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Top 3 Things To Do In Australia - Watch Wildlife, Part 2

Updated on March 25, 2010

The best advice that any tourist to Australia can take into consideration is to make sure not to miss Monkey Mia. In this magnificent paradise of cetacean to human interaction, you can thrill to the experience of actually meeting wild dolphins in their truly natural habitat, not some concrete watery prison in a theme park.

The profound effect that you will sense will likely haunt you forever. There is no intelligent and perceptive human on this planet who can stare into the eyes of a dolphin and not be moved to tears by their overwhelming intelligence and sapience. Not only is the dolphin brain considerably more complex and in many ways "advanced" than the human brain, but the depth of their interactions with humans and their level of understanding is completely astounding.

There have been some who have postulated that the dolphin brain is actually far more intelligent than its human counterpart and analysis of the structures within the brain itself can lend some credence to these claims. Dolphins have a completely additional brain structure over and above the physiology of the human brain and if that structure is dedicated to cognitive and sapient thought the level of difference in intelligence between dolphin and human could hypothetically be off the scale!

About nine-tenths of the Australian human population lives in the temperate, or Bassian, region, but that still leaves ample room for some of the country's most intriguing wildlife. This region tends to be dominated by trees, especially eucalypts, but the woodlands may be open and scattered, or so tall and dense they may be mistaken for rain forest.

Unfortunately like almost everywhere else on this planet the encroachment of civilization and its countless square miles of concrete and asphalt has had a deleterious effect on wildlife. The huge urban areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and the others seem to keep stretching out towards the horizon on a virtually unstoppable pace and with each new road, building, or parking lot, more of the natural habitat that makes Australia such a wildlife watcher's paradise disappears as well.

The diversity of bird life is particularly striking here, mainly because of the abundance of parrots and cockatoos, charismatic birds that can hardly be described as shy, unobtrusive, or retiring. Crimson rosellas, for example, come to be hand-fed at many a forest picnic spot (as do some wallabies and pademelons).

In temperate zones, it's especially important to understand the significance of ecotones, a term referring to the interface between two habitats, such as the boundary between grassland and forest. Usually, this is where the action is. The best birding, for example, can be had by wandering along a seldom-used forestry track or country road, particularly one with fields on one side and forest on the other.

With mammals, serendipity is everything, though you're almost sure to see kangaroos or wallabies during such rambles, and perhaps a wombat or an echidna into the bargain. Koalas are extremely patchy in distribution, and you really need local help to find one. But if you just happen to hear the most extraordinary roaring and bellowing sounds you've ever encountered, investigate promptly, you've probably just made contact with a male koala on the hunt for a mate.

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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto


    • brookevstheworld profile image


      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Wow, very informative post :) Wildlife is definitely on my "cool" list here in Oz.


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