Down Under Day 27-Welcome, Barry Lowe, AUS and NZ Facts of the Day


Welcome, Barry Lowe!

Our countdown continues and today our featured author on our Down Under Author Showcase is Barry Lowe.  Barry Lowe is a prolific Australian writer with a penchant for hilarious titles and thought provoking plot lines.  Be sure to search out the wonderful interview he gave us along with his bio, books and giveaway!

For the rest of the week, each author’s contests will continue into February to give everyone ample chance to locate the authors and listen to the stories they have to tell.


Now onto our Australian and New Zealand facts of the day.  I’ve learned about cube-shaped wombat poop and wild Australian camels,  subterranean glowworms who turn their cavernous ceilings into glowing night skies and red dirt deserts among the driest places on earth.  What have been your favorites facts so far?  Have you been able to answer the questions I have posed along the way?  Hmmmm.  Maybe you might want to backtrack and pick them up.  Figure them out…..maybe there’s  another contest still to come?

How I am enjoying this journey!

Australian Fact of the Day – It’s all About The Trees!

In the US we are proud of our trees, from the oldest in our great Redwood forests to the beauty of our flowering Magnolias in the south.  Here are some facts about the trees and forests in Australia!Valley of the Giants

Australia’s tallest trees can be found in the south-west of Western Australia in the Valley of the Giants. Giant tuart, karri, and rich red jarrah which live for up to 500 years can be found here. The 1000 kilometre (621 mile) Bibbulmun Track traverses a variety of jarrah, marri, wandoo, karri and tingle forests as well as internationally significant wetlands.tree top walk 2

The cool temperate rainforest of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian wilderness contains some of the oldest trees on the planet including the rare Huon Pine.

The majestic Wollemi pine is a remnant from a 200 million year-old landscape, when Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica were joined together as the supercontinent Gondwana. It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years, until rediscovered by a bushwalker in 1994. Fewer than 100 trees exist in the wild, growing in the deep rainforest gorges of the Greater Blue Mountains.Wollemi pine

That first photo should resemble one you would take if you visited a certain park in Northern California. Which park would that be and why?



New Zealand Facts of the Day – forests of New Zealand

New Zealand’s high rainfall and many sunshine hours give the country a lush and diverse flora–with 80 percent of the trees, ferns, and flowering plants being native.

From the kauri forests of the far north to the mountain beech forests and alpine tussock of the Southern Alps, you’ll find fascinating plants and trees in every region. You’ll be awed by the majestic evergreen native forests that include rimu, totara, many varieties of beech, and the largest native tree of them all, the giant kauri.

Waipoua is home to Tane Mahuta, king of the forest and the largest remaining kauri tree in the country. The 1,500 year old Tane Mahuta is 51.5 m (168 feet) tall, with a girth of 13.77 m(45 ft).
Tane Mahutatane-mahuta-223 -see picture at right.
The forests of Waipoua are vitally important refuges for threatened wildlife. The endangered North Island kokako and the North Island brown kiwi both live here. More abundant are the kukupa/kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon), fantail, pied tit, tui, grey warbler, shining cuckoo and kingfisher. Another distinctive creature is the large and very handsome kauri snail, a carnivore kauri snailwhich feeds mainly on earthworms, slugs and soft-bodied insects.

A lasting reminder of the once-thriving kauri industry are the kauri dams. Kauri driving dams were built by loggers to drive large quantities of kauri logs downstream from remote areas. While they played a major role in the destruction of the forest, they were also impressive engineering feats, built without drawings or detailed calculations, yet able to withstand the pressure of tonnes of water and kauri logs which were swept through with tremendous force when the dam was tripped.

kauri-forest-565In the Kauaeranga Valley on the Coromandel, kauri was logged extensively for over 50 years with more than 60 dams built. In 1970 remaining areas of surviving forest were deemed protected as part of the Coromandel Forest Park.

The Kaiaraara Dam on Great Barrier Island (40 m wide and 14 m high), is one of the largest of 3,000 kauri dams built in New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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