As part of our Great Ocean Road sojourn we spent a night at The Great Ocean Rd Ecolodge.
Our hosts Shayne, a former dairy farmer with a Science degree majoring in natural resource management and his partner Lizzie, a zoologist have fulfilled a dream to create an Ecolodge that celebrates our natural resources and what a great way to be reminded just how special our natural environment is.
Shayne and Lizzie have also established the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation where their flagship project is the search for the highly vulnerable species the Tiger Quoll
The Tiger Quoll had not been sighted for over a decade in the region however recent physical sightings confirmed through identification of quoll scats have caused much excitement. The Tiger Quoll is mainland Australia’s largest, and the world’s longest living carnivorous marsupial and is also rumoured to be living in the rainforest at Clover Hill with local lifestyle farmers saying they are killing their chooks.
Quolls are vulnerable to decline for a number of reasons.They require certain climates and habitats and tend to live in low densities, and don’t have long lifespans It is believed the biggest threat to the quoll is habitat destruction. Conservationists like Shayne and Lizzie are using population monitorings and public education to preserve the species as well as a dedication to preserving their habitat.
Some quoll populations have common latrines and this had led to innovative techniques to locate them.
Shayne Neal trades cow poo in search of Tiger Quoll poo
Shayne is currently training dogs to locate quoll latrine sites, including this guy below who was determined not to let me photograph him. Apparently the dogs will become obsessed by latrine sites and Shayne is currently waiting on research permits to test out this technique which will hopefully locate and provide opportunities to put collars on the quolls for monitoring and research and help protect this native endangered species
Guests are also invited to assist with the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife and believe me they are very happy to get involved.
“Conservation begins with just one tree planted, one child instilled with a passion for the natural world, and one little orphaned koala rescued”
German research intern Sabina feeds what I believe is most divine animal on the planet one of its 3 daily milk feeds.
Friendly kangaroos enjoy the short sweet grass on the lawn in the early mornings and late afternoon.
When I was about 8 I had my first visit to Taronga Park Zoo and my parents bought me a soft toy Koala just like this one and I still have it
It was an incredible experience to get so close to these little orphans who will be released back into the National Park when the are big enough. They are fed milk 3 x daily and feast on the leaves of the Eucalypt Vinimalis otherwise known as the Manna Gum.
We also had the opportunity to feed the Silver Gliders who are very happy to lick a mixture of honey and ants directly from your fingers
Dinner and breakfast at the Ecolodge is cooked by the gorgeous Kylie and it is a great opportunity to engage with the other guests
Our chef Kylie
During our visit we met three very fit friends who have been enjoying walking tours together for 25 years. A delightful mother and daughter originally from Sri Lanka and a young couple with a very unique story. Jesse and his gorgeous wife are also camera fanatics a bit like me
Jesse who is American met his Australian wife via the internet after three years of playing each other on the video game World of Warcraft. Jesse an IT specialist was originally a bit peeved to find his clever opponent was a woman but is one happy man now.
I took a little video footage of Sabina feeding the Koalas – so cute
Thanks for the hospitality Shayne, Lizzie, Kylie and Sabina. Michael and I found the Ecolodge and its treasures a very special experience indeed.
Find out more here www.greatoceanecoldge.com.au