Tuesday, 27 January 2015
A letter from Oz.
One of our voluntary wardens, Meriel Howe, has been sending us updates from her trip to Australia. I thought that you might all be interested and that we could encourage other volunteers to send "digital postcards" like this. Meriel spent her 70th birthday climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge! Let me know what you think.
I've just spent a few memorable days over the New Year at a truly amazing location in Queensland called the Undara Experience. The site is located in a volcanic area, so has its own special topography, flora and fauna. The accommodation offered was either tents, pioneer huts or converted railway carriages circa 1950 ( some with vintage "ensuite" ).
You could go on a variety of self-guided bush walks and / or join a led walk - so we did a mixture of both. The highlight was probably the sunset tour where we trecked up to the top of a volcano and had a wonderful view over the bush, lightning strikes in the distance, watching the setting sun with a glass of champagne! Wow!
After a careful descent we then walked to a very special lava tube, which was basically a maternity unit for micro bats, and watched the mass exodus as between 200,000 and 300,000 emerged on their night feeding mission. Even more eerie were the many snakes that hung from the trees and cave openings in the hope of a good meal of bats.
Lots more info and super pics on their website, Facebook and utube at www.undara.com.au
We particularly enjoyed the walk around the rim of Kakani's crater, and the guided walk into the longest lava tubes in the world - made even more interesting by the excellent multi tasking Rangers.
Hope all is well with you,
In Oz, Kangaroo Island was an interesting destination - just far enough off the mainland to foster an almost Darwinian explanation of evolution. In the Northern Territories, the Kakadu National park was home to salt-water crocodiles and varied wetland birds. The management of the park had been handed back to the indigenous people and a $25 levy was raised from every individual entering the park to fund the conservation program.
Fraser Island was home to crocodile, wild dingos and nasty biting insects, but we were lucky enough to see green turtles, giant ray, dolphins and sharks from the top of Indian Head Rocks. In June and July the migrating whales come to play in the warm waters.
Whilst in tropical Queensland, we stayed at Undara Lodge and had a magical time exploring volcanic formations and watching thousands of micro bats emerging from lava tubes at dusk to go and feed.
In reply to a request for a photo of me, as usual, I have very few as I was taking the photos.
However - a few enclosed for you to choose from, including one of me 70th birthday climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge!