Saturday, March 24, 2012

Greater Blue Mountains, Australia

 Australia maybe the smallest continent in the world but Australia is one of continent that offers funtastics journey and joyfull traveling for you who love travelling around the world to see a heaven. As my motto “Paradise is out there” so believe it or not, our destination right now is totally cool destination for you. Wherever you came, what ever you are just believe that you are not gonna miss this biggest experience to travel to the most beautifull continent and country Australia. Lets Begin.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 Okey, we are going to visit Australia, but right now we are not going to visit Uluru. Its oke if youwant to visit Uluru first but please add in your favorite this place along your journey. Yes, iam talking about Greater Blue Mountain.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area consists of 1.03 million hectares of sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges dominated by temperate eucalypt forest. The site, comprising eight protected areas, is noted for its representation of the evolutionary adaptation and diversification of the eucalypts in post-Gondwana isolation on the Australian continent. There are 91 eucalypt taxa within the Greater Blue Mountains Area, which is also outstanding for its exceptional expression of the structural and ecological diversity of the eucalypts associated with its wide range of habitats. The site provides significant representation of Australia's biodiversity with 10% of the vascular flora as well as significant numbers of rare or threatened species, including endemic and evolutionary relict species, such as the Wollemi pine, which have persisted in highly-restricted microsites.
The rocks which give the Blue Mountains their distinctive character are sandstone plateaus, cliffs and towers, with shales and some granite, basalt, and limestone karst. These originated in a late Cambrian subduction zone which was overlaid by Siluro-Devonian deposits including the carbonate reefs in which the Jenolan caves formed. Subsequent uplift, erosion, marine flooding, deposition and the growth of extensive coal swamps followed. The sandstones and shales, still almost horizontally bedded but now between 500 and 1,000 m high, were laid down as riverine sediments from the Late Permian to the Mid Triassic. The high escarpment may be the result of uplift and tectonic movements in the Cretaceous. But in the rim-rock area of the southwest, very ancient underlyingbasement granites are exposed. Volcanism was an important feature during both the Siluro-Devonian and the Jurassic, periods when a number of volcanic necks were extruded which have now eroded to form circular amphitheaters. More recently, Miocene lava flows formed basalt caps which protect the summits of several mountains such as Mts Wilson, Banks and Tomah.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 The very hard and relatively impermeable sandstones which are highly resistant to erosion are in many areas underlain by much softer shales which erode more easily. This produces slot canyons like the 30 m deep Grand Canyon which is only 3 m wide at the top, that become wide valleys in which small underfit rivers flow where the sandstone cap has collapsed. High cliffs are prominent, including the Cliff Wall which runs from the north of Wollemi National Park almost 280km south, reaching nearly 300m high just south of Wentworth Falls. A large number of spectacular waterfalls cascade from these cliffs. Weathering of joints in the limestone and bands of ironstone produce pinnacles and pagoda-like forms. The sandstone-derived soils are dry, infertile, acidic and phosphorous-poor, but they vary within short distances. There are pockets of volcanic soils and several valley floors are alluvial. There has been some erosion by wind and intense fires, and the superb lyrebird while excavating for food or building nest-mounds could have had some impact on erosion over time since they may turnover an average of 63 tonnes of debris per hectare per year
The Greater Blue Mountains Area located between 32°22’ to 34°23’S and 149° 54’ to 151°07’E. Its eight protected areas preserve a record of the adaptation and diversification of the eucalypts in post-Gondwanan isolation on the Australian continent. The Area has an exceptionally wide range of habitats which contain ninety-two species of eucalyptus, ten percent of Australia's vascular flora and numbers of rare or threatened, endemic and relict species, such as the Wollemi pine, which have persisted for millennia in highly protected micro-sites.  
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area embraces over a million hectares of natural bushland extending from the Southern Highlands to the Hunter Valley. From Sydney’s back fence, wild escarpments rise westward to the crest of the Great Dividing Range and the farmlands of the Central Tablelands. 
The World Heritage Area is made up of eight individual nature conservation reserves. These are Yengo, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Blue Mountains, Nattai, Kanangra-Boyd and Thirlmere Lakes national Parks together with the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 1,032,649 ha in eight areas. Seven adjoining protected areas form a buffer zone of 86,200 ha. Within each park is a protected wilderness. These total 554,822 ha of the nominated area:
·                 Wollemi National Park - 499,879 ha
·                 The Blue Mountains National Park - 247,840 ha
·                 Yengo Natioal Park - 153,483 ha
·                 Nattai National Park - 47,855 ha
·                 Kanangra-Boyd National Park - 65.379 ha
·                 Gardens of Stone National Park - 15,150 ha
·                 Jenolan Caves Karst Reserve - 2,422 ha
·                 Thirmere Lakes National Park - 641 ha
The area does not contain mountains in the conventional sense but is described as a deeply incised sandstone plateau rising from less than 100 m above sea level to 1,300 m at the highest point. There are basalt outcrops on the higher ridges. This plateau is thought to have enabled the survival of a rich diversity of plant and animal life by providing a refuge from climatic changes during recent geological history.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
  It is particularly noted for its wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats from wet and dry sclerophyll, mallee heathlands, as well as localized swamps, wetlands and grassland. There are 91 species of eucalypt (13% of the global total) in the Greater Blue Mountains Area, 12 of which are believed to occur only in the Sydney sandstone region.
In addition to its rich diversity of eucalypts, the Area also contains ancient, relict species of global significance. The most famous of these is the recently discovered Wollemi pine, a 'living fossil' dating back to the age of the dinosaurs. Thought to have been extinct for millions of years, the few surviving trees of this ancient species are known only from three small populations located in remote, inaccessible gorges within the nominated property. The Wollemi pine is one of the World's rarest species.
