Friday, June 24, 2022

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania


Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in United Republic of Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level in the world: 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level and about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) above its plateau base. It is the highest volcano in Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere.

Kilimanjaro is a large dormant stratovolcano composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft); and Shira, the lowest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft). Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. The Tanzania National Parks Authority, a Tanzanian government agency, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization lists the height of Uhuru Peak as 5,895 m (19,341 ft), based on a British survey in 1952. Kilimanjaro is a large dormant stratovolcano composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft);[15] and Shira, the lowest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft). Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.

Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. The Tanzania National Parks Authority, a Tanzanian government agency, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization lists the height of Uhuru Peak as 5,895 m (19,341 ft), based on a British survey in 1952. The height has since been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,902 metres (19,364 ft) in 2008, and 5,899 metres (19,354 ft) in 2014.

A map of the Kibo cone on Mount Kilimanjaro was published by the British government's Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) in 1964 based on aerial photography conducted in 1962 as the "Subset of Kilimanjaro, East Africa (Tanganyika) Series Y742, Sheet 56/2, D.O.S. 422 1964, Edition 1, Scale 1:50,000". Tourist mapping was first published by the Ordnance Survey in England in 1989 based on the original DOS mapping at a scale of 1:100,000, with 100 feet (30 m) contour intervals, as DOS 522. West Col Productions produced a map with tourist information in 1990, at a scale of 1:75,000, with 100 metres (330 ft) contour intervals; it included inset maps of Kibo and Mawenzi on 1:20,000 and 1:30,000 scales respectively and with 50 metres (160 ft) contour intervals. In recent years, numerous other maps have become available, of various qualities. height has since been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,902 metres (19,364 ft) in 2008, and 5,899 metres (19,354 ft) in 2014.

Kilimanjaro National Park generated US$51 million in revenue in 2013,  the second-most of any Tanzanian national park.  The Tanzania National Parks Authority reported that the park recorded 57,456 tourists during the 2011–12 budget year, of whom 16,425 hiked the mountain; the park's General Management Plan specifies an annual capacity of 28,470. The mountain hikers generated irregular and seasonal jobs for about 11,000 guides, porters, and cooks in 2007. Concerns have been raised about their poor working conditions and inadequate wages of these workers. Due to Kilimanjaro National Park's popularity as a destination, the Tanzanian government have invested in road infrastructure to improve accessibility. In Tanzania, Kilimanjaro International Airport also serves as an important transportation hub.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Franz Josef Glaciers in New Zealand

The Franz Josef Glacier / Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere is a 12-kilometre-long (7.5 mi)  temperate maritime glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the south, and a third glacier, it descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level.The area surrounding the two glaciers is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Site park. The river emerging from the glacier terminal of Franz Josef is known as the Waiho River.

Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are the most publicly-accessible glaciers in New Zealand, and among the most accessible in the world – until recently, there was easy walking access directly to the glacier termini. Consequently for over a century they have been a significant tourist attraction. The glacier is associated with the Graham family, in particular mountaineers and guides Alec and Peter Graham and Rose Graham and historian Dorothy Fletcher (née Graham). Services in their hotel brought about the construction of St James Church. Extract from the February 1936 issue of National Geographic Magazine: "But the Franz Josef Glacier and its background of mountains is worth waiting long to see on a clear day. It is one of the most remarkable glaciers in the world. Slipping down from a large snowfield at more than 8,000 feet, it terminates in subtropical bush, only 700 feet above sea level. Movement in its upper reaches is remarkably rapid, 15 or more feet a day.

Today the Franz Josef glacier area is the third-most-visited tourist spot in New Zealand, and one of the main tourist attractions on the West Coast. It had around 250,000 visitors a year in 2008,[9] increasing to 700,000 a year (500,000 overnight) in 2017. It used to be possible to walk up to the glacier, but In March 2012 the terminal face of the glacier collapsed and it is now too dangerous to approach; signs warn against crossing the safety barriers at the lookout. As of 2020, the valley walk ends at a lookout about 50 m from the main terminal face of the glacier. Visiting the glacier now requires a helicopter flight past the unstable terminal face. Glacier walks also require some specialised equipment, namely ice axes and crampons that latch onto a sturdy boot. These are usually provided by tour companies.

At the entrance of the valley lies the village of Franz Josef, which has a permanent population of approximately 330 residents. It is situated 5 km from the glacier on State Highway 6 and has a petrol station, small but busy heliport, numerous tourist accommodation options (with up to 2,000 people staying overnight during the main season) and a number of restaurants and shops. Just south of the village, a sealed road leads from the highway into the Franz Josef Glacier valley and to a car park. Several small walks start from the Valley Road and the car park, and it is also possible to comfortably cycle from Franz Josef township to the car park.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Queenstown in New Zealand


 Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island. It has an urban population of 15,450 (June 2021).

