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July 5, 2001: LOS ANGELES / SAN FRANCISCO-DEPARTURE. Following our arrival in LosAngeles / San Francisco from Pennsylvania, our group will depart on a regularly scheduled flight for Australia. (D) Galah
Note: Because of the flight departure time from Los Angeles/San Francisco, length of the flight to Australia and crossing of the International Date Line, ADD TWO DAYS to arrival date.
July 7,
2001:
CAIRNS-CHARTER-FLIGHT LIZARD ISLAND-FIELD COURSE ORIENTATION. Following arrival in Cairns, Australia (~ 1230 p.m.), we will take a charter-flight over the Great Barrier Reef to Lizard Island (one hour). Upon arrival, our group will be greeted by Australia Field Course Staff and settle in at the Australian Museum Research Station*. Later this afternoon, we will have a general orientation session to marine portion of our Australia Field Course and the Research Station, followed by an introduction to snorkeling off the pure white sands of Research Beach. Dinner and overnight Lizard Island. (B L D)
July 8,
2001:
SNORKEL WATSON'S BAY/REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION-DISCUSS MAJOR FISH GROUPS of the GREAT BARRIER REEF and FISH SAMPLING TECHNIQUES-SNORKEL HORSESHOE PATCH REEF. Following an early breakfast, we will depart for nearby Watson's Bay (15 minutes). Our group will focus on the identification of reef fish during our morning snorkel here. We will return to Lizard Island for lunch and a discussion of "The Major Fish Families Found on the Great Barrier Reef". Various fish sampling techniques used by Researchers will also be covered. This afternoon, we will depart for Horseshoe Patch Reef (5 minutes). This reef has been specially protected from the coral eating "crown of thorns starfish", so we will observe a particularly luxuriant hard coral community and large schools of reef fishes. In the late afternoon, return to Lizard Island for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 9,
2001:
DAY 4 SNORKEL WATSON'S BAY/FISH DENSITY and FEEDING BEHAVIOR-DISCUSS BIOLOGY of REEF FISHES-SNORKEL CLAM GARDENS. After breakfast, we will again depart for Watson's Bay. Our goal this morning, will be to observe fish feeding behavior and also attempt to measure density of local fish populations. We will return to Lizard Island for lunch and a discussion of "The Biology of Reef Fishes". In the afternoon, we will visit the Clam Gardens (10 minutes), which hosts one of the highest natural densities of "giant clams" anywhere on the Great Barrier Reef. These huge bi-valves, which may live to be 50 years old and grow to over 5 feet in diameter are endangered in most of their former range. At the Clam Gardens there are literally hundreds of these giant mollusks. In the late afternoon, return to Lizard Island for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 10, 2001: SNORKEL TURTLE BEACH/AGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR in REEF FISH-DISCUSS IDENTIFICATION of HARD, SOFT CORALS and OTHER INVERTEBRATES-SNORKEL BLUE LAGOON. Early this morning, we will depart for Turtle Beach (20minutes). Our morning snorkel will focus on the aggressive behavior of herbivorous reef fishes and the patterns of zonation in the local coral community. We will return to Lizard Island for lunch and a mid-day discussion on "The Identification of Coral Species and Other Invertebrates that make-up the Great Barrier Reef". In the afternoon, we will travel to the center of Lizard Island's Blue Lagoon (15 minutes). Here, we will observe the spectacular reef-flat coral community and snorkel with two resident (and harmless) white-tip reef sharks. In the late afternoon, return to Lizard Island for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 11, 2001: SNORKEL VIKI'S REEF-DISCUSS BIOLOGY of CORALS-SNORKEL PALFREY HOLE-EXPLORATION of GHOST BEACH on PALFREY ISLAND. Following breakfast, we will depart for Viki's Reef. This location will give us a good opportunity to observe sea turtles and possibly manta rays, while we snorkel. We will return to Lizard Island for lunch and a discussion on "The Biology of Corals". This afternoon, we will depart for and snorkel Palfrey Hole. Spectacular staghorn coral formations line the reef crest in this area. We may also encounter "giant humphead parrot-fish" (200 lbs.) at this site. There will also be time to go ashore on Palfrey Island to hike and explore deserted Ghost Beach. In the late afternoon, return to Lizard Island for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 12, 2001: SNORKEL CRAYFISH WALL-DISCUSS PHYSICAL CHARACTERSTICS and GEOMORPHOLOGY of the GREAT BARRIER REEF-SNORKEL NORTH POINT and MERMAID COVE-HIKE LIZARD ISLAND MOUNTAIN-EVENING WRAP-UP SESSION. After breakfast this morning, our group will depart for Crayfish Wall. Snorkeling here should give us a good look at wrasses and reef sharks. We will return to Lizard Island for lunch and a discussion on "The Physical Characteristics of the Great Barrier Reef". This afternoon, we will snorkel North Point and Mermaid Cove. Here, we will observe spectacular coral walls that plummet into deep water. Late in the afternoon, will return to Watson's Bay and hike Lizard Island Mountain to Captain Cook's Look, the point where the famous Captain plotted his course out of the Great Barrier Reef and back to open water in 1788. Following dinner tonight, we will have a wrap-up session on the marine portion of our Australia Field Course. Overnight Lizard Island. (B L D)
July 13, 2001: LIZARD ISLAND-CHARTER-FLIGHT CAIRNS-JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY-CAPE TRIBULATION-INTRODUCTION to the DAINTREE RAINFOREST-HIKE CAPE TRIBULATION RAINFOREST BOARDWALK-OBSERVATION of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Following breakfast, our group will pack up, say farewells to Lizard Island Field Course Staff and depart (~10:30 a.m.) for Cairns by charter-flight (one hour). Upon arrival, we will transfer to the nearby James Cook University Cairns campus. Here, we will have a brief introduction to the Rainforest Canopy Crane, which we will have access to in the Daintree. In the afternoon, our group will depart for Cape Tribulation. Following our arrival, we will settle in at Coconut Beach Resort and have a briefing about the terrestrial portion of our Australia Field Course and spectacular Daintree National Park. This will be followed by a walk through an endangered Fan Palm rainforest and a walk along Coconut Beach. After dinner, we will take an evening hike, hoping to spot a variety nocturnal animals, including rare ringtail possums, tree kangaroos and forest dragons. Overnight Coconut Beach Resort. (B L D)
