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Railway heritage of the Flinders Ranges

The history of the railways in the Flinders Ranges is an important part of Australia’s rich cultural heritage. Key railway communities include Quorn, Port Augusta and Peterborough, each with a unique culture of their own.

Peterborough Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre The community of Peterborough was among the hardest hit when the new standard gauge line linking Broken Hill and Port Pirie opened in early 1970. For the first time trains by-passed Peterborough and the population dwindled.

Peterborough Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre SASince its reopening in November 2009, the revamped Peterborough Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. 

Steamtown Peterborough have opened a sound and light show in its old locomotive workshops showcasing its historic collection and telling the story of Peterborough’s role in the railways networks linking the east and west and north and south of Australia.

The route through Peterborough from the east also includes a string of high-quality heritage sites including the town of Burra; while to the north, the Orroroo Carrieton district has recently produced ‘Stones and Rail’, an audio guide providing an entertaining and in-depth history of the area.

Further north, the town of Blinman is developing a sound and light experience in its old copper mine. From there visitors can take in the ruins of the once significant towns of Beltana and Farina, which has recently been restored by work by groups of volunteers and travellers.

The Greater Blue Mountains celebrates a decade of World Heritage

November 2010 marks the 10th Anniversary of the inscription of the Greater Blue Mountains on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Hanging Rock in the Blue Mountains NSWTens of thousands of years of caring for the country by Aboriginal communities; the efforts of bushwalkers to save the Blue Gum Forest in the 1930’s; Myles Dunphy’s vision for a Greater Blue Mountains Park; contemporary campaigns of the Colong Foundation and other conservation groups, all lead to the inscription of the Greater Blue Mountains on the World Heritage list in November 2000 for its outstanding universal natural values.

The natural assets of this National Landscape are the core of what attracts visitors to the region, with the tourism industry working in harmony with major stakeholders including NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Indigenous groups, conservation groups and the wider residential community to achieve sustainable outcomes.

The area represents an extraordinary story of natural antiquity, diversity, beauty and human attachment. This vast and beautiful area of upland reserves exemplifies the links between wild places and human aspirations,’ said Joan Domicelj, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

In celebration of the anniversary, the World Heritage Exhibition Centre is now permanently open at Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens.

The legendary ‘Birdman of Atherton’

The legendary ‘Birdman of Atherton’ has flown the coop to join the flock at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

Mark ‘The Birdman’ Culleton is bringing his passion for wildlife to O’Reilly’s this Christmas with the famous ‘Birds of Prey’ show, along with his feathered friends including an amazing array of owls, falcons and eagles.

The intimate wildlife experience lets guests get up close and personal with these awesome aerial predators as they fly free in a stunning display of natural aerobatics, before returning safely back to perch on Mark’s arm.

The interactive presentation also allows guests to be part of the show alongside other animal stars, including crocodiles and a Spotted-tailed Quoll, an elusive local of Lamington National Park.

The legendary 'Birdman of Atherton' Educational and entertaining, the show inspires young and old about our natural world as they learn about the everyday and unusual behaviours of the animals, and the local environments in which they live.

It is an experience the whole family can enjoy.

Mark has been in the zoo/tourism industry for 20 years and has worked with many species, including dolphins, sea lions, crocodiles and birds from all over the world. Following years of presenting shows in England and Spain, he returned to Australia in 1997 to develop shows for zoos, including the first free-flight bird show in Queensland. In 2005, he created his own unique presentation, the famous Atherton Birds of Prey Show, for which Mark’s larrikin character made him as famous as his winged friends.

The Birds of Prey Show is part of O’Reilly’s Discovery Program, an interpretive activities program that aims at sharing the wonders of Lamington National Park with guests.

The 30 minute presentation will start in time for the Christmas school holidays and will run daily.

Conference and incentive groups also have the opportunity to meet resident ‘locals’ with a mobile presentation experience. Morning or afternoon tea, or pre-dinner drinks are served with a difference as Mark introduces delegates to juvenile crocodiles, eagles and other Australian wildlife during their break-out sessions.

