nature Tag

lady elliot island, queensland, australia, diving, birds, wildlife, underwater
  |   Articles, UNESCO   |   31 Comments

Swimming with turtles

Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, Australia It’s one thing to see turtles hatching and laying their eggs, as I did at the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery on the Queensland coast near Bundaberg. It’s a completely different experience to actually swim with them. Imagine snorkelling along and then suddenly finding yourself surrounded by at least a dozen of the animals, just floating and chilling and enjoying the water like you. That’s pretty much what happened.Let’s go back a step, though, and set the scene. I am basically in the middle of nowhere – on a small crop of land called Lady Elliot Island. It is the southernmost point of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and is only 40 hectares large – about the size of the land the country’s Parliament House is on in Canberra. And it’s not even an island in the traditional sense. It’s actually a collection of bird poo and other...

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13 February
mon repos turtle rookery, bundaberg, queensland, australia
  |   Articles   |   12 Comments

Hatch and release

Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, Queensland, Australia The sun is setting and the beach is empty – it officially closes at 6 o’clock in the evening this time of year. The sand stretches out with no interruptions, just the small waves crashing against it on the shore. The sky is changing from a bright blue into soothing spectrum of purples and oranges. Everything is set.I’m at the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, on the Queensland coast near Bundaberg. It’s the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific Ocean. And tonight I am on patrol with the rangers who are going to make sure it all runs smoothly.From the beginning of the season in November, turtles begin arriving on the beach from the ocean to lay their eggs. They swim to the shore after dark, drag themselves up...

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11 February
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia, hiking, world heritage site
  |   Articles, UNESCO   |   17 Comments

A home among the gumtrees

I've been around the world A couple of times or maybe more I've seen the sights, I've had delights On every foreign shore But when my mates all ask me The place that I adore I tell them right away Give me a home among the gumtrees With lots of plum trees A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo A clothesline out the back Verandah out the front And an old rocking chair …Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees, 1974The Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Can you believe it’s almost three years since I started this travel blog and, in that whole time, I have never written about any travel within my own country of Australia? Perhaps it’s always the way… you know, you think you can do it when you’re older and that now is the time to see the world while you’re active and adventurous.It’s a silly attitude for two reasons. Firstly, you may remember my story about the world’s oldest backpacker. John...

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04 February
el silencio ecolodge, hotel, costa rica
  |   Articles   |   25 Comments

Who’s protecting the jungles of Costa Rica?

El Silencio, Costa Rica We like to think we're each environmentally-friendly. We recycle, we walk instead of using the car, we take our own bags to the supermarket. These small things all add up, don't they?Well, they do. But some people's actions seem to eclipse the sum of all of mine. That's what strikes me as I hike through the protected wilderness of El Silencio.In most countries, national parks are designated by the government. Here in Costa Rica there are plenty of them (26 to be exact). This includes the Manuel Antonio National Park which I wrote about earlier this week. But what makes Costa Rica so interesting is that about 5 per cent of the country's landmass is also protected privately by individuals or companies.El Silencio is one of those places. It's about 200 hectares of jungle, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. It sits high on the stretch of mountain peaks...

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13 December
manuel antonio, costa rica, national parks, animals in manuel antonio
  |   Articles   |   17 Comments

Let them fly free in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica There’s a commotion ahead of me. I am distracted from the jungle, where I’m trying to spot monkeys, and instinctively head towards the sounds. A group of tourists has congregated around two police cars and I fear the worst. But when I arrive and peer over the heads of those already gathered, I realise there is nothing to worry about.I’m here in the Manuel Antonio National Park, about halfway down the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a wilderness paradise, full of some of the country’s most iconic animals, and that is what has brought the police here today.For decades, Costa Rica has been a leader in conservation and ecotourism. That means not just acting green but constantly having to demonstrate to people what that means. A few days earlier, police had caught some locals who had illegally captured some local birds. The animals...

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10 December
black forest, feldberg, germany, treks in black forest, snow
  |   Articles   |   25 Comments

The Black Forest turns white

The Black Forest, Feldberg, Germany Who knew that snow could fall so early? It’s been unseasonably cold in the southwest of Germany this time of year, but I did not expect to find myself in the middle of a snowfight.In the mountains outside Freiburg, the unusually early blanket of frost has turned the Black Forest white. By the morning, the trees’ branches are supporting a healthy layer of snow. As the sun crosses the sky, it all starts to melt. Trekking through the forest, it drips constantly onto my head. The clouds are dry but it feels like it’s raining under this sky of heavy leaves.Local Sabrina Roseler is guiding me along the track, towards a lake at the bottom where we’ll stop for lunch. She’s patient as she waits for a million photographs to be taken along the way. There’s something about the snow, the way it catches the sun,...

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06 November