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High Nationwide Parks in South Australia, Victoria & Tasmania


I’d been on Kangaroo Island for lower than an hour once I noticed my first little bit of wildlife: a koala perched excessive within the branches of a blue-gum eucalyptus tree. It wasn’t a straightforward sighting: the large-eared marsupial sat camouflaged among the many tree’s slender leaves, and solely caught my eye when he reached an arm out for feeding. In fact, I’d already recognized he was there, because of my skillful information, who had noticed him early that morning. Over the following two days, my information’s experience would are available in much more useful as we traversed the island collectively, searching for out playful New Zealand fur seals beneath the quilt of the weather-sculpted Admirals Arch, expecting ‘roos and wallabies within the huge grasslands of Flinders Chase Nationwide Park, and encountering Australian sea lions resting lazily on the sand dunes of Seal Bay Conservation Park. Nonetheless, when it got here to native wildlife we’d solely simply scratched the floor. 

Flinders Chase National Park in Kangaroo Island. Amazing aerial view of road and coastline from drone on a sunny day.

With 1,701 sq. miles of rugged wilderness, Australia’s Kangaroo Island—or “KI” because the locals name it—is a sight to behold. It’s the nation’s third largest island, with 300 miles of shoreline, landscapes that vary from native bushland to rolling sand dunes, and surrounded by waters which are unbelievably blue.  In some ways, KI is like Australia in miniature, a spot the place pure surroundings abounds and wildlife thrives, the latter partially as a result of the island is void of pure predators, like foxes, dingoes, and rabbits. Actually, a few of Australia’s most storied animals name Kangaroo Island residence—Tammar wallabies, koala bears, and naturally, the island’s namesake marsupial—together with a couple of of the nation’s extra elusive species, together with the quill-covered, short-beaked echidna and platypus, recognized for his or her webbed toes and duck-like payments. At evening, Fairy Penguins (so-named for his or her small measurement) make their means onto locals shore after spending the day feeding in close by waters, and marsupials often known as southern brown bandicoots forage for bugs and fungi below the quilt of darkness. Though positioned lower than 10 miles off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island feels worlds away from the bustle of any large metropolis, in addition to being compact sufficient to not overwhelm. Each of those traits appealed to me instantly. 

Let’s face it: Australia is a big nation, with a ton of issues to see, do, delight, and amaze. From the cassowary-filled tropical rainforests of its Queensland state to Western Australia’s Rottnest Island, residence to furry and pleasant quokkas—dubbed the “happiest animal on earth,” and the legendary Nice Barrier Reef, one of many world’s Seven Pure Wonders, Oz can really feel formidable if you happen to try to deal with it all of sudden. Actually, Australia’s nationwide parks and conservation areas quantity within the hundreds. Authorities companies in every of Australia’s eight states and territories individually handle the majority of them, since overseeing them at a nationwide degree can be a colossal process. As would making an attempt to go to too a lot of them in a single journey. That’s why Nat Hab’s 12-day Australia South: Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, and the Nice Ocean Highway focuses on a devoted swath of Australia’s southern portion and its most alluring pure areas, giving individuals probably the most bang for his or her buck. 

Kangaroo jumping on a pristine south Australian.

This various ‘Safari Down Below’ covers sections of three Australian states—South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania, which additionally occurs to be Oz’s largest island—experiencing a few of their most breathtaking parks and landscapes en route. We’re speaking spectacular coastal cliffs, darkened carves that remodel into stellar bioluminescent gentle exhibits, and fern-filled forests the place unimaginable wildlife resides. All through the expedition, individuals replenish in a few of southern Australia’s most fabled cities: Adelaide, South Australia’s welcoming, easy-going capital, recognized for its entertaining road buskers and infinite festivities; Melbourne, the nation’s “cultural capital” replete with artwork galleries, espresso homes, and top-notch eateries; and Hobart, a vibrant harbor city with a burgeoning craft beer scene. The tour additionally highlights the historic homelands of indigenous Australians such because the Kaurna and the Gadubanud peoples. 

However whereas Kangaroo Island is awe-inspiring in its personal proper, it’s solely the start of an unimaginable journey throughout southern Australia. 

Victoria 

Occupying a coastal part of southeastern Australia, Victoria often is the nation’s second-smallest state, but it surely’s additionally one sporting a topography that’s each eye-catching and various. Right here you’ll discover mountains which are typically snow capped, seashores ripe for browsing, and wine-producing valleys. As well as, Victoria is residence to considered one of Australia’s most epic drives, the Nice Ocean Highway. This almost 150-mile-long epic stretch winds by means of verdant rainforests and eucalypt woodlands the place koalas can typically be noticed nestling within the timber; passes alongside tucked-away seashores with names like ‘Loch and Gorge’ and ‘Apollo Bay;’ and affords placing views of each the Bass Strait—separating the Australian mainland and Tasmania, and the Southern Ocean. 