O’Reilly’s is in the Gold Coast Hinterland, only 2 hours drive from Brisbane or 1 ½ hours from the Gold Coast.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat Queensland

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

Booderee: World class conservation of Cultural Heritage

Australia’s own Booderee National Park on the South Coast NSW took out a global responsible tourism award in London on 10 November 2010.

Booderee won the ‘best conservation of cultural heritage’ category at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2010, competing against tourism organisations from across the world.

Environment Minister Tony Burke congratulated the park on this tremendous achievement.

Spectacular Views Booderee National ParkBooderee National Park is a 6,000 hectare living cultural centre on the stunning south coast of New South Wales.

“The park is world-renowned for its diving, exceptionally clear water and diverse marine life but its most important asset is the way the park shares Koori culture with visitors.

“Booderee offers Aboriginal-led walks looking at traditional use of local plants such as bush tucker and medicines, and school holiday activities that help people see the park’s beautiful beaches and bushland through Koori eyes.

“This award celebrates the park’s ability to deliver a distinctively South Coast Indigenous experience, as well as offering excellent camping, bushwalking, bird watching, swimming, surfing and fishing.

South Coast Aboriginal Heritage Tourism“Booderee contains the only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens in Australia and perhaps even the world. On a trip to Booderee Botanic Gardens, visitors can explore hundreds of native plants from the local area and find out about their significance to Koori people.

“It is not only the park that benefits from an award like this. This is a chance for all Australians to tell the world what a great country we have, with so many beautiful places like Booderee for people to visit.

“Responsible tourism is the future of the industry and Booderee National Park is a superb example, combining beautiful scenery, fascinating cultural history and a range of great holiday activities.”

Booderee is proof that a partnership between government and a marginalised community can work to protect cultural heritage through long-term conservation goals. The Park’s Botanic Gardens is the only Aboriginal-owned botanic garden in existence.

The judges of the global responsible tourism award recognised the partnership for preserving the privacy of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community within the sanctuary zone, and using tourism to the National Park for securing their livelihoods.

With 430,000 visitors a year bringing in 1.2 million Australian Dollars and with 80% of the workers Indigenous and living within the park, the future plan for the community to take over sole management of the park alone is very real.”

There’s nothing like Australia’s natural wonders

Tourism Australia is calling upon Australia’s fans from far and wide to vote now for Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef to become official New7Wonders of Nature.

The New7Wonders of Nature campaign, established by the international New7Wonders Foundation, is a global search to recognise the seven most wondrous natural sites in the world as voted by the general public.

As two of Australia’s most famous natural wonders, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef faced some tough competition from 440 sites across the globe but now sit in the list of 28 finalists alongside Angel Falls in Venezuela, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Bay of Fundy in Canada, the USA’s Grand Canyon, and the Amazon in South America.

Having demonstrated they have what it takes to be considered a New7Wonder of Nature, both sites are now vying for enough votes to make it into the official seven, to be announced on 11 November 2011.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy urged people to support the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru in the final stage of the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign.

“This is Australia’s opportunity to raise awareness globally of the variety and natural beauty of our unique environment,” Mr McEvoy said.

“The campaign creates a platform to help conserve Australia’s natural wonders for years to come as well as encourage tourists from around the world to experience these incredible sites for themselves.

“It has been estimated that both Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef need to secure 100 million votes each to put them in the running for the title so I urge anyone who is passionate about Australia to now,” he said.

The New7Wonders of Nature campaign is expected to generate one billion international votes by the time the final New7Wonders of Nature are announced next year.

Current ranking statistics reveal that the Great Barrier Reef is regularly in the top 14 picks of voters from around the world, whilst Uluru needs more support.

To vote, simply visit www.n7w.com/gbr to show your support for the Great Barrier Reef and www.n7w.com/uluru for Uluru.

So let us show why there’s nothing like Australia’s natural wonders.

Time stands still in the Daintree Rainforest

There’s nothing like a place that hasn’t changed in 130 million years. And why should it? The Daintree Rainforest is pretty much perfect as it is.

