Australian Wilderness with Ray Mears
This brand-new seven part series sees renowned bushcraft expert Ray Mears delving further into the outback. Ray travels across Australia to discover how the wildlife and people thrive and adapt in some of the planets last great areas of wilderness.
Part 1: Ningaloo Coast
In episode one, Ray heads west to dive on Ningaloo reef. This is the longest fringing coral reef in the world, and is visible from outer space. And the reef isnt the only giant in these waters. Ray has a friendly encounter with a massive whale shark, the worlds biggest fish. Not as big though as a megalodon – an ancient shark the size of two double-decker buses, whose fossilized teeth Ray finds in the cliffs near the reef.
Part 2: Kakadu Wetlands
Ray travels by boat and truck through the wetland wilderness of Kakadu, in Australias Northern Territory, to meet an aboriginal clan who farm this land by fire. Kakadu is a 20,000 square kilometre Word Heritage Site, and its one of Rays favourite places. He travels in a flat-bottomed boat up the Yellow Water billabong and sees a masked plover chase off a white bellied fish eagle.
Part 3: Nitmiluk Gorge
Ray starts his journey in a helicopter over the vast area of Nitmiluk national park in Northern Australia. Beneath him he sees a stony wilderness, twice the size of London, created before dinosaurs roamed the earth. He then travels on foot, following waterholes through this totally uninhabited land. This trail leads him to a dry forest, where parrots and cockatoos abound.
Part 4: Kangaroo Island
Ray travels the length of Kangaroo Island, off Australias South Coast, described as the “wild jewel” in the continents crown. When the early explorers came to the island they found a land teeming with kangaroos and other species with no predators to harm them. Ray sets out to discover just how much of this original paradise is left. First he comes across a sooty kangaroo, which is unique to Kangaroo Island, and then meets Paul Stanton, who has been farming on the island for 30 years. Ray learns how Paul lives in harmony with his kangaroo neighbours.
Part 5: Dampier Peninsula
Ray is up at sunrise on the rugged Dampier peninsula in North West Australia. Hes here to see a unique phenomenon – the incredible high tides that vary as much as 12 metres between high and low. He wants to find out just how much these wild tides shape the lives of the animals and people here. Ray explores the rough and heavily indented coastline of Dampier – if it was straightened out, it would stretch half way round the world!
Part 6: Flinders Ranges
Its morning in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, the continents largest range of mountains. Ray is travelling through the arid grassland of the foothills to reach the top of one of the ridges. Along the way, hell meet some of Australias most iconic animals. Much of the range is grazed, and Ray meets farmer Tony Smith and his head shepherd Norton Warnest. Tony is the fourth generation of farmers here, and Ray learns about their way of life, and the challenges of sheep farming here.
Part 7: Walpole Forest
Ray follows the Frankland River into the heart of Walpole Forest – two hundred square kilometres of wooded wilderness in Western Australia. The forest is 65 million years old, and has always provided food and shelter for aboriginal people. Ray is seeking out giant trees, and the creatures that live among them.