The town is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long, thin, Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town, Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill.The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 square kilometres (3,361.01 sq mi) not counting its inland lakes Hāwea, Wakatipu, and Wānaka. The region has an estimated resident population of 48,300 (June 2021). Neighbouring towns include Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Wānaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. Queenstown is known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism.

Queenstown is situated on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, the third largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. The town is located close to the lake's northeastern bend, at which point a small arm, the Frankton Arm, joins the lake with its principal outflow, the Kawarau River. The centre of the town is on the north shore at the point where the Frankton Arm links with the main body of the lake, but also extends to the major suburb of Frankton at the eastern end of the arm, and across to Kelvin Heights on the Kelvin Peninsula, which forms the Frankton Arm's southern shore.The town is at a relatively low altitude for a ski and snowboarding centre, at 310 metres (1,020 ft) above sea level at the lake shore, but is nestled among mountains, most notably the scenic attraction of The Remarkables, to the town's southeast. Below the lake lies the deep Kawarau Gorge, and there are nearby plains suitable for agriculture[citation needed] and viticulture. Queenstown lies close to the heart of the Central Otago wine region.

A resort town, Queenstown boasted 220 adventure tourism activities in 2012. Skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, paragliding, sky diving and fly fishing are all popular.Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country and many parts of the world travelling to ski at the four main mountain ski fields (Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone). Cross country skiing is also available at the Waiorau Snowfarm, near Cardrona village.The 100-year-old twin screw coal fired steamer TSS Earnslaw traverses Lake Wakatipu.

Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. The Two Paddocks vineyard is owned by internationally known local actor Sam Neill. Neighbouring, historic Arrowtown features restaurants and bars.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Bay of Islands in New Zealand


 The Bay of Islands is an area on the east coast of the Far North District of the North Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most popular fishing, sailing and tourist destinations in the country, and has been renowned internationally for its big-game fishing since American author Zane Grey publicised it in the 1930s. It is 60 km (37 mi) north-west of the city of Whangarei. Cape Reinga, at the northern tip of the country, is about 210 km (130 mi) by road further to the north-west.

The bay itself is an irregularly-shaped 16 km (10 mi)-wide, 260 km2 (100 sq mi) drowned valley system and a natural harbour. It contains 144 islands, of which the largest is Urupukapuka, and numerous peninsulas and inlets. The three largest inlets are Waikare Inlet in the south, and Kerikeri and Te Puna (Mangonui) inlets in the north-west. The Purerua Peninsula, north of Te Puna Inlet, separates the north-western part of the bay from the Pacific Ocean, and Cape Brett Peninsula extends 10 km (6 mi) into the ocean at the eastern end of the bay. The biggest town is Kerikeri, followed by Paihia. The small town of Russell is located at the end of a short peninsula that extends into the bay from the southeast.

About 700 years ago, the Mataatua, one of the large Māori migration canoes which journeyed to New Zealand from Hawaiki, was sailed to the Bay of Islands (from the Bay of Plenty) by Puhi, a progenitor of the Ngāpuhi iwi (tribe) which today is the largest in the country. Māori settled and multiplied throughout the bay and on several of its many islands to establish various tribes such as the Ngāti Miru at Kerikeri. Many notable Māori were born in the Bay of Islands, including Hone Heke who several times cut down the flagpole at Kororāreka (Russell) to start the Flagstaff War.

Many of the Māori settlements later played important roles in the development of New Zealand, such as Okiato (the nation's first capital), Waitangi (where the Treaty of Waitangi would later be signed) and Kerikeri, (which was an important departure point for inland Māori going to sea, and later site of the first permanent mission station in the country). Some of the islands became notable as well, such as Motu Apo (Te Pahi Island) where 60 of chief Te Pahi's people were killed as revenge after he was wrongly accused of being responsible for the Boyd Massacre at Whangaroa.

The first European to visit the area was Captain Cook, who named the region in 1769. The Bay of Islands was the first area in New Zealand to be settled by Europeans. Whalers arrived towards the end of the 18th century, while the first missionaries settled in 1814. The first full-blooded European child recorded as being born in the country, Thomas King, was born in 1815 at Oihi Bay in the Bay of Islands. (There have been unsubstantiated claims that a European girl was born earlier at the Dusky Sound settlement in the South Island).