Described as the ‘land that time forgot’, the primeval World Heritage-listed Daintree forests are the world’s oldest at 135 million years as well as the largest continuous area of rainforest on the Australian mainland.

A lush tropical paradise that hosts more than 3000 plant species (many still being discovered); one-fifth of Australia’s known bird species, including the endangered Southern Cassowary (who number less in the wild than Giant Pandas) and around 60 percent of Australia’s butterfly species – all this diversity can be found an area that takes up just a tiny bit of the whole continent.

Daintree RainforestNo less than 13 different rainforest types have been identified here, many of which may well hold the secret to unanswered questions about the origins of flowering plants – plants on which we humans depend for life.

One in particular, commonly known as the Idiot Fruit (Idiospermum australiense) and thought extinct, was arguably Australia’s most significant botanical find. Then there’s the ‘Wait-A-While’ plant (Calamus Muelleri) (for obvious reasons also known as the Lawyer Plant) whose thorn-covered tendrils reach out to trap unsuspecting passers-by.

Boat tour Daintree RainforestCruise along the mysterious waterways of the crocodile-infested Daintree River, trek through a pure ecosystem or fly through the trees on flying fox zip lines for a bird’s-eye view.

If you’re game, arm yourself with a flashlight and talk a night walk through the jungle. That’s when the animals stir and the forest really comes to life.

So if you’ve ever wondered what the world looked like way back when, head to the Daintree Rainforest. You’d be an ‘Idiot’ to ‘Wait a While’ longer. It’s an Australian icon.

www.daintreerainforest.com

Magic and history of Sydney’s iconic harbour islands

The magic and history of Sydney’s iconic harbour islands will be showcased during a series of events celebrating  nature and culture throughout October.

Sydney Harbour Island Hopping gave people unique access to the spectacular harbour islands of Sydney Harbour National Park via one looped tour, with tailored entertainment and experiences on each.

“People loved the idea of spending the day cruising from one island to the next,” said National Parks and Wildlife Service Head, Sally Barnes.

“For the first time this year, the Sydney Harbour Island Hopping program will include food experiences on all of the islands and a visit to the newly reopened Goat Island.”

First stop on the looped tour – which will run each Saturday and Sunday from 9 – 24 October, the experience on Goat Island will pay tribute to its colonial past, with visitors getting a taste of life in the 1830s, complete with convicts, food and music from the era.

Shark Island will be a highlight for the kids, who will enjoy becoming ‘Future Rangers’ and visiting the Kid’s Cafe, while everyone can experience Sydney Harbour’s Aboriginal heritage and sample traditional bush tucker as part of the Aboriginal cultural experience on Clark.

Sydney Harbour's Aboriginal heritage

The popular Perfect Picnic will also return in 2010 offering a fantastic way to finish the long weekend on Monday 4 October. With picnickers invited to dress to impress and prizes awarded for the best picnic spreads and costumes, Perfect Picnic is the ultimate place to spend the afternoon relaxing with friends, complete with DJ and 360 degree harbour views.

Fort Denison Sydney HarbourFort Denison will feature in this year’s program as a stand-out, stand alone lunch and dinner experience in one of the most coveted dining locations in Sydney. Looking out from the Harbour’s sandstone sentinel, diners will be treated to an Australiana menu inspired by local produce and ingredients.

Dining on Fort Denison will run each Saturday and Sunday from 9 – 24 October and will include a guided tour of the island’s historic Martello Tower (the last of its kind in Australia), ferry transfers to and from the island and a sparkling wine welcome drink on arrival.

Sydney Harbour Island Hopping is a part of Crave Sydney International Food Festival, offering 31 days of extraordinary food experiences.

Crave Sydney International Food Festival offers something for everyone – large scale food events; intimate dinners cooked by some of the world’s leading chefs; authentic food experiences across Sydney’s culturally diverse suburbs; and family and free activities on and around Sydney Harbour Bridge and islands.

Crave Sydney International Food Festival is one of five anchor events on the NSW Master Events Calendar created by Events NSW on behalf of NSW Government.

Further information and tickets are available through www.harbourislandhopping.com