Thursday, July 30, 2009


The Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville is only a few minutes walk from the heart of the city. Reef HQ, in Townsville, is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium and home to 130 species of coral, 120 species of fish and many hundred sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, worm sponges and countless other coral reef creatures.

Reef HQ is the only living coral reef aquarium in Australia and one of the primary tools for educating the public about the management of the Great Barrier Reef.

The coral reef tank is a closed ecosystem that closely replicates a natural coral reef with sunlight, waves, water movement and the same biodiversity found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

It is an amazing experience to stand centimeters away from reef sharks whizzing past my nose, look into the mouth of a stingray, or the eyes of a turtle, as I wander through the 20metre long acrylic walk-through tunnel that acts as a window to the reef.

Townsville is well known for its combination of tropical warmth and magnetism of city. The city enjoys 320 days of sunshine and therefore the Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville is one which combines a balanced source of flora and fauna. Around 50 swimming pools will get into The Reef HQ Aquarium.

Corals are very susceptible to changes in weather.The temperature changes are felt naturally. The living beings experience the fell of rain, thunder storms and everything. As the corals are very sensitive, the water in the reef is maintained regularly. The water is extremely fresh and clear. It is also the place for predators, turtles and various other kinds of fishes.

The Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville is very technically built which helps in the survival of all kinds of animals and plants. It could be called a manmade ecosystem. A healthy growth of algae and greenery helps the animals and fishes to feed on them. There are a lot of fishes who feed on the invertebrates and worms which are there in the underground sand.

A large number of students and teachers visit the Reef HQ Aquarium which helps in live demonstration and educational knowledge for the students. Students, visitors and tourists get a healthy environmental knowledge from the Reef HQ Aquarium, Townsville.

Reef HQ is one of my favourite place in Townsville and I enjoy to watch the fish, turtle and the corals.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Cairns is a regional city in Far North Queensland, Australia. The city itself was named after William Wellington Cairns, former Governor of Queensland. It was formed to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield. It later developed into a railhead and major port for exporting sugar cane, gold, metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas.

Cairns was founded in 1876, hastened by the need to export gold discovered on the tablelands to the west of the inlet. The site was predominantly mangrove swamps and sand ridges. The swamps were gradually cleared by labourers, and the sand ridges were filled in with dried mud, sawdust from local sawmills, and ballast from a quarry at Edge Hill.

Cairns is located about 350Km from Townsville, on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a coastal strip between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. It is a popular travel destination because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions. The northern part of the city is located on Trinity Bay and the city centre is located on Trinity Inlet. Some of the city's suburbs are located on flood plains. The Mulgrave River and Barron River flow within the city's boundary but not through the city itself. The city centre's foreshore is located on a mud flat.

The city is now rapidly expanding, with a population of 1,60,000. Tourism is the largest income producer for the region, followed closely by the sugar industry. Cairns region is the fourth-most popular destination for international tourists in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

I went to Cairns during Christmas and the whole city was decorated beautifully with dazzling lights and the cake shops were crowded with hundreds of people. The city has used its natural surroundings to its advantage, with the construction of several small theme parks for tourists. With a diverse mix of vibrant shops, famous markets and local artists, approximately 90 stalls provide an original range of handmade local arts and crafts plus Australian opals, gemstones, crocodile and kangaroo leather goods.

Cairns is an ideal place for relaxing and to enjoy the tropical delights at one of the local restaurants and cafes. A notable feature of the Cairns esplanade is a swimming lagoon with adjoining barbecue areas. Several shopping centres of various sizes are located throughout Cairns. The largest of these are Cairns Central shopping centre, located in the central business district, and Stockland Cairns, located in the suburb of Earlville.
Cairns is a provincial city, with a linear urban layout that runs from the south, at Edmonton, to the north, at Ellis Beach. The city is approximately 52 km from north to south. The Northern Beaches consist of a number of beach communities extending north along the coast.

The city centre of Cairns is adjacent to the suburbs of Cairns North, and Parramatta Park, Bungalow, Portsmith, and in close proximity to Westcourt, Manunda, Manoora, Edge Hill, Whitfield, Kanimbla, Mooroobool, Earlville, Woree and Bayview Heights. The small suburb of Aeroglen is pressed between Mount Whitfield and the airport, on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns North and Stratford. The success of local agriculture helped Cairns to establish itself as a port, and the creation of a harbour board in 1906 helped to support its economic future.

During World War II, Cairns was used by the Allied Forces as a staging base for operations in the Pacific. After World War II, Cairns slowly reinvented itself as a centre for tourism.

The opening of the Cairns International Airport in 1984, and the building of the Cairns Convention Centre established the city's overseas reputation as a desirable destination for the tourism and business conference markets.
Cairns experience a warm tropical climate.A wet season with tropical monsoons runs from December to April, with a relatively dry season from May to November, though showers are frequent for most of this period.

Cairns is an important transport hub in the Far North Queensland region. Located at the base of Cape York Peninsula, it provides important transport links between the Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria regions, and the areas to the south of the state. Cairns International Airport is essential to the viability of the area's tourism industry.
Cairns trip was a marvellous and enjoyable trip which I will always remember.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Undara is located 512 kms from Townsville. Undara Experience lies on the eastern edge of the ruggedly beautiful Gulf Savannah.

Undara means a long way in Aboriginal language. One of the lava flows from Undara extends more than 160kms making it the longest lava flow on planet Earth from a single volcanic crater in modern geological time. One tube formed by the flow extended about 100kms.

