TERRI IRWIN: 'This is me'
No doubt this woman needs no introduction due to her prominence within the region. But Terri Irwin is the matriarch of the famous Irwin family.
Together with husband Steve Irwin, the couple built an empire around wildlife conservation and education.
The popular Beerwah-based Australia Zoo is one of the country's most renowned tourist attractions and has won many tourism and environmental awards.
After the tragic death of Steve in 2006, Terri held the family together while still operating a thriving, successful business.
Today she is joined by her children Bindi and Robert to run the family business.
1 Favourite time of day and why?
I love late afternoons at Australia Zoo when we've closed for the day and I can collect my thoughts in the beautiful gardens with the kangaroos.
2 What excites you?
Anything wildlife makes me excited. I love sharing wildlife experiences and beautiful habitats with Bindi and Robert.
3 Favourite sport? Player or spectator?
I really admire the discipline and training in the sport of body building.
I have experienced body shaping myself, and it's such a sense of achievement to reach specific goals to feel healthy and strong.
4 Best childhood memory?
I remember being about eight years old when my dad explained to me that even if I had the best house and the most beautiful room, I wouldn't want to be stuck inside all the time. He said that wildlife feels the same. Whenever our family took in an injured or orphaned animal, I knew that no matter how much I loved it, wildlife belongs in the wild. This was a defining moment in my life.
5 Where were you born?
I was born in Oregon, in America's Pacific Northwest.
6 Where would you like to holiday?
I have never experienced polar bears in the wild. There is a tiny island in the Bering Sea between Russia and the US where polar bears actually peek into the windows of the local cabins.
That would be an awesome holiday.
7 Cats or dogs? Do you have a pet?
Our dog Stella is utterly delightful. She has her own Instagram site (@stellairwinthepug) with more than 70,000 followers. She also has her own gift range at Australia Zoo, and is even an honorary K-9 Unit dog with the Queensland Police.
8 Who are your heroes?
My first hero was my dad because he believed I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. My second hero was my husband Steve, because he believed I could achieve goals that even I didn't think were possible. Now my heroes are my children. Bindi and Robert are brave, determined and utterly amazing.
9 Dream job?
I am living the dream. Working with the most beautiful wildlife in the most beautiful places makes it feel like it's not work at all.
10 What will you be doing in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be affecting more positive change, protecting our fragile environment. I want to see Australia Zoo become carbon neutral, as well as providing wonderful experiences with overnight accommodation, and sharing more spectacular wildlife with our guests.
11 What's the best thing about living on the Sunshine Coast?
From the Glass House Mountains to the spectacular hinterland rainforests and our stunning beaches, this is the most beautiful place on Earth.