Nearly a third of the New South Wales coastline is protected in national parks and other reserves - and what a coast it is! Rocky or sandy, with salt-pruned bushland, heaths and tall forests, lakes and wetlands, beaches and estuaries, this 2000-kilometre coast is as diverse and beautiful as any in the world.
The Great Dividing Range in New South Wales is a rich collection of mountain, escarpment and plateau landscapes stretching the length of the state, and holding most of the state’s surviving wilderness and forest country. This gallery excludes the Greater Blue Mountains and Australian Alps, and so far contains images mostly from the Barrington Tops area, with just a couple of other places. I hope to progressively extend coverage...
Big sky country, and a sadly depleted environment that has been thrashed by European stock and feral animals. A slowly-growing network of conservation reserves - public and private - is countering some of that damage. The most intact areas are islands of rugged country standing out of the vast riverine plains, places like Warrumbungle National Park, the Pilliga Forest and Mount Kaputar National Park.
Rising out of the red sand plains of the centre, the MacDonnell Ranges were pushed up when two ancient continents collided. After eons of churning geological forces and erosion, the worn-down stubs of that age-old range are one of Australia's few truly mountainous regions. The Western Arrernte people know it as Altyerre, the eternal land. Ancestral connections envelop the coloured hills as surely as silence and timelessness. The curved plateau of Watarrka National Park is quite a different landscape, with remarkable small features and equally rich in Aboriginal presence.
As big as Victoria, the vast landscape of Cape York Peninsula is a rich mix of environments with some of the most interesting wild country in eastern Australia and rich Aboriginal culture and heritage. Cape York also faces an uncertain future, with development pressures jostling with Aboriginal aspirations and strong moves towards World Heritage nomination - a 'lay-down misere' on both natural and cultural grounds (if done well with broad community support). Then there's the Wet Tropics, a lush region of wild coasts, rainforests and cloud-wrapped mountains which is already World Heritage. I've spent a lot of time up there, but mostly with film cameras.....stay tuned for more uploads....
Tasmania has most of the finest wilderness and mountain landscapes in Australia, with a distinctive heritage of Gondwanan plant life and glacial action - and an inspiring history of environmental action that still continues. I fell in love with Tasmania on my first walk and have been going back for nearly 40 years. I must get my large format camera down there.....
Two extremes so far: the arid west and the Gippsland coast. Inspiring and visually rich salt lake and mallee environments and the equally varied Croajingolong National Park..which was sadly nearly all burnt just months after our visit (for the Victorian Alps, see the Australian Alps gallery).
Like Australia, New Zealand is a very damaged place, but with superb wild country and unique ecology still hanging in there. Mountaineering and walking in the Southern Alps have held me enthralled for many years, especially in the astounding landscapes of Fiordland - one of the greatest wildernesses on Earth.
In the Arctic summer of 2014 two of us spent a month in Ofjord (Island Fiord), a spectacular inner arm of East Greenland\'s mighty Scoresbysund - the largest fiord system in the world. At 71 degrees north, we moved around the awe-inspiring landscape by sea kayak, exploring islands, climbing peaks on the edge of the surrounding icecaps of Milne Land and Renland, and rock climbing on massive cliffs of the fiord\'s two-kilometre-high escarpments. We arrived in twenty-four-hour sunlight and warmth; by the time we left the nights were growing dark and cold.
These Iceland images are from eight days walking the Laugavegur trail in August, 2014. The trail’s name means something like “Hot Springs Way” and its the most popular extended walk in Iceland. The trail traverses an astounding and varied volcanic landscape, first across colourful, thermally active rhyolite highlands, then through more stable and very black lava country, with icecaps looming all around. I walked south from Landmannalaugur to Thorsmork (“Thor’s Forest”) and then continued over the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption and Fimmvorthuhals (“Five Cairns Pass”) to finish at Skogar on the south coast. (My apologies that this web template does not allow the use of special Icelandic characters for authentic spelling.)
This gallery mainly exhibits images from the Sierra Nevada, as well as the nearby Alabama Hills and the amazing Bristlecone Pines of the White Mountains. The Sierra Nevada is the largest stretch of wild country in the 'lower 48' of the United States, and a superb alpine landscape. Pioneer conservationist John Muir came to love the Sierra, which he described as the 'range of light'. He made the area pivotal in the birth of the modern nature conservation and national park movement.