Nature in Western Australia: Adventure in Aboriginal Territories
Beautiful landscapes of KimberleyAustralia, which occupies much of Oceania, is one of the most beautiful and mysterious countries in the world. In it you can find the prehistory of man alive. The aborigines, who live mostly in the north of the country, are the living proof of that.
Australia is known for its wonderful places, superior to those of Steven Spielberg’s films, and for its flora and fauna, both at the same time fascinating and dangerous.
Despite being one of the driest continents, it has abundant and unique biodiversity. Due to the introduction of exotic species and the existence of humans, many of the endemic species of the country are in danger of extinction, so about 8% of the Australian continent is protected area.
With more than 12 natural spaces listed as a World Heritage Site, Australia is a country that is necessary to visit if you are a lover of nature and the most bizarre landscapes on earth.
Next, I show you 3 areas of Australia where you will discover, framed in wonderful landscapes, the most unusual fauna:
1. Western Australia, Kimberley and Rottnest Island
Western Australia, the largest state in Australia, has a good number of National Parks and two deserts, the Gibson and Victoria, which also runs through Southern Australia.
Despite having great areas of arid territory, the national parks and their rocky landscapes, such the ones you can see in Kalbarri or Namburg, make it a place to visit.
If you are passionate about fauna, you can not miss the opportunity to search one of the animals that is in danger of extinction in this part of Australia: the numbats. This unique species of marsupial anteater is at risk because of the destruction of their habitat. For this reason, it is difficult to see them at liberty, although there are isolated areas to the southwest of Australia where they can be seen.
The curious numbat
Within the state of Western Australia there are 2 places you should not miss:
In the southwest corner of the state is the Kimberley region, an area with an important biodiversity, and besides it has a high rate of endemic species.
Beautiful landscapes of Kimberley
The landscape consists of abrupt canyons, reddish rocks and lush vegetation. A unique feature of this area is that it has less inhabitants per square meter than almost anywhere else on the planet. What is abundant is the fauna.
There you will see, for example, the Australian purple crowned fairywren. It is an endemic species of the north of the country, of curious appearance by the intense purple color of the crown of its head. It is a beautiful and striking bird, which thanks to its color can be easily distinguished.
Australian purple crowned fairywren
Another endemic bird is the Gouldian finch, whose plumage mixes a palette of intense colors. There are three variations: Gouldian finches with black head, red head and orange head. Currently there are programs for the recovery of the species.
There are many ways to visit the Kimberley region. You can do off-road routes or even camel riding.
Red headed Gouldian finch
Rottnest island is known for its pink salt inland lakes, its fabulous beaches and the great spiritual importance it has for Australian aborigines.
Located near the city of Perth, this small island contains a striking network of marine, terrestrial and plant biodiversity.
Seacoast of Rottnest Island
One of the most curious and beloved animals of the island are quokkas, small marsupials that can remind you of Star Wars ewoks. Unfortunately, they are also endangered animals and this island has only about 10,000 specimens.
The quokkas are very docile animals that do not usually fear the human being. Their characteristic smile has given them fame of being the most friendly animals of the earth, reason why it is becoming more and more trendy to have a picture with them. However, it is completely forbidden to touch them and fines can be severe. Do not take it as a joke!
The friendly quokkas
The easiest way to get to Rottnest is to take a ferry from Perth. To move around the island is best to rent a bicycle or even walk, as it is only 11 kilometers long and can not be driven by car.
2. Northern Territory
After touring Western Australia, you can go to the Northern Territory.
This area is characterized by the amount of national parks it contains, such as Darwin or Kakadu, and by the sacred places for the aborigines, such as Uluru or Kata Tjuta.
Although you do not know the beliefs of Australian aborigines it can not be denied that by observing the landscapes of this part of Australia, you feel that there is something beyond that your eyes can not see.
There are 2 large protected areas in this state that you will fall in love with for different reasons:
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
This National Park, listed as World Heritage, stands out for the colossal monolith of Uluru and the rocky chain of Kata Tjuta. The geological formations that rise on the sandy plain of this part of Australia make it a place that impacts the viewer.
Uluru is one of Australia’s most iconic locations. Located in the center of the Park, its scenic beauty lies in the contrast between this gigantic rock formation with the desert landscape. The colors that are seen in its rocks vary according to the time of day, from a dark red to a pink almost purple.
