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Here is the Australian context page for the "Bony" mysteries by Arthur William Upfield.
Here is a map of the locations illustrated on these pages. Click on the map brown dots (will be revised Oct. 2003) to go to the larger version of the image. Or you can navigate from the links below the map.
Places I saw during the Northern Hemsiphere Summer of 1996 are listed below. There are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites among them. This is my journal (including transribed notes) of an extraordinary trip.
Shark Bay (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Peron Peninsula
I liked this the best of all the places I visited for its diversity of habitats. There were islands, peninsulas and mini archipelagos (with great places like the salt works at Useless Bay) and the continent itself---some of it four billion years old. A biological treasure to rival the Galapagos Islands! Standing and watching the stromatolites erode at Hamelin Pool was like a journey back more than three billion years (even though the microbial flora and fauna are recent and the air has a whole lot less carbon dioxide than the pre-Cambrian atmosphere). You could even imagine yourself farther back in time to some of the most ancient days of this planet. How you get to Shark Bay (via the Monkey Mia Resort) is an adventure...including the S.W.A.T. (South West Australia Taxi) taxi service. These were wonderful people with a sense of humor and genuine expertise about the outback natural history.
The only problems at this place were death adders and bush typhus (carried by chiggers) and bush flies. I got the typhus (nasty) and later had to get the antibiotics which zapped the typhus. The chiggers are still doing fine.
Quite by accident, I discovered that bush flies detest Vaseline Intensive Care Smooth Legs and Feet Lotion (possibly the lactic acid futzes up their radar), which worked great as a repellent for tiny livestock (arthropods) all over Australia. Lotsa ants, which the local lizards love.
And the Northern Peron Peninsula is now a park (The Eden Project) guarded by a Gate right out of Jurassic Park. The hope is that the area will revert to its former state. However, getting unstuck from an ecological dilemma is never easy...in this case, the ecosystem had drifted toward accommodating its new (introduced) species. Now the human types want to turn back the clock...the ecosystems may not be listening. Check these pages out to see what appears to be happening.
Broome and Eighty Mile Beach
Broome has a mother of pearl industry for those who like shopping, but its main attraction for me was Eighty Mile Beach, which has a wonderful little motel as a bird observatory. This beach is accessible by unsealed (that means unpaved!) road. It has 2 kilometer wide tidal flats and is a truck stop for incredible numbers of birds. There is also a well-maintained nature walk through the bush. If you are a birder, do this incredible place ASAP.
Visit the Australian Natural History links page (scroll to bottom of this list) to connnect to an informative web site.
Derby on King Sound
A lovely piece of Australian History, with old docks for a reduced cattle industry and a genuine interest in tourists. At low tide, you can stand on the piers and watch the mudflats come to life. Fiddler crabs semaphore each other and the mudskippers (my favorite spunky little fish!) go through their jaw wrestling bouts (their version of face Olympics).
The town has interesting shopping and historical sites. The main street is planted with huge boabs, which give it a unique ambiance.
Wyndham, Five Rivers confluence
The Forrest, Durack, Chamberlin/Salmond, King and Ord/Dunham Rivers empty into the Cambridge Gulf.
Chamberlin Gorge (aboriginal art)
Barrett Gorge (yes, gorges are where the water is during the Dry Season)
Mount Elizabeth Cattle Station
Emma Gorge and El Questro Cattle Station (modified for tourists) near the Durack River, Pentecost River and Chamberlin Gorge
Alice Springs, Uluru/Ayres Rock and Kata Tjuta/The Olgas (UNESCO World Heritage Site 1987)
MacDonnell Ranges (Palm Valley )
Darwin and Humpty Doo (yes, there really is such a place and the web site here gives a brief history and connections to its attractions)
Yellow Waters at the Alligator Rivers (Crocs-R-Us)
Katherine Gorge National Park
The Kakadu National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site 1981) PBS video series "The Living Edens: Kakadu)
From the UNESCO web site: This unique archaeological and ethnological reserve, located in the Northern Territory, has been inhabited continuously for more than 40,000 years. The cave paintings, rock carvings and archaeological sites record the skills and way of life of the region's inhabitants, from the hunter- gatherers of prehistoric times to the Aboriginal people still living there. It is a unique example of a complex of ecosystems, including tidal flats, floodplains, lowlands and plateaux, and provides a habitat for a wide range of rare or endemic species of plants and animals.
Nourlangie (aboriginal art)
Litchfield Park area, Wangi Falls and the Reynolds River (magnetic termite colonies on a flood plain)
Queensland Wet Tropics (UNESCO World Heritage Site 1988)/Daintree Rainforest and the Silky Oaks Resort
The York Peninsula offers exceptional tours with competent natural history guides. Birdwatching is exceptional.
Cairns-Kuranda Railway (1882-1891)
The Skyrail Wet Tropics Experience
Wet Tropics Safaris
Great Barrier Reef (UNESCO World Heritage Site 1981)
Lizard Island ( a fringing reef around a partially submerged mountanin on the northern Great Barrier Reef.
Heron Island ( a coral island on the southern Great Barrier Reef on the Tropic of Capricorn) and an amazing example of an ecosystem with tightly packed and seriously defended niches.
Links to major web sites concerning Australian natural history
Incomplete but useful bibliography & resource page Bibliography
A detailed set of tourist maps may be found Here.
Many thanks to Odyssey Safaris (Australia) and two of their great natural history guides Mike Stewart of Humpty Doo and Maj. Colin Gould (Ret.) of ANZAC.
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