Two features I have in magazines out right now – grab ’em!

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READER’S DIGEST (Aug 2016): Travel deep into Australia’s prehistoric past with the Australian Age of Dinosaurs team as they dig for dinosaurs, way out in the Queensland outback.

AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER (Aug-Sep 2016): Like three separately bound volumes of a Georgian gothic thriller, Tasmania’s trio of historic convict-built bridges – three of the four oldest bridges in Australia – are rich in atmosphere, character and stories.

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Elaborately decorative Ross Bridge (1836) in Tasmania’s Midlands

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GBR008.LadyElliotIsland lagoon.LevellLong time, no post. I’m surfacing to say my feature story on the Great Barrier Reef is in the current issue of the wonderful Australian Traveller  magazine (Megan Gale on cover).

The story covers the Capricornia Cays, the Reef’s southern end, a tropical paradise of coral islands brimming with colourful fish, seabirds, pisonia forests, manta rays and green turtles. Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island (left) are the resort islands. Both are coral cays, right on the reef itself. The diving is superb!

 

 

 

 

 

A link to my story on LIZARD ISLAND RESEARCH STATION, one of only four marine biology outposts on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Crown-of-thorns starfish at Lizard Island Research Station. This natural reef predator is favoured by manmade changes to water chemistry

Crown-of-thorns starfish at Lizard Island Research Station. This natural reef predator is favoured by manmade changes to water chemistry. Photograph: David Levell

 

 

 

Bathurst celebrates its bicentenary this coming May. Although the grand colonial architecture adorning those wide streets dates from the Gold Rush (i.e. mid-19th century plus), Bathurst was founded in 1815 and is Australia’s oldest inland town. Where else can you stare down a T.Rex, explore an art colony in a nearby almost-ghost town and eat crocodile pizza in an 1850s church building in a street named for a gang of bushrangers? Check out my travel feature here.

All photography © David Levell
Abercrombie House

Bathurst’s magnificent Abercrombie House – a virtual colonial castle, privately owned and occupied but offering regular tours.

Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum, Bathurst

Nose to nose with a T.Rex – only in Bathurst! The Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum, Bathurst, has the only complete T.Rex skeleton on permanent display in this Wide Brown Land.

Hill End's main street, today and in Jeffrey Smart's 1950s painting

Hill End near Bathurst was a large gold-mining town in the 19th century. Morphing into an artist colony in the 20th, it has been the subject of several iconic Australian paintings. Signs in the streets mark the spots. Above, Hill End today and in Jeffrey Smart’s 1950s painting. Below is Russell Drysdale’s The Cricketers.

Where Drysdale's The Cricketers was painted

Below: Golden Gully: the landscape transformed by the Gold Rush.

Hill End's weird Golden Gully

Hill End’s weird Golden Gully

Some more dwarf minke clips from my recent expedition to the Great Barrier Reef with Eye to Eye – because too much minke business is never enough! The story can be viewed online at Travel Insider

A minke makes a fairly close approach under the trailing snorkellers’ line, though this isn’t a ‘close approach’ as defined by the scientific surveyors – they come much nearer than this.

Whale takes a breather – listen for their peculiar metallic vocalisations at the beginning and end of the video.

Two minkes swimming together. Scientists speculate that these Reef gatherings, which usually consist of adolescent whales, may have a courtship purpose. As onboard marine biologist Dean Miller said, ‘It’s their blue-light disco’.

The dwarf minke is the most patterned baleen whale. Patterns are unique to each individual, and always assymetrical.

A minke swims over to say hello. I shot this video during a spot of extremely immersive whale-watching on the Great Barrier Reef with Eye to Eye Marine Encounters.

My article about swimming with minkes has just been published in Qantas inflight magazine and Qantas Travel Insider. The iPad version includes video.

For a few weeks every southern winter, the Great Barrier Reef hosts one of the planet’s most amazing wildlife experiences. Recently I had the privilege of joining Eye to Eye Marine Encounters on a trip to hang out (literally) with dwarf minke whales in Reef waters off Cape York. Here’s a link to my article in this month’s Qantas inflight magazine about this unique animal encounter.

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