Monolith of Uluru, the sacred mountain
You can enjoy this unique place with an aboriginal guide as you learn about the fascinating stories of their ancestors.
The fauna that can be seen in the surroundings varies between kangaroos, wallabies, dromaius or dingoes. The latter ones are a species of wild dog with reddish or yellowish fur and, although they can be found all over Australia, in the deserts of the Northern Territory are very easy to see.
You may see them as you walk through some of the trails that pass through Kata Tjuta. Those trails are of different distance and difficulty. The longest will take you to the viewpoints of Karu and Karingana and can be covered in about 4 hours. Don’t get too close to the dingos because, although the Australian aborigines tried to tame them, you should not forget that they are wild animals.
A dingo in the desert
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located approximately 400 kilometers southwest of Alice Springs, about 5 hours drive from this location. Keep in mind that in summer (from December to February) temperatures reach 40°C, so some trails are closed.
Kakadu National Park
Also listed as a World Heritage Site, Kakadu National Park is located 3 hours drive from the capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
It´s the Australia’s largest National Park (with a similar area to Slovenia) and you will find landscapes with lush rainforests and traces of cave painting of over 50,000 years old.
Kakadu National Park: wild beauty
However, its main appeal is the floodplain, habitat of marine crocodiles. Its pools and sandbanks are even more beautiful thanks to the trees that bury their roots in the water. Such is the natural exuberance of this swampy area that was the inspiration and filming location of the Crocodile Dundee movie.
Marine crocodiles, called salties by the natives, were about to become extinct because of the value of their skins. In 1971 began projects to protect them and, since then, their population has not stopped growing, finding in Kakadu one of their favorite habitats.
The fearsome marine crocodile
A good option to spot them safely is to hire a boat trip on the Yellow Water River. These giants can reach up to 6 meters in length and weigh more than a ton, so it is absolutely forbidden to take a bath.
Between April and October the rainy season takes place and many areas of the Park remain closed, so it’s best to visit during the dry season, from May to September.
3. Southern Australia and Kangaroo Island
Just under the state of the Northern Territory lies Southern Australia. Its landscapes are mainly long expanses of arid land with low hills, giving an almost lunar appearance to the territory.
A good example of this is the Simpson Desert, northwest of the state. It is the most arid place in Australia and its sand dunes are the longest in the world, immovable by the vegetation that holds them. The most famous is the Big Red dune, which reaches 40 meters high. Although there are no roads that cross the desert, there are 3 trails called the French Line, Rig Road and QAA Line, which you can travel if you have a well equipped all-terrain vehicle.
Infinites views in Simpson Desert © winchandunwind
But not everything is sand in this state. Life comes out, above all, on the coasts. Between the months of May and November, you can see different types of whales if you visit Cape Bight in Puerto Víctor.
Marine life is fascinating, but so is the terrestrial life. And there is no better place to watch it than in Kangaroo Island.
If you are in South Australia you have to visit Kangaroo Island, the third largest in the country. You can get there by plane or, by sea, on a ferry from Cape Jervis.
The incredible Kangaroo Island
If you are among the most adventurous you can rent a car to tour the entire island on your own; although you must go carefully since the animals are at their best on the island and sometimes cross roads without warning. Do not be scared!
From the very first moment one sets foot on Kangaroo Island, the probability of seeing quiet koalas in their habitat is very high. You can usually find them hugging the branches of a eucalyptus tree or sitting quietly basking in the sun. They nap 20 hours a day like real beautiful sleepers.
Baby and mother Koala
Of course, as the name of the island indicates, you will soon see jumping kangaroos and wallabies, that will take your heart when you see them feeding their little ones.
If you drive towards Cape Gantheaume, south of the island, you have the option of visiting the Seal Bay Conservation Park. On its beaches inhabits a colony of sea lions. If you want to get closer to them you need to be accompanied by a specialized guide.
Group of sea lions
Australia is the homemade jam jar located on the highest shelf. It is worth eating, but is not always at hand. Since neither marmalade nor Australia are to blame for being where they are, it is good for the child to reach the boat and for the hiker to visit Australia, a country as distant as astonishing. After all, the kisses you like most are the ones that cost more.