Remnants of Gondwana
Remnants of Gondwana
Australia, the amazing southern continent has much more to offer than Kangaroos, Koalas and Uluru. Australia’s land surface was once a part of a much larger for most of its history. First Pangea, when all continents were amalgamated into one supercontinent, followed by the great southern continent Gondwana. The island continent didn’t occur until its separation about 45 million years ago. This massive movement over an extreme timeline birthed Terra Australis with its ever-changing populations of animals, plants and peoples. The Australian relic rainforests offer a unique glimpse at what this portion of earth was like millions of years ago, before human kind was here.
Portions of Tasmania along with scattered pockets of relic rainforest still exist along the eastern regions of Queensland. These remnants exist where 600-800 mm of rainfall occur as well as ideal weather conditions. These veritable museums of ancient plants are not to be missed if you enjoy history and of course, plants. Much of the continent was clothed in such greenery during the Early Tertiary period (65 - 2 million years ago). These precious relics are “Closed Forests” as they are functioning only as closed ecosystems for good reason, as human intervention overtime along with climate changes, have diminished their scope. In north Queensland, the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics includes Kuranda Rainforest and the Daintree - the oldest tropical rainforest on earth. Ports that allow for access are Cairns, Port Douglas, and Cooktown. If you’re truly fortunate, your guide may point out the oldest living vascular plant on earth!
Australia is a veritable “Ark” transporting its Gondwanan heritage into the future. Animals, specifically marsupials, existed here over 100 million years ago. Today you will see their ancestors as Wallaby, Kangaroo, Bandicoots and Platypus (if you are very fortunate). Reptiles of all manner existed in abundance on the ancient continent and today you will see them as giant monitors and the fierce yet notable Komodo Dragon of the Indonesian Archipelago, considered a severed section of Australia.
Open eyes and a curious sense of adventure are mandatory for any visit to Australia as it is an amazing and mysterious continent indeed. Some of our ports of call included Darwin in the northern territory, Cairns, Cooktown, Townsville, Brisbane and Sydney. Ship arranged shore excursion were very thorough with a wide scope indeed. There is little doubt that you will not see all that you would like to, but for the regions that you do select, keep a keen eye open for the remnants of an ancient time. Our well-informed guides were quite open to discussion and in general, very proud of the remarkable conservation efforts that are currently in place for these endangered relics of an ancient epoch.