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Cumberland River and cliffs on Gadubanud Country, VIC. Photo: Luke Nagle
Cumberland River and cliffs on Gadubanud Country, VIC. Photo: Luke Nagle

My happy place

Words by Rachel Lowry, Chief Executive Officer
Location: Gadubanud Country, Victoria
Published 25 Mar 2024

The car winds around the coastline. Salt air rushes through an open window. We catch glimpses of rolling waves, golden sandstone cliffs, and the dark green of thick gum forest.

“Mum, what will the glow worms be like this year?” 

“Do you think our hideout in the bush is still there?”

The kids’ backseat chatter builds anticipation. Then we turn the final corner. I see the cliffs, nearly engulfed by the Otway National Park. There it is, my happy place, Cumberland River on Gadubanud Country, along Victoria’s west coast.

It’s here, with the bundle of growing family memories that I effortlessly step into nature’s magic.

Devices and power are left behind, to make space for swimming, walks, and our innate curiosity toward nature to grow.

The microclimate of this incredible patch of bush means every year is different. We experience years of dry warmth that demand nonstop ocean time. Then, years of cool, wind and rain, where extra layers are mandatory.

This unpredictability helps you to give in to nature, which is reinforced by the landscape. The dense forest, the rocky gorge, and the ocean are all multi-sensory. They triangulate to remind you of your place on our wondrous earth. It's both grounding and energising.

Rachel Lowry below the cliffs at Cumberland River on  Gadubanud Country, VIC. Photo: Coco McYork

I feel so lucky to share this experience with my kids and want this to continue for my grandkids. But for this to happen, we as a species have work to do.

I am mindful that I join Bush Heritage and our dedicated community at a time when the pressures threatening our irreplaceable natural heritage are intensifying. 

By being on healthy Country at Cumberland, I’m reminded that there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing than stepping onto the front line to protect our precious biodiversity and safeguard happy places for future generations.

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