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AUSTRALIA

 AUSTRALIA;

:  Area; 7,716,545 km2

AUSTRALIAN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. AYRES ROCK- MOUNT OLGA NATIONAL PARK(AUSTRALIA);
  • Establishment; 1958 (Northern Territory). The area has given rise to many aboriginal legends.
  • Geographical location: Southwestern part of northern Territory
  • Size: 124,672 ha
  • Accessibility: By road from Alice springs (airport, 445km)
  • Accommodation: Fully equipped camping area of Ayers rock.
  • GEOLOGY:

Ayres rock and Mt. Olga are large monoliths of sedimentary quartzite of granite origin.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

Ayres rock springs 348 km above the surrounding scrub plain, which is 860m, above sea level. The huge boulder, over 3 km long by 2.4km wide, is famous for its colors that change with the light (tawny to cinnamon or orange, but almost black under clouds, and burning red in the setting sun). Erosion is constantly at work on the steep and precipitous slopes.

Winds whining and whistling around fissures produce strange sounds, which have created many of the aboriginal legends.  Some caves have aboriginal rock-paintings with hunt scenes of ancient times. Mount Olga, from five miles across, looks like a land of fantasy; a dome of gigantic pebbles rising 1,068m above sea level and crowned by a diadem of glowing stones.

Actually Mt. Olga is a series of 30 enormous monoliths each with a rounded summit and almost vertical wind-and water- polished smooth Hairy sides. It too turns orange – red at sunset but not so blood red as Ayers Rock.

 

  • CLIMATE:

Hot and dry climate of the desert.  Rains are irregular, but fall heavily when they come, cascading off the slopes of Ayers rock with the roar of ocean waves.

  • FLORA:

Vegetation of the plain and foot hills is dominated by salt- bush, Mulga, Mallee, desert oak, and porcupine grass.

  • MAMMALS:

Wildlife around and partly in the mountains includes Kangaroos and other smaller mammals like the marsupial mouse and also introduced house mouse.

  • BIRDS:

There are emu, keartland’s honey eater, white –plumed honey eater, and black- faced cuckoo shrike. Wedge tailed eagles soar on the upwinds produced by the vertical rock walls.

  • OTHER VERTEBRATES:

The most conspicuous  of the reptiles is the large goanna lizard that frequents the base of the rocks.

  • 2. BELLENDEN KER NATIONAL PARK(AUSTRALIA);
  • Establishment: 1921, modified 1962 (Queensland). Bellender Ker plateau lies within Australia’s greatest belt of dense tropical rainforest. It affords some of the most magnificent mountain scenery of the continent with vistas of distant white sandy beaches, the deep blue pacific and coral reefs, as well as nearby overlooks of verdant slopes, steep cliffs, and  waterfalls.

 

  • Geographical location:

 

North eastern Queensland, W of Innis fail- Gordonvale Highway

 

  • Size : 32,431 ha

 

  • Accessibility; From Innis fail or cairns.

 

  • GEOLOGY: Bellenden Ker and Bartle Frere consist of granite, interspersed here and there by quartz reefs and slate. Some of the creeks are reported to contain gold.

 

  • TOPOGRAPHY: The Mulgrave River (NW) and the Russell River (s) form the boundaries. Mt. Bartle Frere North (1,611m) and Mt. Bartle Frere south (1,600m) are a few miles apart. High steep ranges and deep ravines with hundreds of streams characterize the country except for the broad Russell River Valley.

 

  • CLIMATE:

 

Perpetual heat and moisture prevail but the air is fresher on the mountains. Rainfall varies from 1,270mm to as much as 4,064 millimeters.

 

  • FLORA:

Many of the forests are primeval. The large number of trees include hoop pine, kauri pine, red cedar, maple, Walnut, Strangler fig, Myrtle, Flame trees , Umbrella trees, Palms (Orania, Linospadix),  bamboos, lace wood, tea tree, flindersia, Draco phylum saveri, and others. There are many creepers and climbers like peppers, the matchbox bean, and Snake wood. Tree ferns are plentiful. Other ferns grow in the trees, and there are also many arboreal orchids, including various species of cymbidium, Dendrobium, and other genera (many of the orchid species are apparently endemic for the area.)

  • MAMMALS:

Most prominent of the mammals are two species of tree Kangaroos (Dendrolagous lum holtzi and D. bennettianus). Others at home in this rain forest; Long- nosed musk Kangaroos and Wallabies, ring- tail possums or phalangers (Three species), striped possum, two species of cuscus, tiger cat, and giant fruit bats.

  • BIRDS:

In rain forests birds are not easily seen but they announce their presence by their songs and calls; for example, spine bill, lesser lewin honey eater, scrub wren, long runner, grey swiftlet, top knot pigeon, and crested hawk. There are two other large ground birds beside the flightless cassowary; the brush turkey and the scrub fowl, which are mound – nest builders.

 

  • OTHER VERTEBRATES;

The scrub python (Liasis amethistinus),  the largest snake of Australia, is the most impressive of the reptiles. Also prominent is Boyd’s forest dragon, (Goniocephalus boydii) with a characteristic dorsal crest.

  • 3. LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK( AUSTRALIA);
  • Establishment; 1915, modified 1963 (Queensland). One of the most interesting bird areas of Australia, with magnificent mountainous forests and waterfalls. This national park includes a section of the rugged Mcpherson Range.
  • Geographical location;

South eastern Queensland, along the border with New South Wales.

  • Size: 19,631, ha
  • Accessibility: By road from Brisbane (105 km)
  • Activities: Hiking trails. horses for hire.

 

 

  • GEOLOGY:

Essentially a volcanic plateau. Volcanic products (in places more than 1,070m thick) reflect tremendous activity during three separate periods; the first produced basaltic and andesitic material; the second, agglomerates and viscous lava flows; the third, the most active, filled the valleys and built up an enormous pile extending 50km or more from the cone.

 

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

The park consists chiefly of Mts with many peaks (highest; Wanungara, 1,196m). Many streams form more than 500 exquisite waterfalls. Panoramic views are everywhere- of the ocean, the coast, and the Great Dividing Range.

 

  • CLIMATE:

Subtropical but prevailing easterly winds assure high rainfall and moisture, giving a tropical aspect to the vegetation. The moderate elevation makes for a cool, pleasant temperature.

 

  • FLORA:

The Park contains some of the oldest trees of the continent, notably Antarctic beeches, estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Their trunks are covered with hanging mosses and ferns. Other trees; the flame tree, more ton Bay chestnut,  fire wheel, giant tristania, hoop pine, several eucalypts. Ferns of many species abound in the gullies and flowering archids adorn many trees in spring.

 

  • MAMMALS:

Most of the forests of this park are rain forests of a temperate type,  one of the largest such areas still existing in Australia and therefore of extreme importance as a refuge to plants and animals peculiar to this habitat. One example is the dormouse opossum that has one of its last strongholds in this park (not often observed because nocturnal like most other mammals). Phalangers parachuting about can glide a distance of 100 meters from one tree to another. The Koala lives among the eucalypts. Other mammals; rock wallaby, tiger cat, (Dasyurops maculatus),  black- tailed Phascogale, common possum, short- eared brush tail possum, rufous ringtail,  platypus, echidna, and dingo. Flying fox and many other species of bats occur.

