday 21st July – Canberra

More rain, and even colder!  Took the Country Link train from Sydney to Canberra, a four and a half hour trip to Australia’s National Capital, designated as such in 1908 by the Federal Parliament.

View over Canberra.

Canberra houses many of the countries national treasures within the National Art Gallery, National Library, National Museum, National War Museum to name a few.  Fertile farming lands, the Great Dividing Range and alpine peaks surround the Australian Capital Territory.

The territory has an abundance of nature with 53 per cent of the total area preserved as parks and reserves.  The clean air comes from extensive forests and pure water comes from pristine catchments fed by pure rain and snowmelt.

Canberra is a thriving modern city of 347,000 people and of course, houses all the Government departments, the Military Training Academy, Diplomats and High Commissions and the House of Parliament, both old and new.

We arrived just on 4:30 pm and were collected and taken to the hotel we were staying at and had half an hour to wash and change and be ready for our next presentation to Rotary Canberra North club at 06:00 pm.  Met President David Whittem and the members who made us feel most welcome.  Have to give a special mention of Heather McEvoy who kindly provided our transport during the three days we were there and Harold Milham, who together with Heather, took us on a whirlwind sightseeing trip of Canberra on the Saturday afternoon before we left.


Friday 22nd July – Discussions with Australian Government – AusAID

Charlene with officials from AusAID, Climate Change in Canberra.

The day was spent in meetings with various officials from Australian Government AusAID, Climate Change and Environment Branch including the Director for Forests, Adaptation and Biodiversity, Climate Change and Environment .  In the afternoon we met with the Assistant Director General, Africa Middle East Branch and the Program Manager for Southern Africa Section.  We had informative discussions regarding our two countries approach to climate change and the way forward for the future and discussed ways we could benefit from funding opportunities to uplift communities.

Charlene with Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila in Canberra.

Between these meetings, we were able to meet the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Jacqueline Zwambila who was most gracious in seeing us at short notice when she was advised we were in Canberra and the High Commissioner of the Embassy of Botswana, Molosiwa Selepeng, a most charming and wise man.

Charlene and Veronica with High Commissioner of Botswana, Molosiwa Selepeng (left) and Wame Dechambe in Canberra

This was made possible by Wame Dechambe who works at the Botswana High Commission in Canberra.


Saturday 23rd July

Spent the morning catching up on work.  We were collected by our most accommodating  hosts,

Heather McEvoy and Harold Milham from Canberra North Rotary Club.

Harold Milham and Heather McEvoy at lunchtime on Saturday and they gave us an amazing whirlwind tour of Canberra in three and a half hours starting high up at a view point which gives a panoramic view of the City and then on to the Houses of Parliament.  A stunning work of architecture with granite and marble used from all around the world.

Last Sighting of Bere.

Sadly, it was whilst here, that we ‘lost’ Bere, our little female rhino who has been with Chip our male rhino on the tour.  The last photo we took of her and Chip together was in the Queen’s arms.  We’re hoping that with enough publicity, she will find her way back to us.

Foyer Australian Houses of Parliament.

Believe it or not, there is ‘The Poacher’s Way’ in Canberra, however, it does not signify the same crisis we face back at home in Southern Africa with wildlife poaching.

The Poacher’s Way was developed by a group of people from Canberra and the region drawn together by a common inspiration derived from their land and lifestyle.  They are individuals who have creative passion and are a mixture of exceptional and inspired artists, chefs, winemakers, galleries and rural retreats.

They have changed career directions, locations and life to follow their dreams and create something for others to experience and enjoy.

The Poacher’s Way is a platform for 25 local businesses to highlight some of the best the region has to offer. The Poacher’s Way is an Australian Government funded initiative under the Australian Tourism Development Program.

We spent the last part of our afternoon before heading for the airport at a walk though bird aviary, always so refreshing to be able to spend some time just communing with nature and we got to enjoy a wide variety of Australia’s native bird life.

We flew out of Canberra early evening for our next port of call – Melbourne.


Sunday 24th and Monday 25th July

Catching up on work!!





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