One hundred and ninety thousand years ago the earth trembled, the sky darkened and flaming fountains of lava bathed the land in a fiery glow. Undara had awoken. Wave after wave of molten lava spewed from the crater and flowed across the land incinerating everything in the path. Toes of lava, searching out for easy ways to flow, found their way into the low contours of the land, forming rivers of molten rock which wound their way across the now blackened landscape.

The air began to cool the surface changing it from scarlet to a sullen crimson and finally to a solid black crust. Underneath the lava continued to flow. Now insulated from the surrounding cooler environment, the lava continued to flow beneath the surface in the lava tube carrying it further and further from the crater, flooding more and more land as it went.

The eruption slowed then stopped. The lava flowed out the far end of the tubes, leaving hollow tunnels, hidden below the devastated land.

The once green forest was now a vast black sheet of twisted rock.Nothing stirred except for small pockets of life which survived rose above the sea of rock on the tops of the granite hills.

About 6 months before I went to Undara to see the lava tubes. These tubes are formed when lava flows from a volcanic eruption. The air cools the outside of the lava, which solidifies, but the lava inside continues to flow. When the eruption stops, the lava flows out of the end of the tube leaving behind a long tunnel. One of the lava flows at Undara extends for more than 100kms making it the longest known single lava flow on Earth.

The vegetation around the tubes is completely different to the surrounding area and it's quite striking in aerial photographs. Thousands of years ago, the area was covered in closed-canopy rainforest. The climate became drier, which the rainforest plants could cope with. What they couldn't cope with is fire. So the open canopy eucalypt forest took over except where the risk of fire is low, such as around the lava tubes. The rocky tubes don't allow much grass to grow and this stops the fires.

The guide handed me a torch and we walked down some wooden steps spying a couple of rock wallabies on the way. The tubes were wide. We walked about 50 yards inside one before we came to what looked like the end. In actual fact, the tube continued on but downwards. The lava probably flowed over an old waterfall and the bottom of the cave has now filled out with mud.

I saw the lava circles looked like stalactites but weren't formed by water action. Instead they occurred when the roof or an overhang dripped lava as it cooled. I also observed on the walls a kind of candle wax effect.

Every year the area experiences a lot of rain in the wet season, so there is also a build up of mineral salts on the roof. These formations are known as “cave coral” because of their structure.

After the first cave, I wandered along to another one which was nearby and spent another 20 minutes or so inside that one.

It is a place where everybody can explore natural geological wonders, enjoy the comforts and hospitality of a unique outback setting and where the local wildlife are as abundant as they are at home in their surroundings.

I stayed at railway carriages, beautifully restored turn of the century Railway Carriages was the most unique style of accommodation. The carriages were set along the original Cobb and Co. coach road and were shaded by tall trees and surrounded by Australian native wildlife.

Undara Experience included evening wildlife spotlighting walks, campfire evenings and delicious dining featuring the region’s best produce as the outback sunset fades into the clearest starlit night.

Undara was one of my best trips till date.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Wallaman Falls is situated 150km north of Townsville. Wallaman Falls is Australia's largest single drop waterfall at 268 metres. With the addition of additional related minor drops the overall height of the falls is approximately 540 metres. The pool at the end of the waterfall is 20 metres deep.

The waterfall is formed by a tributary of the Herbert River, Stony Creek, which plunges over an escarpment in the Sea view Range. The geological history of the formation may be traced back some 50 million years, when the uplift of the continental margin in this region resulted in the ancestral Herbert River to change its course from westwards to eastwards. As a result it began to cut through the raised igneous substrata en-route to its outflow in the Coral Sea. The gorge produced by this erosive action gradually retreated inland along the Herbert River's course, and in the process eventually causing tributaries such as Stony Creek to be suspended, forming the waterfall.

The drive to Wallaman was very scenic and steep.I went there with my husband about five months before and we enjoyed the charismatic beauty of the falls as it was rainy season. The drive to Wallaman Falls was an adventure in itself. We ran into a huge heard of cows that were taking up the road. They were all just laying in the middle of the road, and had no desire to move. Eventually after a lot of honking they got out of the way. These were the ugliest cows I have ever seen. They had big saggy necks and smelt really bad. The road up to the waterfall was really rough. It was a very twisty road with lots of sharp turns. Halfway up the road we ran into another animal. We came out of the car to take pictures by the road sign warning drivers to look out for Cassowary, when sure enough in the middle of the road, there was Cassowary. I was saying to my husband a moment before and it was great excitement to see Cassowary which made our day.

By the time we actually got to the top of the falls some clouds had rolled in and it looked like it was about to rain. Sure enough, plenty of clouds were already gathered at the mouth of the waterfall and we couldn't see anything. I walked up to the look out and all I could see was white, but we could hear the roar of the water. We waited for a few minutes and the fog started to part, but only for a few minutes. Fortunately we were able to see the falls. The drop was about 1000 feet, but we could only see about half of the drop. After we all got some decent pictures the clouds and fog moved in again.

Wallaman Falls National Park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, boasting the highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall in Australia.Open forest dominates the ridge tops. Rainforest lines the gullies and creeks. The area is home to endangered cassowaries and musky rat-kangaroos. We strolled 800 metres along the banks of Stony Creek on the Banggurru walk and it was good to learn about the rainforest. It was fantastic to look for platypus in the creek below the falls. To enjoy a closer look at the falls, we took the 3.2 kilometre walk into the gorge. Experienced bushwalkers choose from one of three overnight hikes that are part of the Wet Tropics which is absolutely great walk.

It was a lovely experience. We had wonderful time at Wallaman Falls and thinking of visiting again during holidays.