Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - Corner Country & Lamington National Park
In Sturt National Park, the species occurs in greater concentrations than ever before, a result of the protection afforded from hunters and predators (particularly dingoes) and the permanent water supply provided by the former sheep stations' ground tanks. Red kangaroos are well equipped to handle the vagaries of the outback climate. By a process known as delayed implantation, a female can keep a fetus in suspended development until her current joey leaves the pouch. If food and water are in short supply, she can even delay the birth until the situation improves.
The low granite hills surrounding Tibooburra gave the town its name: the word means many rocks in the language of the local Wangkumara Aboriginal people.
Facing each other across the short paved section of road that is the town's main street are its two pubs: the Tibooburra Hotel, always referred to as the Two Storey and the highest building for hundreds of miles, and the Family Hotel, famous for the murals on its walls by well-known Australian artist Clifton Pugh and other bush painters.
From Tibooburra, you can strike out into the park along dirt roads to the north, east, or west. About 15 minutes farther north, Jump-Up Loop Road branches off to the west. Named for the long, flat-topped hills, known locally as jump-ups, that are the park's most distinctive geological feature, the loop provides access to some of the most scenic parts of the park. Watch for larklike pipits gleaning caterpillars from leaves and tiny fairy wrens flitting among low branches. The pools regularly attract huge numbers of kangaroos, including herds of stockily built euros (also known as wallaroos) and eastern grays. During prolonged droughts, even the mighty red kangaroos forsake the plains to congregate here. Another common visitor is Australia's largest bird, the flightless but fleet-footed emu.
The park's stony plains are an ideal reptile habitat. In warmer months, you are likely to encounter bearded dragons and shinglebacks soaking up the sun among the pebbles, and you may even spot a sand goanna, which can measure up to five feet in length. It normally walks on all fours, but when pursuing prey or fleeing danger, it will rear up and dash along on two legs, a habit that has earned it the nickname racehorse goanna.
Lamington National Park, Queensland
Walk into an Australian rain forest and travel back 60 million years to a time when Australia was splitting from the supercontinent of Gondwana and beginning its long drift north. As the continent moved into more arid climes, its once-extensive rain forests dwindled. Today, rain forests cover less than one percent of Australia, and most are protected in World Heritage-listed national parks. Lamington National Park in southeastern Queensland preserves part of the largest remnant of subtropical rain forest in Australia, as well as patches of cool temperate rain forest, warm temperate rain forest, and so-called dry rain forest. Lamington is one of Earth's rarities, a lost world where species have been able to persist virtually unchanged for millions of years.