I see we have undervalued the kookaburra;
they think they are waking the world, and I think so too.
They gobble the night in their throats like purple berries,
they plunge their beaks in the tide of darkness and dew
and fish up long rays of light; no wonder now they howl
In such triumph of trumpets, leaves fall from the trees,
small birds fly backwards, snakes disappear into a hole.
All day long they will rule the bush as they please.
Perched on high branches, one eye cocked for the snake,
from treetop to treetop they watch the sun and follow it;
far in the west they take it in that great beak
and bang it against a bluegum branch and swallow it;
then nothing is left in the world but the kookaburras
like waterfalls exulting down from the gullies.
-Douglas Alexander Stewart
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of the most picturesque drives in Australia. You can stop wherever and whenever the mood strikes you along this coastal stretch, discovering countless highlights and hidden gems. The Great Ocean Road, on Victoria’s southeast coast, extends approximately 250 kilometres from Torquay to just shy of Warrnambool. The route boasts rugged cliffs, stunning views of the Southern Ocean, pristine beaches, lush rainforests, quaint seaside towns and awe-inspiring rock formations.
One of the most well-known highlights of the Great Ocean Road is The Twelve Apostles. Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures that tower 45 metres above the tempestuous Southern Ocean, leave its visitors awe-struck in wonder at their size and beauty. Behind the eight remaining stacks (five have fallen since their discovery) are majestic cliffs, around 70 metres high. Glorious at both dusk and dawn the Twelve Apostles, by the forces of nature has gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs which became arches and when they collapsed, rock islands as high as 45 metres were left isolated from the shore.
South Australia’s Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest and the world’s finest wine producing regions. First settled in 1842 by European immigrants, it still retains its old-world charm. There are around 150 wineries and cellar doors in the Barossa Valley.
Barossa should focus on what it does best: full-bodied Shiraz
Australian sea lions are fascinating creatures and one of the rarest species in the world. The world population is estimated at around 14,700. Of these, 85 percent live in South Australia and the other 15 percent in Western Australia. Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island supports the third largest colony of Australian sea lions with a population of around 1,000 – around five percent of the world’s total. Australian sea lions are the only seal species with a breeding cycle that varies from year to year with a gap between cycles of almost 18 months. Interestingly, breeding seasons differ from colony to colony. The Australian Sea lion was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. We can count ourselves lucky that places like Seal Bay exist today.
New Zealand Fur Seals are very good swimmers and weaned pups will sometimes travel great distances. A fur seal pup tagged on the South Island’s West Coast has even been recorded in Australia! This shot was taken on coast of Kangaroo island in South Australia. On land they sometimes become disoriented and have been found in unusual places such as back-yards, drains and streets!
Rugged coastal cliffs, sheltered bays cupped between steep headlands, vast native bushland and rolling hills of farmland are just some of the landscapes on Kangaroo Island. Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch are surely two of Australia’s most fascinating coastal landmarks.
“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!”
― Dorothea Mackellar, The Poems of Dorothea Mackellar