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lake mountain alpine resort

Our First Snow Experience in Australia: Lake Mountain Resort

Squinting through the fog, I strain to pick out the girls from the sea of people at the top of the toboggan run. There are two problems with this: one, the fog is so thick I can barely see the fingers on my outstretched hand before me; two, it seems like every other child on the mountain is dressed in the same pink and blue checked Aldi ski-gear.

Eventually, I locate my eldest just as she pushes off from the top of the slope, whooping as she descends… then bashing into some poor soul’s shins at the bottom. I race after her, signalling apology to the cross guy rubbing his wounds.

It is an early start to make it to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort before the crowds descend. I had been warned to arrive early as admission to the resort closes after the day’s limit of cars is reached. Waking the family at 5.30am isn’t easy, especially when the kids have finally achieved the Holy Grail of sleep and regularly sleep through the night. The promise of snow and a day on the slopes is an easy bribe. The words, Frozen, Elsa and Anna may have been mentioned to entice them from their slumber.

After a quick breakfast and a few squabbles about the suitability of glittery tap shoes on the snowfields, we head off for our first frolic in the snow in Australia.
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koala australia

Save the Koala Month 2017

September is the natural breeding season for koalas, so it’s very fitting that the entire month is dedicated to the Save the Koala campaign.

Now in its 29th year, Save the Koala Month was created in 1988 to raise awareness of the plight of the koala and encourage fundraising to support the work of the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF). The money raised through Save the Koala Month goes towards the long term survival of Australia’s wild koala population, which, according to the AKF, sits around 43,000. Only a decade ago the koala population was in the hundred thousands.

To ensure the long term survival of koalas in the wild, the AKF works on getting effective legislation passed at a federal level. However, because the AKF is a not-for-profit organisation, it does not receive government funding. They depend on donations from individuals and the community to be able to continue their work.

sleeping koala

Image by Alex Proimos via Wikimedia Commons

Koala concerns

There are a number of factors influencing the decline in wild koala population. Found mainly in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and a few small areas in South Australia, koalas in many parts of Australia have been ravaged by drought or bush fires over the past few years, which has severely impacted on koala numbers.

Clearing of land for housing, agriculture and development is encroaching on the koala’s natural habitat, with vast green corridors that koalas once used to move around disappearing.

CEO of the AKF Deborah Tabart OAM says, “Residential developments in koala habitats has pushed the marsupial native’s population in southeast Queensland to a point beyond recovery.” As a result, the AKF is campaigning the federal government to establish a Koala Protection Act, which would see tighter constraints imposed on the type of areas developers could build in, thus protecting koala habitats.

With a rise in human settlement comes a higher risk of dog attacks, especially if green corridors are non-existent, which means the only way koalas can get from tree-to-tree is to climb down and walk. This also increases the risk of injury and death from traffic accidents.

If koalas manage to escape being hit by a car, attacked by a dog or caught in a bush fire, there’s always a chance they could catch a dose of chlamydia, which is currently rife among some populations of koala. The good news is that a scientist very recently discovered a new drug to treat chlamydia in koalas, which can have a devastating effect on the animals causing blindness, pneumonia, infertility and even death.

koala smiling

Image by Adolf via Wikimedia Commons

How You Can Help Save Koalas

Every year, the AKF asks the public to come up with, and implement new fundraising ideas. The more innovative the better!

Deborah Tabart of the AKF is amazed at the creativity of koala lovers from around the globe. “Without the people of the world, the plight of the koala would be much worse. Now it is time to save koala habitats.”

Hold your own fundraiser

Have a garage sale; host a cake stall; sell stickers, organise a no-uniform day at school asking everyone involved to give a gold coin donation towards the Save the Koala fund.

Buy merchandise directly from the AKF

The AKF sells stickers, temporary tattoos, wristbands and soft toys through their online shop that you can sell as part of a fundraiser, or keep for yourself if you wish.

Collect donations

Place a donation box in your workplace or child’s school. If you’re really keen, contact your local council and ask if you can place a few donation boxes around your suburb or town.

Get crafty

Dig out the knitting needles and sewing machine and get creative. Handmade toys and gifts are great to sell to raise funds.

Get social

Use social media for good – spread the word about your fundraising efforts to maximise reach of this year’s Save the Koala Month, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #STKM or #STKM2017 when sharing.

The AKF is always looking for new ideas on how to generate funds to continue their work in koala protection. If you can think of any new and innovative ways to support the AKF, get in touch with them via the Save the Koala website or the Save the Koala Facebook page.

This article first appeared on Our Planet Travel. The information has since been updated.

You can read more articles about Koalas on Eco Traveller Guide here.

7 Reasons to Visit Prague

Main image: “Prague” by Jaroslav Kviz

Jenny Day, co-author of Prague Green City Guide – the first sustainable travel guide to Prague, shares her secrets of the city with Eco Traveller readers.

Sometimes called the Golden City, Prague practically glows with nostalgia. The famous medieval Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square attract millions of visitors every year, seeking a glimpse into the past. But how green is Prague, and what does its future hold?