The Greater Blue Mountains is one of the three most diverse areas on earth for scleromorphic species, and the only such area outside a Mediterranean climate and dominated by trees. It is also a centre of plant endemism. It contains almost 1,500 species, 10% of Australia's vascular plants, and the highest diversity of any of its temperate zones. This is due largely to its exceptional geological stability and intricate topography which has allowed some environments and their biota to persist for millennia as refugia from climatic change. Its inaccessibility has also preserved this heritage. There is a complex mosaic of vegetation types and of unusual groups of species. 114 taxa are found exclusively or predominantly only within the area, and 127 nationally rare and threatened plants, many of them restricted to very specialized habitats such as cliffs, mesa-tops and heathland. The site holds several Gondwanan relict species as well, surviving in restricted microsites, such as the Wollemi pine Wollemia nobilis only discovered in 1994 in an almost inaccessible gorge, the shrub Acrophyllum australe and the podocarp Microstrobus fitzgeraldii, restricted to wet rocks near waterfalls and only recorded in the Jamieson Valley.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 The area also has the largest sclerophyll forest in the world, ranging from grassland, dry mallee heathland scrub and sclerophyll woodland to wet sclerophyll forest, wetlands and swamps. The nutrient-poor soils have discouraged development by man and, over millennia, have conditioned the development of the vegetation. The dominant tree and vegetation type is eucalyptus open dry woodland and forest which is fire-adapted, drought-tolerant and able to grow in a wide range of soils and altitudes, a species being adapted to every situation. Owing to the openness of the canopy and the varying effects of fire, the understorey is diverse and varies with soil type. Ninety-two species of eucalyptus, thirteen percent of the global total, occur in the area, including eight considered rare or threatened and twelve which may be endemic to the Sydney sandstone region. It is described as a natural laboratory for studying eucalypt evolution through periods of global climatic change and because it shows considerable diversity in isolated populations through adaptation of species to complex conditions. An unusual characteristic is seed dispersal by ants. Characteristic dominant forest associations are, at lower and wetter levels, red bloodwood E. gummifera with scribbly gum E. racemosa and narrow-leaved apple Angophora bakeri; in higher open forest, black ash E.seiberi, Sydney peppermint E. piperita, E.racemosa and smooth-leaved apple Angophora costata; on richer soils, blue gum E. deanii, turpentine Syncarpia glomulifera, and in drier woodland areas E.eximia with grey gum E. punctata and scribbly gum E. sclerophylla. In mallee and heath E. stricta is often dominant. But there are a great number of intermingling associations. The high diversity of scleromorphic taxa is spread over 20 plant families, among them the Fabaceae (149 species), Myrtaceae (150 species), Orchideae (77 species), Poaceae (57 species), Asteraceae (69 species), Proteaceae (77 species), Cyperaceae (43 species), and Acacia (64 species).
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 Over 70 plant communities have been described and mapped for the Park, their classification being based on dominant species as influenced by geology and climate, more than 40 being recorded from the Blue Mountains National Park alone in which over 1000 species of flowering plant and 346 bryophytes occur. This species richness is exceptional for this climatic type, not only in a single habitats but over changes of taxa with changes in habitat and in changes of taxa in similar habitats in different geographic areas (alpha, beta and gamma diversity). A number of rainforest communities have been described with affinities to subtropical, dry, warm-temperate and cool-temperate ecosystems. These rainforest patches are restricted to areas of higher rainfall or higher soil moisture, deeper, nutrient-rich soils, and unaffected by fires. One of the richest areas of warm temperate rainforest is on the slopes of Mount Wilson. The forests of the east and south give way on the plateau to open woodland. Subalpine species are recorded above 1,000 m, and heaths, in areas exposed to strong winds such as ridge-tops and cliff edges. At similar altitudes where the drainage is restricted, and in steep-sided basins in headwater valleys hanging swamps have developed, with a distinctive sedge, herb and shrub flora, often dominated by button grass Gymnoschoemus sphareocephalus.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 More than 400 different kinds of animals live within the rugged gorges and tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. These include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the spotted-tailed quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider and the long-nosed potoroo, as well as rare reptiles including the green and golden bell frog and the Blue Mountains water skink.
The exceptional floristic and structural diversity of the region's habitats explains the richness of the fauna. There are 400 vertebrate taxa including 52 native mammals plus 13 introductions, 265 birds, 63 reptiles, more than 30 frogs, and unusual species such as the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus and echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus aculeatus. Endemic, relict, rare, threatened and restricted-range species include 12 mammals, 28 other vertebrates, 15 birds and 12 invertebrates. The mammals include a number of well-known animals such as the eastern grey kangaroo Macropus giganteus, the red-necked wallaby M. rufogriseus, wallaroo M. robustus, koala Phasocarctos cinereus and wombat Vombatus ursinus, the greater glider Petaurus volans, the squirrel glider P.norfolcensis, mountain brushtailed possum Trichosurus caninus; also the rarer spotted-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus (VU), long-nosed potoroo Potorous tridactylus (VU), yellow-bellied glider Petaurus australis and brush-tailed rock wallaby Petrogale penicillata (VU).
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 The avifauna is diverse, with some 265 native species, a third of the Australian total, and 10 introduced species. The diversity of honeyeaters is high: 25 species have been recorded from the nominated area. The white-eared honeyeater Lichenstomus leucotis and New Holland honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae are found in the drier forests, the Lewin honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii frequents the rainforests and wet sclerophyll forest. Other species include the well-known gang-gang cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum, glossy black cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami, superb lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae, crimson rosella Platycercus elegans, kookaburra Dacelo gigas, and satin bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus. Raptors recorded from the area include the wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax and a number of owls.
In all, over 60 species of reptiles have been recorded, including two tortoises, one being the endemic Nepean River tortoise Emydura sp.nov. The endemic broad-headed snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides (VU) is largely restricted to the Hawkesbury sandstone; the Blue Mountains water skink Eulamprus leuraensis (EN) is a rare endemic. Over 30 species of frog have been recorded from the Greater Blue Mountains Area including the giant barred frog Mixophyes iteratus (EN), booroolong frog Litoria booroolongensis (CR) and green & golden bell frog Litoria aurea (VU) plus the red-crowned toadlet Pseudophryne australis (VU) The invertebrate fauna is poorly known, but there are 120 species of butterflies and an estimated 4,000 species of moth. The rainforest areas are particularly rich and the Jenolan Caves have 67 species of invertebrates. The primitive phylum Onychophora (between worm and insect) is particularly important, with at least five species out of a global total of only 200. Glowworms are also of interest, particularly the primitive members of the genus Arachnocampa.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia

The Greater Blue Mountains Area is a World Heritage Site within the Blue Mountains, about 50 km west of central Sydney, Australia. It was inscribed during the 24th session of the World Heritage Committee, which met in Cairns, Australia, from 27 November to 2 December, 2000. The World Heritage Committee inscribed the Greater Blue Mountains Area under natural criteria (ii) and (iv).
Criteria (ii) and (iv): Australia's eucalypt vegetation is worthy of recognition as of outstanding universal value, because of its adaptability and evolution in post-Gondwana isolation. The site contains a wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats from wet and dry sclerophyll, mallee heathlands, as well as localised swamps, wetlands, and grassland. 90 eucalypt taxa (13% of the global total) and representation of all four groups of eucalypts occur. There is also a high level of endemism with 114 endemic taxa found in the area as well as 120 nationally rare and threatened plant taxa. The site hosts several evolutionary relic species (Wollemia, Microstrobos, Acrophyllum) which have persisted in highly restricted microsites.

How To Get To Greater Blue Mountains.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia
 The most popular means of transport to the Blue Mountains is by car. The entrance to the Blue Mountains at Glenbrook/Lapstone is only around 50 minutes drive from Sydney. From the city, follow the signs to Parramatta. The M4 Motorway starts at Strathfield and takes you through to Lapstone in the Blue Mountains.
Many accommodation guides will tell you that the Blue Mountains is a 90 minute drive from Sydney, however, Blue Mountains Web acknowledges that there is far more to the Blue Mountains than the popular tourist destination of Leura / Katoomba (90 minutes fromSydney).
               An alternative route to the Blue Mountains is via Bell’s Line of Road which starts at Richmond and takes you through to Mount Tomah and Bell, and across to Mount Victoria. This drive is extremely pleasant through the vast Blue Mountains National Park, a contrast to the main thoroughfare of the Great Western Highway.
             If you are travelling from the outer west, follow the signs to Lithgow, then through to Hartley where you will enter the Blue Mountains via Victoria Pass taking you straight to the top at Mount Victoria.
Greater Blue Mountains, Australia

Possibly the most relaxing way to travel to the Blue Mountains is by Rail. City Rail offer an extremely efficient service to the Blue Mountains. If you are flying into Sydney, a new rail link opened in 2001 taking passengers directly from Sydney Airport to Central Railway Station. There are also many shuttle buses available to transport you to Central RailwayStation.
          From Central you can Board an air-conditioned double decker Mountains train. The fast journey to the Mountains will most likely stop at Strathfield, Parramatta, Penrith, Emu Plains, and then all stations up the Blue Mountains.
         Most trains go through to Mount Victoria. Some even go as far as Lithgow. Trains generally run every hour and even more frequently during peak commuter times. Taxis are readily available from Blaxland, Springwood, Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba Railway Stations.


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