 

  • BIRDS;

In the dense rain forests and thick shrubs; olive whistler, rufous scrub bird, rifle bird, rufous fantail, Albert lyrebird, regent bowerbird, satin bowerbird, brush turkey, brown pigeon , top knot pigeon, noisy pitta, night heron wedge- tailed eagle, gray goshawk, black falcon, letter winged kite, tawny frog mouth , plumed frog mouth, powerful owl, many cockatoos, rosellas and lorikeets. Other groups of species include broad- billed roller, king fishers, rainbow- bird, and spine tailed swift.

 

  • OTHER VERTEBRATES:

Snakes are common but difficult to see, common black snake, green common tree snake, and the carpet python.

Deadly reptiles like death adder and main land tiger snake occur but are not common.  Many varying groups of lizards like goannas, geckos, skinks, and spiny- scaled lizards. Large species, are the leaf- tailed gecko and the land mullet. Uncommon but spectacular is the rain forest dragon.  Rainforests are the home of many frogs and toads. The great barred river frog may be seen swimming in these streams.

 

  • 4. THE ROYAL NATIONAL PARK ( AUSTRALIA);

Establishment: 1886 (New south wales).  This reserve, dating back to 1886, provides a representative series of East Australian coastland habitats from the pacific sea shores to natural forests with their abundant birdlife and contains many species of native flora and Fauna.

 

  • Geographical Location;

Southern shores of port Hacking, and 12km of coastline.

  • Size: 14,620ha.
  • Climate: subtropical, with abundant rainfall throughout the year.
  • Activities: Intensive tourism, sports, boating.

 

  • GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY;

A part of the Sydney sandstone region and therefore extremely rich in plant species. Rising gradually westward from the coast into a series of ridges up to 240m, the land is intersected by numerous brooks and creeks.

 

  • FLORA;

The dunes are colonized by salt- supporting grasses constantly washed by sprinkles from the ocean waves. Wind- shaped shrubs crowd together on the dune ridge, beyond which  are extensive heaths with dense macchia vegetation,  bank sia shrubs dominating with a great multitude of plants. In spring – throughout September and October- the heath is in splendid flower with cascading blooms of herbs, shrubs, and small trees. Westward the heath changes to an open forest of low eucalypts and acacias.  Some gullies support temperate rainforests with lilly- pilly trees, sassafras (Doryphora),  coach wood, dense growths of tree ferns, hanging vines, and arboreal orchids.

 

  • BIRDS:

Though mammals are rarely seen, birds are very plentiful. Found along the broken shoreline with alternating sandy beaches and flats exposed at high tide; reef herons;  sooty oyster- catchers migratory arctic waders, and silver gulls. Sometimes a great wandering albatross, the world’s largest flying bird, may be spotted over the sea, as well as white- faced storm petrels. In the banksia shrubs live numerous birds; Lories in blood red, blue, green and gold, rosellas, cockatoos, parakeets, and other large and small brilliantly colored parrots make extra patches of color. The bush heaths are the haunt of tiny fairly wrens, sky- blue to violet in color, a group of small birds found mainly in Australia.

In the low- growing eucalypt and acacia forest are the malee fowl and the satin bowerbird, and in the taller and denser forests live the lewin honey eater, the superb lyre bird, many parrots, and many song birds.

 

  • 5. BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK ( AUSTRALIA);

Establishment; 1959. (New south wales). Resembling a minor North American Grand Canyon, Blue mountains national park represents a monumental landscape of eroded rocks towering cliffs, and deep gorges formed by the Grose River, but unlike the Grand Canyon on the park has forest- covered valleys and slopes.

 

  • Establishment: About 96km W of Sidney.
  • Size: 68,00ha.
  • Accessibility: By rail and highway

 

  • GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY;

The Blue Mountains are of  Hawkeysbury sandstone formation, probably originating about 190 million years ago. Plateaus and ranges reach 1,070m, with 180-meterchasms falling away on both sides. Highest cliffs rise bare and multicolored above the forests.

  • FLORA:

Eucalyptus forests and acacias cover lower slopes. Much light penetrates the rather open forest growth, allowing a dense undergrowth where many bushes and flowering plants bring masses of spring bloom of yellow, pink, and white flowers. Above on the plateaus extend vast heathlands with myriads of flowers.

  • MAMMALS: The great gray Kangaroo and several species of brush wallabies, possums, and phalangers may be observed. In undisturbed areas of the Gross River the platypus is common. The wombat goes high up into the mountains.
  • BIRDS:

Masses of flowers in forests and heaths attract many species of honey eaters, found all over the area. Ringing calls of the Lyrebird,  the notes of the yellow robin and the echoing calls of the coach- whip bird are often heard. Wonga pigeons and crimson rosellas display beautiful color.

  • OTHER VERTEBRATES:

Lizards abound in the bushland and eucalyptus forests; some of these, such as the blue tongue, eat fruit.

  1. WYPERFELD NATIONAL PARK ( AUSTRALIA);

Establishment: 1921 (Victoria). This reserve in the Semi- desert Mallee region,  the largest national park of Victoria, was set aside to protect extra ordinary vegetation and wildlife , particularly the Mallee hen, wholly dependent on virgin mallee country (dense, low- growing eucalyptus thickets). It is situated north of Lake Albacutya (about 450km NW of Melbourne), on the eastern margin of the Great Desert.

  • Geographical Location: Northwestern Victoria.
  • Size: 56,000ha.
  • Climate: sub-tropical; very dry
  • Accessibility: via Hope town, or via Dimboola
  • Best visiting: in the spring (September-October).

 

  • GEOLOGY: The Park lies in the Murray Basin, which consists of Cretaceous sediments covered by quarternary deposits. In the upper Oligocene and Miocene periods this part of Australia was invaded by the sea, which retreated in the Pliocene; river silts gradually produced the alluvial plain and a complex pattern of dry lakes and Lagoons.

 

  • TOPOGRAPHY: The area consists of undulating wind- blown sand hills, often over 45m high (probably formed within the last 10,000 years). Despite its aridity, the reserve is by no means a desert

 

  • FLORA:

Central part of park dominated by dense mallee (Eucalyptus gracilis, E . leptophylla, E. Incrassata),  the sandhills to the E and W being lightly covered with heath and dwarf shrubs. In spring the semi – desert bursts into a blazing patch work of yellow, white, pink, and violet flowers. Despite the arid climate there are at least 348 species of flowering plants in the park, including six orchids.

  • MAMMALS: Black – faced Kangaroos roam in hundreds, the commonest but also the wariest of native species. Brush- tail possum is at times very common. The spiny anteater also occurs. Rabbits and foxes are introduced exotics here as they are all over Australia.
  • BIRDS:

The mallee hen, the pink cockatoo and the regent parrot, two of Australia’s finest birds, occur in this park. Other species;  emu, tawny frogmouth, tree martin, eastern white face, 12 species of honey eaters, and black- winged currawong.

  • OTHER VERTERATES;

Western blue- tongue lizard and Gould's sand goanna are common.

  1. KING LAKE NATIONAL PARK( AUSTRALIA );
  • Establishment: 1928 (Victoria) Heavily forested mountain country with deep gullies on the slopes of the plenty ranges along the Southern escarpment of the Great Divide. There are splendid vistas of foothills, plains, and, on clear days, of port Philip Bay. Flora and Fauna are rich and interesting.
  • Location;

About 48km NE of Melbourne.

Size: 5,632 ha, in three sections; open to visitors; Jerorophat Gully, Dame Melba’s look out, and Mason’s Falls (picnic Kiosk)

Accessibility: From Melbourne.

  • GEOLOGY: Rock formations are of Silurian age with beds of sandstone and mudstone containing beautifully preserved marine fossils. These rocks were laid down beneath the sea 400-200 million years ago. The seas have receded; upheavals and earth movements have elevated the land far above what is now sea level.
  • TOPOGRAPHY;

Steep gullies and valleys have been carved by streams. Highest of the many waterfalls. Mason’s Falls on sugar loaf creek, where the water cascades 42m through the bush; the Wombelano falls are also well worth visiting.

  • CLIMATE:

Subtropical- temperate,  favoring a lush vegetation, which is typical for the medium wet forests in central Victoria.

FLORA:

Despite the moisture, the bulk of the vegetation is a tall, dry sclerophyll forest, frequently damaged by bush fires. Narrow- leaf peppermint and messmate (with some trees 30- 45m high) are dominant, shadowing small-  leaved understories of common heath,  hop good enia, and sallow wattle. In gullies are mountain gum and manna gum (45-54m) over dense blanket leaf, musk, silver wattle, and black wood. Tree ferns abound; The rare epiphytic butterfly orchid and the elbow orchid may be found; Liana’s,  such as Wonga vine and Australian clematis, adorn many trees.

There are over 326 plant species, of which 37 are ferns and 20 are orchids, while nine trees belong to the genus Eucalyptus and ten to Acacia.

  • MAMMALS:

The bush of king lake national park supports a wealth of animal species that includes ring- tail possum, great gray Kangaroo, black – tailed wallaby, wombat, bandicoot, dasyure, koala, echidna, and platypus. (Most of these mammals are nocturnal).

  • BIRDS.

Over 100 species have been recorded including parrots and rosellas with splashes of  color, Currawongs, magpie larks, mountain thrushes, gray thrushes, coach whip birds, butcher- birds, cuckoos, cuckoo shrikes, yellow robbins, rose robbins, fan -tails, honey eaters, wrens, tree creepers, sittellas, whistlers, thorn bills, black cockatoos, gang gangs, and Lyrebirds. The wedge- tailed eagle nests-  the wedge- tailed eagle nests in this park and is often seen soaring over the slopes.  Owls and the Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) can be heard at night.

  • OTHER VERTEBRATES;

Among the reptiles,  copper head, white- lipped snake, large skink, and blue tongue may be mentioned.

  1. WILSON’S PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK(AUSTRALIA);
  • Establishment:

1905 (Victoria). The reserve comprises 130km of coastland consisting of sparkling blue boys, long white beaches, dunes, rocky headlands, and rugged mountains with spurs that fall steeply to the sea.

  • Geographical location: Southernmost extremity of the Australian continent.
  • Size: 40,952ha.
  • Climate: sub-tropical, with abundant rainfall at all seasons (averages 1,524mm a year).
  • Accessibility: By rail, road (Melbourne 240km.)
  • Accommodation: Lodges, motels, camping areas.
  • GEOLOGY: Approach is by an isthmus formed by the depositing of sedimentation of sluggish tides and windblown sand. Granite Mountains of rocks rich in quartz veins dominate the promontory. Coastland features show the results of coastal submergence, which occurred after the last worldwide glaciations began to diminish about 15,000 years ago.
  • TOPOGRAPHY;

Mt. Wilson, named in 1798, after Thomas Wilson of London, is 709m high;  the highest Mt. of the park, Mt. La Trobe (754m). Almost all of the land in the interior is mountainous and densely vegetated with numerous gullies and winding streams.

  • FLORA:

More than 700 native plants in the park range from dwarf plants such as heaths, ever lasting daisies, orchids, golden guineas, blue olive-berry, banksias, and bush peas to mangrove, tea trees, acacias, eucalypts, lillypilly trees, coachwood, antarctic beech, blackwood, giant honey- myrtle, casuarinas, sassafras, honey suckles, and tree ferns like the giant cyathea cunninghami. The mountain ash grows to about 60 meters, one of the tallest tree species in the world.

  • MAMMALS:

The mammals of the park’s area were heavily slaughtered before the reserve was established in 1905, and many species disappeared. Simce then several species have slowly recovered, and some others have been re-introduced. Now there are Koala, Wombat, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Bandicoots, Possums, and Australian spiny anteater.

  • BIRDS:

At least 181 species occur, among them the emu, little pied cormorant, egret,  white-  breasted sea eagle, brown hawk, Horsfield bronze cuckoo, spotted quail thrush, gray- backed silvereye and the rare ground parrot.

  1. KOSCIUSKO NATIONAL PARK(AUSTRALIA);

Establishment: 1944 (New South Wales).  This huge area, the snowy mountains, contains all the highest peaks of the Australian mainland and affords sub alpine and alpine landscape scenery, mainly forested. It is the largest of Australia’s national parks, comprising an area the size of the Netherlands.

  • GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:

In the Australian Alps; near Canberra and Sydney

  • SIZE: about 600,000ha.
  • ACTIVITIES: Many tourist facilities; excursions, winter sports, etc.
  • NEAREST CITIES: Canberra (44km); Sydney (58km)
  • GEOLOGY:

The bedrock is chiefly of granite with two large areas of cavernous limestone. The highlands contain conclusive traces of the presence of former Pleistocene glaciers (of which there are relatively few in the southern hemisphere); and glaciated pavements.

  • TOPOGRAPHY: Altitude range; 210- 2,130 meters. Swampy plains, valleys, gorges, plateaus, and mountains, glacial lakes, rivers and waterfalls accentuate the topographical variation.

Highest  Mt. is Mt. Kosciusko (2,229m),  named after a pole, the first European who climbed it. Four other peaks exceed 2,130 meters.

  • CLIMATE:

Situated at high elevation on the crest of the Great Dividing range, the park has low temperatures and high precipitation,  including snow.

  • FLORA:

The rich flora is remarkably heterogeneous in origin and includes about 700 species of flowering plants, almost 200 species of mosses and liverworts, and more than 24 species of ferns. About half of the plants belong to Australian elements, but the others derive from New Zealand, Antarctica, the Asian tropics, South Africa, South America, and the Northern Hemisphere. Gum trees (Eucalyptus) dominate the forest, with snow gum forming the tree line at about 1,830 meters. Alpine meadows display flowers of many species.

  • MAMMALS:

Surprisingly many species of Australia’s peculiar animals ascend quite high up on the snowy mountains.  Some 30 species of mammals include great grey Kangaroos, brush- tailed rock wallabies, wombats, possums, spiny anteaters, and platypuses, which are common. The Koala is slowing recolonizing its ancient habitats.

  • BIRDS

The area has about 150 species of birds; special mention should be made of the emu, Lyre- bird, gang gang cockatoo, crimson rosella, yellow-tailed black cockatoo, white cockatoo, and the wedge-tailed eagle.

  • OTHERS:

In sphagnum bogs above 1,220m lives the corroboree frog, beautifully patterned in black and yellow. An extraordinary insect is a colorful grasshopper, Kosciuskola  tristis, only insect in world known to change color with temperature. In streams and creeks that are still free from introduced trout occurs a small minnow, Galaxias find layi, extremely interesting geographically; it has close affinities with species in New Zealand, sub Antarctic Islands, New Caledonia, South Africa, and South America, and is thus a biogeographic parallel to many plants.

  1. KU RING GAI CHASE NATIONAL PARK AND MUOGAMARRA SANCTUARY(AUSTRALIA);

Establishment: 1894(New south wales).  The Muogamarra sanctuary, a marvelous reserve for native flora and fauna, lies west of the national park and both are situated on the shores of Broken Bay, South of the Hawkesbury River.

  • GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:

Northern suburbs of Sydney.

SIZE: Ku Ring Gai chase, 15,200ha.

CLIMATE: Sub tropical, with abundant rainfall at all seasons.

  • ACTIVITIES:

Water sports, camping, sport fishing; recreation center at Bobbin head. Of special interest: Game park (Koalas and other animals) in the national park.

  • GEOLOGY;

The two reserves are both situated in exposed Hawkesbury sandstone tops, with plateaus, ridges, and deep gullies.

  • FLORA:

Eucalypt forests cover the broken country of Ku ring Gai chase with some areas of open forests and heaths. Both reserves have incredible color effects from masses of wild flowers in the spring, from July to October, with a peak usually in September. Several species of plants that are exterminated elsewhere in New South Wales still exist in Muogamarra, a replica of coastal Australia of 200 years ago.

  • MAMMALS:

Some Koalas and wallabies can be observed in the forests of Ku Ring Gai chase, but a small zoological garden near Bobbin Head for native fauna (mammals, birds, reptiles) within the reserves provides easier opportunities to watch the animals closely.

  • BIRDS:

The two reserves are particularly rich in birds. Numerous honey eaters pollinate various species of eucalypts, acacias, and bank sias. They fill the forests and heaths with their melodious calls (and rather mediocre songs). Among other characteristics birds are shrike thrushes, welcome swallows, Laughing Kookaburras, fork- tailed and spine- tailed swifts, and boobook owls. A great many aquatic birds may be seen; royal spoonbill, darter, great jabirus, black swan, and others.

  1. GREAT BARRIER REEF NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVES (QUEENSLAND);

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s greatest agglomeration of coral reefs and shoals, the work of tiny animals through eons of time.  Lying between 16 and 400km out from the mainland, the reef forms an enormous natural break water.

  • Size: About 30, 800km2 includes some 160 islands and cays.
  • Accessibility: Most islands reached by launch service from mainland.
  • Accommodation: Resorts on most islands.
  • GEOLOGY: Some of the reef formations rise 1,830m above the ocean floor; in general the coral rock is about 120m thick and rests on at least 85m of sandy pigment, in turn presumably supported by a faulted platform of solid rock.

The greater part of  the reef  is always submerged. Living reefs seldom occur much below 30 fathoms. The huge mass of corals of the reef is estimated to be some 30 million years old, starting as a minute marine animal, a polyp. Polyps protect themselves by forming an external skeleton, the coral.  As these animals live in colonies,  a coral reef grows.

  • CLIMATE:

Average temperature of water off Queensland coast does not fall below 600 F, ideal for the growth of coral; the sun’s rays penetrate to depths of the clear seas.

  • FLORA:

The largest of the island national parks is Hichinbrook Island (39,378ha),  created 1932 with a spectacular peak, Mt. Bowen, rising to 1,112 meters. Two other island N/Parks further north; Dunk is (731ha , tourist resort) with rainforest and open woods, and Green is (12ha, guest house, underwater observatory, glass- bottomed boats) , NE of cairns; a cover of damson, beach oak, white cedar, screw pine. South of Hichinbrook is the most interesting island N/Parks are Orpheusls (1,368ha, tourist resort);  magnetic ls (2,535ha, created a N/Park 1954); long island (836ha in the reserve area); Lindeman ls (park covers 715ha),  with open forests of various species of eucalypts;  south Molle ls (411ha, tourist resort),  with grasslands, scrub, and forests; Whit Sunday ls (10,935ha),  considered the most picturesque, covered by hoop pine; Brampton ls (2,948ha,tourist resort), with hoop pine scrub, eucalypts, and she- oaks; Heron ls, a true coral cay, densely wooded.

  • FAUNA:

The rich coral growth of about 300 species of coral in all shapes and sizes is, of course, the background of other marine animals. Associated with the coral reefs are many invertebrates like crustaceans and mollusks, from giant clams to the smallest of cowries and of course millions of little fishes attracting larger fishes.

  • BIRDS:

Heron Island, surrounded by extensive coral reefs, is noted for its birdlife; waders, terns, gulls, herons, pelicans, cormorants, wedge- tailed shear water, lesser frigate bird, greater frigate bird,  osprey, red- backed sea eagle, and white- breasted sea eagle. White- capped noddies nest in Pisonia trees on many islands.

NEWZELAND

Area: 269,714 km2.

NEW ZEALAND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

  • 1. FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK(NEW ZEALAND);

Establishment: 1904 (South Island), the largest national park of the New Zealand, and one of the world’s largest, is an immense fiord land with a spectacular sea coast where bays and sounds penetrate deep into the high mountains, which display lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forests, and glaciers.

  • Geographical Location: Southwestern south island.
  • Size: 1,223,654ha (wilderness area of 11,664ha)
  • Climate: Temperate, with an average rainfall of about 5,000mm.
  • Accessibility: By boat and by road.
  • Activities: Mountaineering, deer stalking, tramping, skiing, watersports.
  • Accommodation: Milford Hotel, Cascade creek, and Lower Holly ford camps.
  • Nearest large town; Queenstown.
  • GEOLOGY:

The oldest rocks of the area were originally sandstones and limestones laid down on the sea bottom 400-300 million years ago. Present Fiordland comprises schists and gneisses. Granites and diorites, as well as volcanic rocks, also exist.

TOPOGRAPHY:

Milford sound, most striking of New Zealand's fiords, mirrors the mountain slopes and peaks parading on both sides (Metre peak, 1,695m, and Mt. Pembroke,  2,045m).  Te Anau is the largest lake of south Island, Mt. Tutoko the highest peak( 2,756m).  Outstanding features are Sutherland Falls (580m), one of the highest in the world, and the Chasm of the Cleddan River that tumbles into the depths of the immense cavern it has carved (with a wonderful view from the chasm of Mt. underwood and the snow domes of Mt. Tutoko);

FLORA:

Beech forests (silver beech and mountain beech) extend along the shore line and climb to about 915-1070 meters. In lower Parts, southern rata, Mountain ribbon wood, rimu, miro, and broad leaf are typical- all thickly coated with moss; also several species of tree- ferns. In the upper forests grass trees are typical. Above the timber line, alpine scrub and grasslands with mountain daisy, New Zealand edelweiss, and spaniard merge into lichen- covered rocks and snow fields.

MAMMALS:

The native mammals are the Forsler's fur seals, which used to be common along the coast before the sealing trade. Sea lions may also be seen. Many introduced mammals include ermine, Possum, wapiti, red deer, axis deer, moose, chamois, goat, pig and rats.

BIRDS:

The park is a refuge for many New Zealand birds not seen elsewhere. All three species of Kiwis – great spotted Kiwi;  little spotted Kiwi, and brown Kiwi occur.

So do the kea and the flightless kakapo, takahe, and weka. The only known remaining habitat of the Kapapo is the Tutoko valley near Milford sound, while the takahe is confined to an area in the Murchison Mountains.

Species often observed; bush robin, bell bird, tomtit, tui, silver eye, yellow – crowned parakeet, kaka, New Zealand pigeon, rifleman, rock wren, New Zealand shoveler, gray duck, paradise duck, blue duck, crested grebe, pukeko, and the Fiordland crested penguin.

Many introduced birds in New Zealand have infiltrated the park; blackbird, greenfinch, dunnock, California quail, and spur – winged plover (Introduced from Australia).

  • OTHERS:

Species like Atlantic salmon, rainbow and brown trout have been acclimatized to encourage fishermen.

  • 2. MOUNT COOK AND WESTLAND NATIONAL PARKS (South Island) - NEW ZEALAND;

The cook national park is chiefly mountainous with 27 peaks above 3,048 meters, snow fields, glaciers, and little forests of silver beech;  westland national park ranges from sea level to 3,497 meters and its mountains, swept by moist winds,  are clothed by  dense forests up to the snow line. The ridge of  the main Divide  in the southern Alps forms the common boundary of the two parks.

  • Geographical Location: New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

Size: Mt. cook N/Park. 70,002ha (created 1953); Westland N/Park; 91,804ha (created 1960);

  • Accessibility: By rail and car, by road, and by air from Christchurch to Ross and Hoikitika, nearest cities.
  • Activities: Skiing, tramping, climbing; Ski- equipped airstrip with year-round scenic trips.
  • Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Lodges( Mt. cook), Hotels in Westland, huts and camps.
  • GEOLOGY:

Mt. cook national park contains mountains of  intensely folded grey wacke sandstone, argilite, and other sedimentary rocks deposited on the sea floor some 150-200 million years ago before they became schists and gneiss; the present peaks and valleys were sculptured by glaciers and streams during a late stage in New Zealand's geology. In the westland N/Park, the alpine fault is well defined and forms an impressive boundary between the Southern Alps and the lowland.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

Over a third of mount-cook N/Park is made up of permanent snow and glaciers.  Within the park are the majority of New Zealand’s great mountains; the highest is mount – cook(3,764m).  Other striking massifs; mount- Sefton (3,157m), mount – La perouse (3,079m),  mount - Hicks (3,183m),  mount- Dampier( 3,440m).

Westland national park’s highest mountain is mountain – Tasman (3,498m), which forms the summit of the boundary with Mount- Cook national park. The large fox and Franz

Joseph glaciers descend, passing luxuriant bush, to within 300 meters above sea level. Other features are Lake Matheson, Lake Mapourika,  and Lake wahapo, rivers, waterfalls, and hotsprings.

  • CLIMATE:

The nearby sea, west winds predominating,  influences the climate of Westland national park. Rainfall, 3,000mm a year near the coast, probably exceeds 7,500mm in the mountains mostly falling as snow above 2,134 meters. Snow line in winter and spring; 1,220-1,525 meters; in summer and autumn;  2,135-2,440 meters.

Mountain- cook N/Park less exposed to the sea, has a more rigid climate, with severe winters and less rainfall.

  • FLORA:

Both parks represent a spectrum of vertical botanical zones; black pine, white pine and totara in the lower valleys (with the conifers min and rimu in river terraces) give way to thick shrubs and mountain cedar above 1,000 meters. Ferns are characteristic of  Westland N/Park. In mount – cook N/Park over 300 species of native plants have been found, chiefly alpine species, with a flowering season from October to January

Edelweiss, gentians, mountain butter cups, daisies (silvery celmisia coriacea and dull green C. petiolata) are conspicuous.

  • MAMMALS:

A great number of introduced exotic mammals exist in the National parks; chamois, red deer, goat, opossum, ermine, weasel, and ferret. A native mammal, however, is Forster's fur seal, which may be observed at Gillespies Beach.

  • BIRDS:

Along the beaches , coastal lagoons, and estuaries; black- backed gull , banded dotterel, New Zealand Kingfisher, three species of shags, among many others.  In swamps; harrier , bittern and pukeho; along river beds and on flats; paradise duck, blue duck, and south island pied oystercatcher;  in lakes;  gray duck, little shag, white heron, and crested grebe; in forests and bush; gray warbler, tui, rifleman, fantail, yellow- crowned parakeet, New Zealand pigeon (also seen in townships), shining cuckoo, and morepork; On the alpine tussock and rocky plateaus;  New Zealand pipit, rock wren , kea (often coming down to Township areas),  and New Zealand Falcon.

  • 3. ARTHUR’S PASS NATIONAL PARK (South Island)- NEW ZEALAND;
  • Establishment: 1929.

The park extends on both sides of the Main Divide of the Southern Alps between the waimakariri and Taramakau Rivers, an area of snowy mountains, broad valleys, forest slopes, and waterfalls. The reserve has been  notable for its alpine flora. On the northern side of the divide in Westland, the otehake wilderness Area has been set aside within the National Park (Access allowed only on foot).  A scenic gem in this area is lake Kaurapataka at an altitude of 415 meters.

Size: 98,371ha.

  • Accessibility: By road (152km from Christchurch), and by rail.
  • Activities: Trampling, climbing, skiing (July- October)
  • Accommodation: Motels, Huts.
  • GEOLOGY:

The area lies within a region in which the crust of the earth is not yet at rest and earthquakes, landslides, and movements of  the riverbeds' whole mass of gravel and sand occur. Dominating rocks in the Arthur’s pass N/Park are gray sandstone, called gray wacke, of sedimentary origin.

Glacial actions of the past have modeled the mountain slopes, moraine deposits dotting the surface with irregular and rocky mounds.

About 10,000 years ago, Arthur’s pass was covered in ice to a depth of more than a hundred meters. The mountain in the vicinity form the present northern limit for true glaciers in south island.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

Altitudinal range; 548 -2,271m (height of mount Rolleston). Arthur’s pass is at 923 meters. The Otira Gorge and the Devil's punchbowl waterfall, nearly 150 meters high, should be mentioned. There are also cirques, bogs, meadows, forests, and alpine heaths.

  • CLIMATE:

Variations are pronounced, since the park is on both sides of the main Divide.  Prevailing NW winds are laden with moisture that condenses on passing over the Southern Alps. Climate to the east much drier. In winter the park is covered with snow.

  • FLORA:

Vegetation reflects the climatic variations; there are at least 13 main plant communities, of which some of the more important are river terraces with tussock, grasslands;  bogs and margins of tarns with sedge cushions, bog moss turfs, bladderwort, and mountain gentians; antarctic beech forests of mountain slopes on east side up to 1,372 meters, the trees decorated with lichens, mosses, climbing plants,  the scarlet mistletoe and a yellow- flowered mistle toe; at higher elevations, subalpine plants; tree daisies, tree groundsels, mountain cedar, and Hall’s totara; bog forests of pink pine; above timberline; snow totara, snow grass, mountain daisy, and many others. The west West land area forests are quite different from those on the east side of the main Divide; red beech the main species, with silver beech, white pine and rimu, black pine, southern rata and totara. Farther up, Kamahi becomes more common and orchids are plentiful.  In summer the slopes burn red when the rata trees bloom. The upper forest zone is dominated by Hall’s totara, the big grass tree, and mountain cedar,

  • MAMMALS:

Introduced deer, chamois, and possum destroy much of the native vegetation.

BIRDS:

The most famous birds of this park are the great spotted Kiwi and the Kea. Other noteworthy species; bell – bird, rifleman (so called because of its voice), gray warbler, tom tit, silver eye, rock wren, more pork, New Zealand Falcon, harrier, paradise duck, blue duck, black- fronted tern, and weka (re-introduced in 1966). Canada geese, chaffinches, thrushes, goldfinches, and other exotics are, of course, introduced.

  • 4. ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK (NEW ZEALAND);
  • Establishment; 1942 (south island). A botanist’s paradise with rich birdlife, including the blue penguin. The reserve comprises an un spoiled broken coastland with a variety of islands,  rocks, reefs, beaches, coves, and precipitous cliffs, as well  as uplands with mountains and valleys extending inland about ten Kilometers. The national park is named for the Dutch navigator who “discovered “New Zealand in 1642. He anchored that year in the vicinity of the Tata islands within the national park.
  • Geographical Location: At Tasman Bay, northern south island.
  • Size: 18,265ha.
  • Accessibility: By boat and by road (nearest city; Nelson)
  • Accommodation; Camping ground; huts.
  • GEOLOGY:

Granite composes the major part. In the SW of the reserve is Takaka Hill, the very ancient rock (400-million years old) with strangely eroded outcrops and caves of exposed marble. The Tata Islands, however, are of Tertiary limestone. The  attractive golden sand of the beaches is largely quartz and feldspar from the weathering of granite.

Small amounts of gold, silver, lead, copper, scheelite, and molybdenite appear in a large reef crossing the summit of Mt. Evans.

TOPOGRAPHY:

There is an extraordinary variety of maritime and forest scenery; from the cliffs and rocks flanking the sandy beaches and dunes to landscapes with marshes, bush- clad headlands, and heavily forested mountains with cascades and waterfalls. The land rises steepy from the coast to 1,130m.

CLIMATE:

Temperate.  Average temperature of nearby wellington is 540F.

FLORA:

A century ago the area was forested. The higher slopes and ridges are occupied by antarctic beech forests. It is unusual to be able to find all of New Zealand’s five species of antarctic beeches in one restricted park area; red beech forests, mountain beech, silver beech, hard beech, and black beech.

At about 975m, an open tussock area, moa park, is completely surrounded by stunted silver beeches. The two remaining patches of rainforest, consisting mostly of rimu, are on the road to Totaramu and in the Falls River Valley. Epiphytes, climbers, and orchids live on almost every fall tree. In more sheltered gullies there are northern rata with scattered Totara, Matai, Miro and Hinau.

MAMMALS:

A native  mammal of the national park is Forster’s fur seal, which is joined in frequently by sea lions and sea bears.

BIRDS:

Seabirds abound along the rugged coast; southern black- backed gull, red- billed gull, Caspian tern, Oyster catchers (Haematopus finschi and H. reischeki), reef heron, spotted shag, black shag, several petrels, and the blue penguin. Swampy areas have white- faced herons and brown bitterns and the very rare fern bird.

Bush and forest birds include south Island robin, bellbird, and Tui. The weka prefers drier scrubs or the edge of the forest. Pigeons of various species are numerous. In higher beech forests occur parrots (such as yellow- billed parakeet and others),  the kaka, and the kea.

OTHERS:

Skin divers may meet with butter fish, cod, (a grouper), snapper, sharp- beaked gurnard, stingaree, and other fish. A giant land snail occurs above 600 meters.

 

  1. EGMONT NATIONAL PARK

Establishment: 1900 (North island).  The park protects mount- Egmont, and the Pouakai and Kaitake ranges, all remnants of volcanic activities and now clothed in beautiful forests. The area shelters a rich and varied birdlife

Geographical Location: Taranaki province, western north island.

Size: 33,377 ha.

Accessibility: Good roads from the nearest towns; New Plymouth and Stratford.

Activities: Skiing and climbing

Accommodation: Dawson Falls Hostels, North Egmont chalet, stratford mountain House; Lodges, Huts, and camping sites.

GEOLOGY:

About 3-5 million years ago volcanic action extended on a large scale along a fault line running through the Kaitake and Pouakai (1,399m) have long been extinct. Egmont, although at present dormant, has been active since the human occupation of New Zealand. A series of eruptions about half a million years ago shaped the present symmetrical cone. All the volcanoes are composed of andesite.

TOPOGRAPHY:

Mount – Egmont rises straightout of the plain, dominating the landscape. Smaller cones are scattered around the main volcanoes. Water from melting snow is channeled by a network of streams, cascading in waterfalls through gorges to the arable valleys below.

CLIMATE:

High rainfall and moisture; many summer storms. Mists often cover the forests, but the cone of mount- Egmont is usually free. Winter snow accumulates and creeps down to about 1,200meters.

FLORA:

Magnificent dense virgin rainforests of an almost subtropical appearance grow on the lower slopes of mount- Egmont. The absence of antarctic beeches is remarkable. From 550 to 765 meters; a mixed forest zone of Totara, rimu, miro, Kamahi, and northern rata. Farther up, Hall’s totara replaces Kamahi and is joined by mountain cedar. About 50 species of ferns occur in these moist forests; a profusion of mosses and lichens covers almost every part of the trees.

A belt of scrub with many sub- alpine plants is found up to 1,370-1,430m, and above this are tussock grasslands to about 1,675m, and then mosses, lichens, and many species of flowering plants. At 2,286m, ten flowering plants remain and at 2,438m, only one (Colobanthus).  Mosses and Lichens alone reach the crater limit.

MAMMALS:

A depressing fact, from the conservationist’s point of view, is that a high number of introduced exotic mammals occur in the national park; feral cat, ermine, opossum, cattle, sheep, goats,

hares, rabbit, rats and mice. The battle against them is intensive, but the elimination is costly.

  • BIRDS:

The rich birdlife includes a number of rare birds though the denseness of the vegetation means that birds are not easily seen. Along the streams in the lowland forest is the New Zealand Kingfisher. The comparatively rare Kokako inhabits lower-level forests, particularly where there are tawa trees. White heads and more porks are common up to about 915 meters. Birds that do not ascend above 1,065meters;  tomlit,  fantail,  and shining cuckoo.

Silver eye goes up to about 1,220m, and the New Zealand pipit frequents tussock land and alpine meadows to levels of about 1,830 meters.

Rare birds on Mount- Egmont include kaka, North Island Robin, and brown Kiwi.

  1. TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK(NEW ZEALAND);

Establishment; (1887),  North Island.  New Zealand’s first park came into being by the generosity of the chief  Te Heuheu II and his family, who gave a 6,500 acre area around the summits of the three sacred Volcanoes Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu " as a gift forever from me and my people". Now ten times larger, the park still has the three sacred mountains as its central area. The park occupies the heart of the north island, an area with many surrounding minor volcanic cones, lakes, streams, waterfalls, forests, grasslands, sub alpine vegetation, and a desert – like lava plain. Six glaciers hang on the flanks of the volcano Ruapehu, the highest of North Island’s mountains.

  • Geographical Location: Central North Island.
  • Size: 67,405ha.
  • Accessibility: By road from Hamilton and Rotarua; by rail from wellington (325km) and Auckland.
  • Accommodation: First class Hotel, Chateau Tongariro, motels, huts, motor camps.
  • GEOLOGY:

The old volcano Ruapehu (height;  2,796m) has been intermittently active for more than half a million years(the latest eruption occurring June 1969). Tongariro (1,968m) is also an old volcano with numerous craters. The young Ngauruhoe volcano (2,291m) has grown up in an old crater of Tongariro and now reaches higher than the mother mountain. It is New Zealand’s most active volcano, erupting with clouds of volcanic ash and steam every few years 1869,1949, and 1954-1955 with resulting lava flows).  Underlying sedimentary rocks are hard sandstones and mudstones, with overlying younger marine sediments such as limestones, siltstones, and sandstones.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

The lower areas of the larger volcanic plateau are about 600m above sea level.

Glaciers on Ruapehu feed rivers that have cut deep gorges into the volcanic slopes. Crater Lake, near the summit of this volcano, usually contains hot water though surrounded by snow and ice. Tongariro has hot springs and a sulfur Lagoon on its southern slope. A barren area east of Ruapehu is the Rangipo desert, stripped of vegetation by volcanic mud flows, floods, and wind erosion.

  • CLIMATE:

Mountainous, with rapid and extreme changes. Warmest month; February. Average temperature 530F; mean temperature of winter months; 360-370F.All months are rather wet. Ground frosts have been recorded in all seasons; the area is entirely covered by snow in winter.

  • FLORA:

The 470 or so plants of this N/Park represent various highland communities; below 914m are forests of rimu, matai, kamahi, miro, silver beech, and red beech; at 914- 1200 meter levels; mountain totara and mountain beech; at 1,200-1520 meters; red tussock communities dominate. Still higher; herb- and rock fields, alpine meadows and bogs with Senecio bidwillii, and mountain toatoa. Lodge pole pine and heather are rapidly invading the area.

  • MAMMALS:

Exotic mammals in the park; red deer, pig, ermine, possum, cat, rabbit, hare,  rats, mice.

  • BIRDS:

Most of the birdlife is in the mixed forest on the lower mountain slopes; New Zealand pigeon, fantail,  rifleman (New- Zealand's smallest bird),  gray warbler, Tui and more pork. The brown kiwi exists in this N/Park as do the weka, a flightless rail, and the kaka. Upper slopes have banded dotterels. Introduced bird, chaffinch, and skylark.

  1. UREWERA NATIONAL PARK( NEW ZEALAND);

Establishment: (1954) North Island.

Urewera national park contains the largest remaining area of unspoiled mountain forest in the North Island and includes Lake Wai karemoana, which belongs to the Maori people.

The region abounds with historic Maori places, and there are pocket areas of Maori land inside the national park.

  • Geographical Location: Central North Island
  • Area: 199,523ha.
  • Accommodation: Hotel and motor camp at Lake House camping ground.

 

  • GEOLOGY:

In the distant past, the mountains of Urewera were many miles, deep under the ocean. Basement rocks are generally Urewera grey waoke, overbid by mudstones and sandstones of lower cretaceous Age (argillites). There is also a quaternary volcanic belt in western part of park.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

Bush-  covered ranges are dissected by numerous streams with many waterfalls. Altitudes; from 152m in the whakatane river valley to 1,366m in maungaphohatu range- and 1,402m at manuoha. The park includes the catchment basins of Lake Waikakemoana and Lake Waikareiti and the head- waters of the whakatane and Waimana rivers.

  • CLIMATE:

Summers are mild and pleasant, winters stormy with biting frosts and snow at higher elevations. Annual rain exceeds 2,500mm.

  • FLORA:

At lower levels, luxuriant kohekohe and large rimu and northern Rata stand above the tawa. Damp gully sites have been colonized by dense tree ferns, fuchsia, wine berry, and mahoe. With a rise in devation various species of Antarctic beeches take over.  In general silver beech continues alone above about 1,157m up to the timberline.

  • MAMMALS:

Regrettably, this park contains noxious exotic mammals; pigs, goats,red deer, and possum.

  • BIRDS:

Passerines like gray warbler, white- head, tui, kaka, New Zealand  Pigeon, Shining cuckoo, and others. On lakes and rivers; paradise duck, blue dark, gray duck and blue- winged shoveler.

HAWAII (USA)

Area: 16,770 Square kilometres;

  • 1. HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK ( HAWAII- U.S.A);

Establishment; (1926).  This national park, on the largest and youngest of the Hawaiian islands, consists of the much- studied volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea, representing one of the most spectacular volcanic areas of the world. Many of the frequent eruptions are announced in advance by remarkably successful predictions. Active craters may be approached with reasonable safety even when they are erupting. The most varied vegetation offers much of interest, from the coconut groves of the coast to the stunted Ohia trees near the timberline.

Geographical Location: Island of Hawaii.

  • Size: 88,137ha.
  • Accessibility: By road and by scheduled flights to Hilo from Honolulu; cars can drive to the volcanic centre and even down into the Kilauea crater.
  • Of special interest; Museum: research observatory.
  • GEOLOGY:

All of the Hawaiian Islands are volcanic, but today the only active volcanoes of the Islands are Mauna Loa and Kilauea, both in this national Park. They are in fact, two of the most active Volcanoes in the world. The enormous Mauna Loa, whose summit caldera and part of the NE rift are included in the reserve, extends from the ocean bottom, 5,500 metres below sea level, which means that it is the tallest mountain in the world. It is intermittently active with eruptions within the caldera or on the outer slopes of the Volcano. One of its most voluminous lava flows occurred in 1950, when the lava advanced with an average speed of 5.8 mph and reached the sea in less than three hours. Kilauea is the more active of the two volcanoes. Its summit has collapsed to form a depression, a caldera called ‘’ Kilauea crater”

Within this caldera is the most active real crater (Halemaumau) of Kilauea. It is probably most spectacular eruption in historic times began in November 1959, when fountains of molten lava reached a height of 580 meters.

  • CLIMATE:

Horizontally there is local variation in the climate; a few hundred meters can separate an area of heavy rainfall from one of extreme dryness. Near the park headquarters, the annual rainfall averages 2,540mm, while the tree forest below has 4,570mm of rain a year. Climate of higher levels of the N/Park is semi -tropical. At Kilauea, about 1,200m above sea level, weather can be cool at any time of the year. June- August tend to have the best weather.

  • FLORA;

Many forests and bushes have come and gone, burned and buried by lava and volcanic fall out. The pioneer plants are lichens, first to colonize ash beds and lava, and ferns follow soon. Around Kilauea with its many trails, vegetation is remarkably varied, from lush jungle with Tree ferns and ohia forests to the sparse vegetation of the dry Kau desert.

About 70 species of ferns have been found, and five of these are tree ferns.

Below the true fern forests, magnificent tropical rain forests cover some of the lower slopes of Kilauea and Maunaloa; the upper slopes support more open forests, chiefly ohia, the commonest native tree in the Hawaiian Islands, with scarlet blossoms in late spring.

Other common trees are the memani with yellow flowers and the Kou, dominant on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Berry bushes are Ohela with edible berries and akia with poisonous berries. Few Hawaiian plants are more spectacular than the tall and slender ti, a lily whose leaves are much used for many purposes by the Polynesians. Whitestrawberries grow in moist forests on both Kilauea and Mauna Loa. The Kipuka Paulu area by the road on the Mauna Loa slopes contains over 20 species of trees and a rich flora of other plants.

  • MAMMALS:

A bat, Hawaii's only native mammal, may be seen occasionally; all other mammals in the national park are the result of earlier introductions;

  • BIRDS:

Many species of birds occur in Kipuka pereiau; for example, elepaio, apapane, amakihi, and iiwi. Hawaiian short- eared owl,  white tailed tropic bird, and Hawaiian hawk may be observed in the national park (the latter occurring nowhere else in the world)

The American golden plover, which nests in Alaska, is common in barren areas from August to May. Many species in the reserve represent birds that were formerly introduced in Hawaii, mynah, Japanese white- eye, cardinal, house finch, skylark, California quail, chukar partridge, and pheasant.

 

  • 2. HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK(HAWAII-U.S.A);

Establishment: 1916.

Haleakala, a big dormant volcano occupying the entire eastern end of the island of Maui, is one of the earth’s largest crater like depressions, comprising, like a lunar world, numerous multi colored cinder cones with bowl- shaped craters, peaks, canyons, and valleys. In clear weather the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii are visible.

  • Geographical Location; – Maui Island
  • Size: 10,560ha.
  • Accessibility: By sea or air; daily scheduled flights from Honolulu; taxis meet planes and ships; road to park entrance; summit can be reached by car.
  • Activities: Hiking, horseback riding possible in the crater.
  • Accommodation; Three cabins within crater; closest lodge is 19km.
  • GEOLOGY:

Haleakala represents three great periods at activity, the first  less than 20 million years ago, the latter two separated by a long quiescent interval but with intense erosion by running water that has excavated four large valleys nearly a thousand meters deep, and has worn away parts of the summit ridge.

The most recent volcanic activity, according to Hawaiian legend, occurred about 1750. The haleakala ‘’crater” has been interpreted in many years by geologists, some claiming that the depression is a crater, some believing it to be a collapsed caldera, a deep gorge, a Mt. ripped apart by mighty convulsions, or the result of erosion-  this latter hypothesis at present thought to be the most likely, although several of the factors mentioned are probably involved.

  • TOPOGRAPHY:

Elevation of the national park ranges from 1,172m above sea level in kaupa Gap to 3,055m at the summit of the mountain, the highest point of Maui. The road enters the N/Park  at an elevation of 2,054 meters.

  • MAMMALS:

The only native mammal species is a bat, but there are many introduced rats, mice, mongooses,  feral pigs, and goats.

  • BIRDS:

As it is for the silversword among plants, Haleakala N/Park is also famous for a bird; the Hawaiian goose or the nene, the world’s rarest goose, which was near extinction during the second and third decades of this century. Other birds include scarlet - red iiwi and the crimson- red apapane.  Both belong to Hawaii's  famous honey-  creepers, associated with ohia trees, seen at altitudes up to 2,590meters. The green amakihi feeding on mamani blossoms and the olive creeper are found up in the alpine zone.

The Hawaiian short- eared owl hunts over grasslands and heaths. White- tailed tropic birds occasionally soar around the cliffs inside the crater. Most birds seen at Haleakala however, are introduced species, as is true through much of the Hawaiian Islands.

  • CLIMATE:

Mornings  give the best possibilities of the weather but around noon clouds often gather. The area is tropical but up on the volcano often windy and cool. Rainfall; 400- 1,250mm a year.

  • FLORA:

The most extraordinary plant of Haleakala N/Park found in the wild state in the world only here on Maui and on Hawaii, is the silversword that grows mostly in the dry cinder areas of the crater and on the outer slopes of the volcano above 2,130 meters. Other locally common plants are yellow Kupaoa and the puke awe with white to reddish berries. In moister parts of the crater (such as paliku), there is a forest of native trees; olapa, ohia, kolea, and manona, with thickets of Hawaiian raspberry.  In general, how ever, the crater area is bare or only thinly covered by vegetation. The outer slopes are very different with a large number of shrub species;  on the NE slopes of the volcano are beautiful rain forests. In Koolau Gap (outside the national park) vegetation is lush, becoming jungle like and almost impenetrable.

 

FIJI ISLANDS (Former British Colony)

AREA: 18,343 KM

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN FIJI  ISLANDS;

•        1. NANDARIVATU  NATURE RESERVE ( FIJI ISLANDS);

Establishment:( 1956, 1958)

The name applies to three neighbouring reserves, which are from one to six miles apart; Tomanivi, Nagaranibuluti, and Nandarivatu. These are connected by a little winding road controlled by forest guards. The reserve lies up on the mountains 27km from the town of Tavua, which is about 96km from Nandi international Airport.

•        GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION;

Northern viti lavu, the largest Island.

•        Size: 1,674ha in three neighboring reserves.

•        Accessibility: By a small winding road.

•        Accommodation: none in the parks.

•        GEOLOGY:

Hundreds of millions of years ago volcanic upheavals rent the bed of the pacific ocean, some of  the undersea mountains thrust their tops above the ocean surface and became exposed to sun, winds, and rains. This was the genesis of the Fijis.

TOPOGRAPHY:

The reserve comprises an upland valley; altitude; about 820 meters with surrounding mountains from 910 to 1,323 meters (the height of Mt. Victoria, a mountain of two peaks connected by a saddle, and usually covered by clouds).

CLIMATE:

Tropical, but without extremes of heat and humidity. Temperatures; in the lowland range from 600 to 900F, but temperatures in the reserve always about 100F cooler.

The hottest, wettest, and most humid period is from December to February; the coolest and driest months are from May to November, when south eastern trade winds blow.

FLORA:

The reserve is densely wooded by rainforests, where the Indigenous Kauri pine Agathis Vitiensis occurs. Other spectacular trees are Triocularis vitiensis and Geissos superba. Above 760 meters, there are three species of particularly beautiful orchids; red dendrobium, white dendrobium, and pink dendrobium.

BIRDS:

The bird fauna is very rich and includes the rare golden dove, as well as many other pigeons and doves. Peregrine, swamp harrier, and the endemic Fiji goshawk may be seen. The red- throated lorikeet is also peculiar to Fiji, where it occurs in mountain forests on at least three Islands.

OTHER VERTEBRATES:

Among reptiles, a pacific boa (Enygms) occurs, as well as some lizards. There is also a tree frog. The boa and the frog are interesting to naturalists because the Fiji Islands are the most remote point reached by truly native snakes and frogs in the pacific.

 
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