Chip & Bere Tour to New Zealand and Australia – Australia Day 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34.

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


Wednesday 27th July

Hobart, Capital State of Tasmania.

We arrived in Hobart, Tasmania’s harbour State Capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania.  Lying in the foothills of the majestic Mt Wellington, Hobart combines heritage charm and cultural diversity in a setting of exceptional beauty.  Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart is the second oldest capital city after Sydney.  Hobart was named Australia’s sixth most sustainable city by the Australian Conservation Foundation in 2010.

‘Tassie’ as it’s more affectionately known is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, compact, diverse, wild yet accessible.  When we drove in from the airport, it reminded us of Cape Town.  The island State’s famous national parks and reserves protect a wide range of its unspoiled landscapes, intact ecosystems and striking cultural heritage.  These places are a refuge for an array of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.  Tasmania is privileged to be custodian of the internationally renowned Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Parks, one of the largest world heritage areas today.

Hobart , Australia.

Tasmania’s forests store more carbon per hectare than the tropical forests in the Amazon or Indonesia.  Protecting the native forests is the single biggest contribution Tasmania can make in the global fight against dangerous climate change.  Tasmania has over 600 threatened species.  Many of them lie in the threatened forests.  Protecting, restoring and reconnecting forest areas will give threatened species a fighting chance – helping them avoid extinction like that suffered by the Tasmanian Tiger.


In the afternoon, Charlie did an interview with ABC Tas Radio

Charlene Hewat interview on ABC Hobart

(click MP3 link to listen to interview).

Thursday 28th July

Presentation at Hydro Tas.  This was a great talk and met up with some wonderful people.  A  Wildlife Ranger, Barry Batchelor, who told me about International Rangers Day on the 31st July.  World Ranger Day is the day to celebrate the work of dedicated ranger staff, and honour those who have lost their lives in the course of their duties.  Thanks must go to Alison Howman for coordinating the event and for Hydro for hosting us.  Tatenda.

Friday 29th July

Started the day off with a one hour interview for Charlie with Margaret Stuart on her international radio show ‘Mangotiger – Ordinary People doing Extraordinary Things’ hosted through PWRN, Positive World Radio Network at Universal in Los Angeles.

(click link to listen to the interview)


Greg with his passion, an adult Tasmanian Devil.

We then drove out for what is definitely one of our highlights to date, to spend a few hours with Greg Irons, Tasmania’s Young Achiever of the Year 2011 for the Environment at his Sanctuary, Bonorong,  Coming from Africa, it was exciting to get the opportunity to see Tasmania’s native animals, some of which are extinct everywhere but Tasmania.

As we arrived, we had to ‘take five’ while Charlie did another live phone radio interview with Logan Radio 101FM on their morning show for a segment called  ‘Noah’s Legacy’.  Noah’s Legacy was developed by Logan Radio’s Patti Alchin and Lea Budge in 2000, to raise awareness of animal welfare issues.  Today, Noah’s Legacy acts as a voice for animals and the environment, by profiling important issues and petitioning against animal cruelty and habitat destruction.  They interview guests who are champions for environmental and animal causes.

Charlene Hewit on 101FM

(Click MP3 link to listen to interview)

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Hobart

Back to Bonorong, while our host graciously waited while Charlie finished her interivew!  Greg gave us the background to Bonorong, Aboriginal meaning “Native Companion”.  A, place he has worked at since a young boy and which he dreamed of one day owning.  This dream became a reality three years ago and with his infectious passion and love for wildlife, he has transformed it into a true haven for the birds and animals that are rescued and rehabilitated to be released back into the wild where possible.

Mother Tasmanian Devil with three babies in her pouch.

Greg runs a very successful captive breeding programme for Tasmanian Devils, the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial only found in Tasmania.  These often maligned creatures are now on the endangered list and facing possible extinction due to a fatal outbreak of DFTD, Devil Facial Tumour Disease, a contagious cancer that kills all infected devils.  Since DFTD was first observed in 1996, devil numbers have declined by around 80%.

The famous gape or yawn of the devil that looks so threatening is in fact a reaction when they are scared of unsure of something and far from the aggressive, bad tempered creatures some believe them to be, they are pretty sedate and gregarious.  The devil is primarily a scavenger and will feed on whatever is available.  They do have incredibly powerful jaws and teeth which enables them to completely devour their prey, bones, fur and all.

Greg introducing Chip to a baby wombat that had been rescued from the Mother's pouch after she had been killed by a car.

Bonorong has such a wide array of native animals like the Wombat, Eastern Quoll, the small Pademelons and Potoroos and the shy Bettong to name a few.

Thank you Greg for a truly inspiring day.  Great to meet such a like minded passionate person who shares a love for nature and the environment and we will be in touch in the future.   The day was concluded with another talk at The University of Tasmania.


Saturday 30th July

Travelled by bus to Burnie, a five hour trip that gives you a chance to see the surrounding countryside.  It was another, wet, rainy day!


Monday 1st August – Burnie, Tasmania

Burnie, Tasmania, Australia.

Burnie overlooks Emu Bay on the North West Coast and this industrial city is Australia’s fifth largest container port and has Australia’s biggest eucalypt tree farm.  Burnie was once surrounded by dense rainforest, but this sadly, this slowly disappeared as fortunes were made felling and milling timber.  The paper and pulp mill on the city’s outskirts operated from 1938 until it’s closure in 1998.  Today, one of the town’s most distinctive attractions is the Creative Paper Mill, which features the work of local and visiting artists, including roo poo hand-made paper and wonderful life-size paper sculptures.

Monday afternoon, another interview, this time with Elaine Harris and her beautiful guide dog from , ABC Radio, Northern Tasmania.

Charlene Hewat Interview with Elaine Harris

(click MP3 link to listen to interview)

The day was concluded with a talk to Rotary Club Burnie at the Civic Centre that evening.  Thanks to Rotarian Allan Jamieson for coordinating Burnie.

Tuesday 2nd August

Busy day for Charlie with newspaper interviews, one with The Examiner and another with The Advocate.  The Australian media have been very supportive in following the tour and promoting the plight of the endangered Rhino!  That evening, we did another presentation to The Lions Club and it was wonderful to have in the audience a dear old lady who was 96 years old.


  1. Miss Nichols and class,Thanks for including our mddile school blog on your blogroll. I use this blog to teach the grade 6/7 students how to use technology at school.They had a great time on Earth Day where all my classes went paperless. In literacy, we took photos of things representing adjectives and in numeracy pictures representing mathematical terms. Students could use their mobile phones or a digital camera, then they had to transfer to a folder on our school public drive.As Miss W. doesn’t have a mobile phone, she learnt from the students how to use bluetooth to transfer the images to her laptop.

Speak Your Mind