World-renowned brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo says there is no place on earth like the Tarkine.
He confesses he had never heard of the area until his patient Trudi Bird, who grew up at Redpa, “coerced” him to visit.
Mrs Bird, 50, and her husband Scott left the North West coast more than 30 years ago to forge a successful career in the music industry in New South Wales where they have a recording studio.
Dr Teo operated on her first brain tumour 17 years ago and again in 2013.
“Trudi wanted me to visit their land, I’m a Buddhist and it resonated. She told me she had become friends with Bob Brown so my ears pricked up because I wanted to meet him,” Dr Teo said.
“I had worshipped him from afar. I’m not a greenie, I’ve only voted Labor or Liberal and I have an inherent distrust of politicians.”
Dr Brown, the former Australian Greens leader, showed Dr Teo the Tarkine at the weekend
“Bob impressed me because our lives have not been dissimilar in some ways - we have both fought David and Goliath battles and shown tenacity and not given up,” Dr Teo said.
“My colleagues have been vehemently opposed to me and tried to destroy me so I have had to swim against the tide.
“The guy is a phenomena - amazingly inspirational.”
But Dr Teo, who rarely finds time to go on holidays and operates in several countries including the United States, Germany, Singapore and India, says there are differences between the two men.
‘I try to save lives, I’m paid well and get instant gratification from my work, so it is easy for me,” he said.
“Bob has no instant gratification, he is doing this for our future, he’s not paid well and I wonder where he gets the drive.”
The 61-year-old surgeon, who has a reputation for taking on difficult surgery, says the Tarkine area is unique.
“It’s so unique, I thought I had seen it all because I’m a global neurosurgeon and I’ve seen the seven wonders of the world, done Machu Picchu seven times and been down the Nile and Amazon.
“But there's no other place on earth like it - it has history, unique flora and fauna, beaches, wild coastline and rainforest.”
Dr Teo, whose last holiday was in Africa 18 months ago with his wife and four daughters, wants to see the area preserved.
“I’m not political but what perplexed me most was I noticed your car number plates say ‘Tasmania, the natural state’ when you support logging and the destruction of nature,” he said.
“That seems ironic to me.”
Mrs Bird’s last surgery was nearly six years ago and she has yearly check-ups with Dr Teo because her last tumour was grade three.
The Birds bought 185 acres of wilderness at Lower Wilmot and are always happy to be home to see family and friends. Mrs Bird persisted with her invitations for Dr Teo to visit.
She says she had enormous confidence in him.
“He is a great person and treats you like you’re one of his children,” Mrs Bird said.
Dr Brown said he was not surprised Dr Teo loved the Tarkine.
“It is a marvellous piece of country by world standards,” Dr Brown said.
“It is not political territory – it is heart territory.
“Charlie is another highly regarded Australian who knows we can do better.
“All credit to Trudi for bringing him here.”