Hopetoun falls in a lush green rainforest of the Great Otway National Park in Victoria, Australia

Nice Otway Nationwide Park

Starting on the Nice Ocean Highway and reaching up by means of Victoria’s Otways hinterland, the 398-square-mile Nice Otway Nationwide Park is residence to massive tree ferns, gushing waterfalls, historic forests, and dramatic sea cliffs that descend towards sandy seashores. Together with loads of beachside walks and nature trails, the park even has some towering California Redwoods hiding in its midst. Climb to the highest of its nineteenth century Cape Otway Lightstation, mainland Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse, to search for migrating whales, or hunt down ‘roos, wallabies, and echidnas from the park’s paths and roadways. 

Port Campbell Nationwide Park 

One of the vital well-known websites alongside Australia’s Nice Ocean Highway is the 12 Apostles, a set of huge ocean-carved limestone stacks that rise upwards, almost 160-feet-high from the ocean, inside shut proximity to one another. Their title is a misnomer, since there have been solely eight stacks to start with (one fell in 2005), but it surely doesn’t make them any much less grand. Preserve a watch out for Fairy Penguins that feed within the surrounding marine park—one ample with kelp forests, sponge gardens, and delicate corals the place sealife like lobsters and reef fish reside. A few of Port Campbell’s different notable options embody The Grotto, a rock formation that’s each blow-hole and cave, and the London Arch. 

Tasmania 

Australia’s solely island-state boasts an unimaginable array of wildlife, together with the almost-mythical Tasmanian satan—an endangered carnivorous marsupial that appears nothing like its Looney Tunes caricature—wombats, bettongs (also known as “rat-kangaroos”), and a dozen endemic fowl species. It’s Australia’s most mountainous state, in addition to its wildest. Actually, near half of Tasmania’s more-than 26,000 sq. miles are protected as nationwide parks and World Heritage Websites. 

Cradle Mountain on clear day reflected in Dove Lake. Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania, Australia

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair Nationwide Park

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair Nationwide Park is a part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Space, which covers almost twenty-five % of the state. It’s residence to glacier-carved lakes, deep river gorges, and historic rainforests lined in wealthy inexperienced moss, to not point out a ton of different unimaginable landscapes and wildlife in addition. Preserve a watch out for Tasmanian devils and wombats, and spotted-tail quolls, which nest within the park’s rocky outcroppings. 

One of many park’s most outstanding options is Cradle Mountain, which rises 5,069 toes above sea degree at its northern boundary. It’s additionally the place you’ll discover Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, Lake St Clair, positioned on the park’s southern finish. This pleasant 17-square-mile physique of water sits amid dense pine forests and rising mountains that create a picture-perfect backdrop. ‘Roo cousins often known as pademelons are frequent lakeside guests, however a number of the space’s rarer wildlife, similar to egg-laying echidnas and platypus, reside right here too. 

Mole Creek Karst Nationwide Park

Located on the sting of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Space within the island-state’s north, Mole Creek Karst Nationwide Park is famend for its historic ‘karst’ panorama. Actually, it’s Tasmania’s solely nationwide park created particularly to guard karst formations and homes greater than 300 recognized caves. Marakoopa Cave, an underground limestone panorama of hanging stalactites, underground streams, and an enormous cavern often known as the Nice Cathedral, is considered one of its most well-known. The cave additionally hosts an abundance of glowworms: insect larvae that emit gentle like thousands and thousands of tiny stars, creating some of the illuminating exhibits on the planet. 

Freycinet Nationwide Park

Wild and dramatic magnificence is par for the course at Freycinet Nationwide Park, positioned alongside Tasmania’s rugged east coast. Together with its lengthy, white sand seashores and rocky coves, guests flock right here to soak within the pristine views of Wineglass Bay, one of many island-state’s most picturesque spots, and take within the pure fantastic thing about The Hazards, a low-slung mountain vary made up of pink granite peaks that rise above the bay’s clear waters. The park itself is teeming with fowl life, together with Cape Barren geese and black swans, a red-billed water fowl that’s synonymous with southern Australia. 

Amazing coast line called Painted Cliffs with orange yellow colored sand limestone rocks and geology structures at shore, perfect expedition on warm sunny clear day, Maria Island, Tasmania, Australia

Maria Island Nationwide Park

One other well-liked spot amongst fowl watchers, mountainous Maria Island (roughly 42 miles from Tasmania’s coast) is a pure wildlife sanctuary and historic space recognized for its various wildlife, together with considered one of Australia’s rarest birds—the forty-spotted pardalote—in addition to jap bettongs, Tasmanian devils, and forester kangaroos (a Tasmanian-only subspecies). It’s additionally residence to an extended convict and industrial historical past, a number of the ruins of which nonetheless stand as we speak. The island’s aptly named Fossil Cliffs are made up of hundreds of historic corals, scallop shells, sea followers and different marine life, whereas its Painted Cliffs swirl with colourful sandstone patterns which are constantly modified by waves. Seals, dolphins, and whales are common guests to the waters surrounding the island.

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