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Archive for australia

Between Two Capes

By Linda Tancs

Extending from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in Western Australia offers more than 300 limestone caves, significant stands of karri and jarrah forest and impressive views from limestone sea cliffs. The park can be entered at many points along the coast. You can also walk the 86-mile territory (over several days, of course) via the Cape to Cape Walking Track between the park’s namesake lighthouses. Whatever you do, don’t miss Sugarloaf Rock, a popular observation area for seabirds and thought to be the only place in the South West region where the red-tailed tropicbird nests.

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Australia’s Favorite Steam Train

By Linda Tancs

Easily accessible by fast electric train from Melbourne, Puffing Billy is arguably Australia’s favorite steam train. Over a century old, the train still runs on its original 15-mile track between Belgrave and Gembrook. That route takes you through the Dandenong Ranges, a set of low mountain ranges east of Melbourne, featuring Emerald Lake Park and cool climate gardens. You can book a tour through any of the major day tour operators.

A Taste of Margaret River

By Linda Tancs

The Margaret River region in western Australia is known for its craft breweries, wine and beaches. But don’t neglect its natural wonders, like Cape Naturaliste at the northernmost point. In addition to  excellent walking trails, the area features Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse with breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and the beautiful Geographe Bay coastline. A fully-guided lighthouse tour will regale you with stories of shipwrecks and lighthouse keeping.

A Rocky Show in Australia

By Linda Tancs

You might say Australia’s Murujuga National Park really rocks. Designated the 100th national park in western Australia, the park lies within a larger National Heritage Listed place, created in July 2007 over the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago. The area is renowned for its extensive rock art collection, comprising shell middens, stone artifact scatters, quarries, stone arrangements, ceremonial and mythological sites, graves and petroglyphs. In fact, the site is thought to contain the highest concentration of petroglyphs of any known site in the world. The rock art has deep meaning for the local Aboriginal people; avoid taking photographs of humanoid rock art figures.

A Christmas Treat Down Under

By Linda Tancs

Christmas doesn’t normally conjure thoughts of tropical equatorial climates unless, of course, you’re visiting Christmas Island. Just a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean, the Australian territory northwest of Perth is largely a national park. It’s perhaps best known for its native wildlife, particularly the imposing bright red crab. At the beginning of the wet season (usually between October and November), most adult red crabs suddenly begin a spectacular migration by the millions from the forest to the coast to breed and release eggs into the sea, a process that can last up to 18 days. Movement peaks during cooler hours, early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Talk about a red carpet!

A Living Landscape in Australia

By Linda Tancs

Anangu, the Aboriginals, have lived at and managed Uluru for thousands of years. Better known as Ayers Rock (a massive sandstone monolith), it’s a protected area located in the Northern Territory of Australia, part of Uluru-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. It’s not uncommon to see its inhabitants dot painting, performing inma (traditional dance and song), telling stories or gathering bush tucker. One of the highlights of a visit there is a sunrise or sunset viewing of the rock, with five areas specifically dedicated to viewing and photographing the spectacular hues. At Talinguru Nyakunytjaku you have the choice of three shelters, two viewing platforms and a few miles of walking track to find the perfect spot.

Bringing Art to Life

By Linda Tancs

You might feel like a million bucks (as the saying goes) in Portsea, Australia. That’s where you can see how the other half live along Millionaire’s Walk to Sorrento. But you can’t put a price tag on vistas, like the ones along Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail. Following the cliff line between Portsea and Sorrento, it’s played the muse to many an artist. In fact, the route is lined with images of paintings positioned as closely as possible to the scenes depicted by the artists. Located 37 miles south of Melbourne, the tony destination also sports a labyrinth of 19th century tunnels and fortifications in Point Nepean National Park that were built to guard Port Phillip heads. Pay a visit to the historic Quarantine Station, established in the early 1800s as grazing land and repurposed as a haven for refugees.

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