Prague’s greener side is slowly but surely emerging from the bottom up, thanks to its local businesses, artists and active citizens. For eco-travellers, there has never been a better time to visit. From vegetarian restaurants to sustainable design shops, Prague has no shortage of sustainable alternatives, proving the city has come a long way since the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

So if being one of the best preserved cities in Europe wasn’t good enough cause to visit, here are seven more (and greener) reasons to go to Prague in this mini Prague travel guide.

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Falling in Love With Bahia, Brazil

I decide to go to Bahia, Brazil while listening to Caetano Veloso’s “Alegria, Alegria” (“Joy, Joy”) on my living room couch. Veloso’s voice rings out “Eu vou, Porque nao porque nao?” which translates to “I go, why not why not?” Veloso’s hit song and debut self-titled album came out in 1968 while the military dictatorship still gripped Brazil. Censorship and exportation were very real threats at the time, so artists had to be careful. Veloso later told the New York Times: “It was against the dictatorship without saying anything about it.” The spirit of resistance through music, metaphor, and wit immediately sparks my interest in Brazil, particularly Bahia, where Veloso was born. Besides, Veloso is practically telling me, “Go! Why not?”

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airbnb woodend

A Weekend in Woodend :: A Rustic Cottage Review and Mini Travel Guide

Only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Woodend is a small town in the Macedon Ranges. It was settled during the gold rush in the early 1800s and was the main thoroughfare for prospectors heading up through the Black Forest to Bendigo and Ballarat. Today, it’s a quiet town, but has a quintessential Australian village atmosphere making it a popular tourist destination.

I’ve escaped for the weekend with two good friends, who I rarely get to see. One from Christchurch in New Zealand and one from Melbourne. We used to enjoy an odd dance or two in good old London Town in a past life and now with six kids between us the only way to have an uninterrupted conversation is to hide away in the woods. Woodend seems like the perfect place.
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travel booking engine

INTERVIEW :: Eco Travel Search and Booking Engine Eco Companion

Travel search and booking engines are proliferating like rabbits online. They have grown in such number over the last few years that it is now almost impossible to keep track of which ones offer the best deal or if indeed eco stays and holidays are available through them. Usually I have to search deeper and deeper to find any hint of an eco-orientated hotel, regardless of the green rhetoric many booking engines spruik from time-to-time.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was one portal dedicated solely to the various eco accommodations and experiences available worldwide?

Naturally, I was excited when Eco Companion ventured onto my radar. Interested to find out more about this new eco travel search engine, the idea behind it and how they work, I spoke with Eco Companion’s editor-in-chief Taz Bogue and Eco Companion’s founder Max Sinclair.

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5 Environmental Benefits of Staying in a Log Cabin

There’s something romantic about a wisp of smoke spiraling from the chimney of a log cabin on the top of a mountain. Not only are the views amazing, but you’re also in the perfect place to pause, relax and get in touch with yourself and nature.

The benefits of staying in a cabin go beyond great views. It’s a great way to  lessen your environmental impact. From its construction to how it stores and uses energy, a log cabin is ecologically friendly in more ways than one.

Here we share five reasons why it’s good to get cosy in a cabin on vacation.

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The Lost Lands Festival is Here!

I think I’ve found ‘The One’. Yes, it’s true. Since I’ve been frequenting Australian shores I’ve been waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting for the right one to come along. And now it seems my wait is finally over. The Lost Lands festival is here!

Set to be held on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend (29th-30th October) in the blissful sprawling grounds of Werribee Mansion and Parklands, The Lost Lands is a two-day music and arts festival designed for families and friends. It is the brainchild of Falls Festival founder Simon Daly, who seems to have his finger firmly on the festival lovers’ pulse. It’s like he’s been in my head.

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baby gorilla rwanda

Kwita Izina: Where Conservation Meets Sustainable Tourism

Written by Belise Kariza – Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board

Around much of the world, the hearth is the heart of the home. Especially in Africa, as a meeting place for warmth and wisdom, families and societies would sit in front of the fireplace and without realising it develop the very traditions and values that are passed down to future generations.

While the fireplace has been replaced by central heating, there is still a central hearth where Rwandans gather as a united community with one of our most important shared values: conservation of our natural treasures. Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony, has become a platform which ignites and sustains the fire for conservation and the sustainable tourism dialogue. In other words, the ceremony is the fireplace of common sense when it comes to the direction of the tourism industry in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.

Izuru's baby. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.

Izuru’s baby, Ndumunyarwanda meaning ‘I’m Rwandan’. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.

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A Short Guide to Sustainable Key West

Home of the Southermost Point of continental United States, Ernest Hemingway’s island home and the most unusual cemetery I’ve ever seen, Key West is that charmingly quirky place you crave when traveling. The streets are lined with performers, artists and shops with hilariously unusual keepsakes. Trek a few blocks and you’ll find yourself on the brim of a wildlife sanctuary that locals dedicate themselves to preserving. Food, the outdoors, excitement and sustainability sums up Key West, Florida.

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