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Australian National Parks




Australian National Parks

The first laws to protect the country's scenic areas were passed in Tasmania in 1863. In 1879, the Royal National Park was established south of Sydney - Australia's first, and the world's second national park.

Since then, about 3200 national parks have been created in Australia and Tasmania, covering more than 40 million hectares land - 5.3 percent of the Australian land mass.

Most Australian national parks are within easy reach of main cities and towns. Most can be reached by road, some by air, and a few by rail. Many parks contain Aboriginal culture - paintings and ceremonial sites for example. These rare sites are protected and, in some cases, parks are owned by the Aboriginals.

Every year, more than four million people visit Australia's national parks. As a result, almost all parks have good walking tracks and picnic spots and most allow camping in special areas. Where camping is not allowed, suitable camping grounds or motels are usually nearby. Visitors can also enjoy discovering Australia's colorful birds, mammals, and reptiles.



World Heritage

Australia has a large range of National Parks, some listed under World Heritage, some that have been established as parks under the care and control of traditional Aboriginal owners and many others that are controlled by various State Governments.

What is ,World Heritage'? World Heritage is a Convention, and Australia is a founding nation of it. It promotes cooperation among nations to provide a conservation safety net for worldwide heritage areas. The protection of the world's irreplaceable natural and cultural wonders is very important for this pact, and the member states are trying to safe our world's nature.

Most of Australia's World Heritage areas are big enough to interest a large number of tourists. The tourists visiting these areas are watched to prevent damage that might be caused by overuse; walking paths, roads, boating or other activities.

Australia's most famous National Parks.

.are the Great Barrier Reef and the Uluru National Park with its Ayers Rock.

                       

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural world's most colourful wonders, and a must-see for most visitors to Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest system of corals and associated life forms on earth. It stretches for 2300 km along the northern Queensland coast.




These Reefs are skeletal remains of plants and animals, combined with living plants and animals. About 1500 species of fish and more than 300 species of corals, 4000 mollusc species, and 400 species of sponge have been identified.

Although World Heritage-listed, the Reef supports activities that include commercial fishing boats, scientific research, and tourism. The 'Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority' controls these activities.

Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef can choose from about 20 island resorts, or a full service holiday on the nearby mainland, from where they can take a day cruise to the reef. Cairns is the main gateway to the reef, but boats leave regularly from all mainland towns and cities. Some boats stay near the reef for the day, and others rest at large platforms holding up to 400 people. The day is spent swimming and diving with some of the world's most colourful fish and amazing valleys of living corals.

Uluru National Park

All visitors to Ayers Rock stay at Yulara, the service village 12 miles from the national park. The only way to visit the park is via private transportation or through a tour. Many guides offer tours - the alternative for international visitors is renting a car.

The route typically taken by visitors to the top is a traditional path used by ancestral Mala men. The path is a very spiritual one, that's why the Anangu prefer if tourists don't use it as a common footpath.

While many people don't care about that and climb, there are several alternatives. Visitors can circle the base and pass sacred aboriginal grounds like the Kantju waterhole and Mutitjulu (Maggie Springs). The geology and mythology of the area is amazing, and a look at some of the numerous aboriginal cave paintings is very interesting, too.










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