July 14, 2001 DISCUSS PLANTS of the WET TROPICS-CANOPY CRANE-PLANT IDENTIFICATION- FAUNA SURVEY-OBSERVATION of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Early this morning, we will have breakfast followed by a discussion on "Plants of the Wet Tropics of Australia". Our group will then head into the field and use the Canopy Crane, as we attempt to identify plants and a variety of animals that make their home in the rainforest canopy. The canopy crane will take us to the upper reaches of the rainforest, where we will have tremendous views of the surrounding vegetation and rugged topography in this region. While in the canopy, we will hopefully observe an assortment of tropical wildlife, including pythons and birds of paradise. Following lunch, we will return to the Canopy Crane and continue our morning activities. In the late afternoon, our group will return to Coconut Beach for dinner. This evening, we will hike to a rainforest stream, in the hopes of spotting tree-frogs, leaf-tailed geckos and other nocturnal wildlife. Overnight Coconut Beach Resort. (B L D)
July 15, 2001: DISCUSS ANIMALS of the WET TROPICS-ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION along the DUBUJI BOARDWALK-ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION in the COCONUT BEACH RAINFOREST. After breakfast this morning, we will have a brief discussion on "Animals of the Wet Tropics of Australia". Following this, our group will hike along the Dubuji boardwalk through a variety of rainforest habitats, attempting to identify an assortment of birds and other wildlife. After lunch, we will spend the remainder of the day, again observing and identifying animals, along one of the many tropical rainforest streams in Daintree National Park. We will return to Coconut Beach in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 16, 2001: DISCUSS ABORIGINAL HISTORY and USE of NATURAL RESOURCES in the DAINTREE-RAINFOREST HIKE to OBSERVE PLANT and INSECT RELATIONSHIPS-VISIT CAPE TRIBULATION. Following breakfast today, we will discuss some of the aboriginal history of the Daintree region, along with past and present land use practices by some of Australia's indigenous groups. Our morning rainforest walk will be along an Aboriginal Plant Trail, which identifies many species of plants regularly used by local indigenous groups. We will also observe some important, and strange, plant-insect relationships, including the association between the Apollo jewel butterfly and the ant plant ants! Following lunch, we will have some time at leisure to explore other parts of the Daintree, including Cape Tribulation, where the reef meets the rainforest, Myall Beach and numerous tropical streams and waterfalls. In the late afternoon, our group will return to Coconut Beach for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 17, 2001: CAPE TRIBULATION-CAIRNS. Following breakfast, we will depart Coconut Beach Resort and Cape Tribulation by bus, for Cairns. Our group will settle in at the Tuna Towers Hotel. This afternoon, we will be at leisure in Cairns for sightseeing and shopping. Overnight Tuna Towers Hotel. (B L D)
July 18, 2001: CAIRNS-UNDARA SAVANNAH-SUNSET HIKE. Early this morning we will depart by bus, and travel west through the beautiful Atherton Tablelands to tropical north Queensland's Outback region, known as the Gulf Savannah (4 hours). Following our arrival, we will have lunch at the Lava Lodge. In the afternoon, our group will go for a bush-walk on one of the many local trails and have some time to relax by the Lava Lodge pool. In the late afternoon, we will join our Savannah Guide for a magnificent sunset hike, where the savannah life-zone found in this region, along with its' flora and fauna will be discussed. Following dinner, we will have an evening of activities around the campfire. Overnight at Swags Tent Village (L D)
July 19, 2001: UNDARA LAVA TUBES-CAIRNS. Following an early breakfast at the Ringers Camp, we will join our Savannah Guide for a half-day lava tube tour where they will share their extensive knowledge of this fascinating area. The Undara Lava Tubes were formed some 190,000 years ago when a major crater in the McBride Volcanic Province erupted, its' molten lava then flowed down a dry river bed. As the top layer quickly cooled and crusted, the fiery magma below continued to flow through the tubes taking it further and further from the crater. As the eruption slowed, and then stopped, the lava drained out of the tubes leaving a series of long, hollow tunnels. Ancient roof collapses created deep, dark and moist depressions, where fertile pockets of rainforest can now be seen. Rainforest plants and animals thrive in this environment, where each tube offers an insight into this rare geological wonder. The word "Undara" is an Aboriginal word meaning "a long way", and one of the lava flows from Undara extends for 100 miles, making it the longest lava flow from a single crater on the planet. After lunch, we will return to Cairns. Overnight Tuna Towers Hotel. Group farewell dinner at an authentic Australian restaurant (B L D)
July 20, 2001: CAIRNS-DEPARTURE. After an early breakfast and farewells to our Australia Field Course Staff, you will be transferred to the airport in Cairns for your return flight home. (B)
July 21, 2001: ARRIVE LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO and home to Pennsylvnia
Note: Due to weather conditions and circumstances beyond the control of Field Course Staff, certain activities may be changed or done on different days in the best interest of the group

This page was last updated on October 29, 2000.