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Fiordland National Park in New Zealand


    Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It is by far the largest of the 13 national parks in New Zealand, with an area of 12,607 square kilometres (4,868 sq mi), and a major part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. The park is administered by the Department of Conservation.

Fiordland National Park contains the majority of the largest area of unmodified vegetation in New Zealand. The dense forests, often clinging to steep valley sides, comprise mostly silver beech and mountain beech, but also podocarps. A large variety of shrubs and ferns, often dominated by crown fern, make up a rich understory of plants, with the forest floor covered in mosses and liverworts. The abundant vegetation is supported by the high rainfall, but continues to be damaged by introduced species such as red deer and possum.

The park is also a significant refuge for many threatened native animals, ranging from dolphins and bats to reptiles, insects, and birds. Among the birds are several endangered species endemic to New Zealand such as the takahē, mōhua (yellowhead), and the critically endangered kakapo, the only flightless parrot in the world. The vulnerable Fiordland crested penguin and southern brown kiwi are also almost exclusively found within the park.

The special nature of the Fiordland area for conservation was recognised in the late 1890s by Richard Henry, pioneering the transfer of threatened species such as kakapo and kiwi to islands in Dusky Sound. Conservation work and management of endangered species continues via a number of programmes by the Department of Conservation. The Takahē Recovery Programme ensures the survival of the last wild population of takahē. This unique bird, the largest living member of the rail family, was once thought to be extinct. After rediscovery of the takahē in the Murchison Mountains in 1948, a special area of 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) was set aside in Fiordland National Park for its conservation, with the population reaching a milestone of 300 birds in 2016. Although the National Park comprises 15% of New Zealand's conservation estate, it receives less than 1% of the Department of Conservation's pest-control budget.

Fiordland National Park is the most popular national park in New Zealand for international visitors. Well over half a million people visit the national park every year, however, the visitor numbers are almost exclusively concentrated in the park's north-eastern corridor from Te Anau to Milford Sound.

Most tourists are attracted to the easily accessible areas of the national park such as Milford Sound, where boat tours of the fiord and kayaking are the most popular activities. Some boat tour packages include a visit to the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory. Along the Milford Road from Te Anau there are also camping grounds and several short walks, some of which are even accessible by wheelchair. Popular stopping points along the road are at the Mirror Lakes, the Homer Pass area immediately to the east of the tunnel, and The Chasm.

Te Anau, situated on the shore of Lake Te Anau, is the closest town to the national park and provides many accommodation options as well as all the amenities expected of a small town. The only other settlement close to the park is the much smaller Manapouri.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Kakadu National Park in Australia


Kakadu National Park is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, 171 km (106 mi) southeast of Darwin. It is a World Heritage Site. Kakadu is also gazetted as a locality, covering the same area as the national park, with 313 people recorded living there in the 2016 Australian census. Water buffalo, which are now an environmental pest, were released in the area in the late 19th century, and missionaries established a mission at Oenpelli in 1925. A few pastoralists, crocodile hunters and wood cutters made a living at various times during the 20th century. The area was given protected status bit by bit from the 1970s onwards.

The park is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 19,804 km2 (7,646 sq mi), extending nearly 200 kilometres (124 mi) from north to south and over 100 kilometres (62 mi) from east to west. It is roughly the size of Wales or one-third the size of Tasmania, and is the second largest national park in Australia (after the Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert National Park). Most of the area is owned by the Aboriginal traditional owners, who have occupied the land for around 60,000 years, who manage the park jointly with Parks Australia. It is ecologically and biologically diverse, with a wide range of flora and fauna, and is protected by the EPBC Act. It also includes a rich heritage of Aboriginal rock art, including highly significant sites such as Ubirr.

The estuaries and tidal flats are home to an array of plants and animals adapted to living in the oxygen-deficient saline mud. The dominant habitats are mangrove swamps and samphire flats. Where freshwater springs occur along the coasts and river banks, isolated pockets of coastal monsoon rainforests form. Kakadu National Park covers an area of 19,804 km2 (7,646 sq mi), extending nearly 200 kilometres (124 mi) from north to south and over 100 kilometres (62 mi) from east to west. It is the size of Wales, about one-third the size of Tasmania, and nearly half the size of Switzerland, making it the second largest national park in Australia after the Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert National Park, which was proclaimed in November 2021.The Ranger Uranium Mine, one of the most productive uranium mines in the world, is surrounded by the park.

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Twelve Apostles in Australia


The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.

Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. Seven of the original eight stacks remain standing at the Twelve Apostles viewpoint, after one collapsed in July 2005. Though the view from the promontory by the Twelve Apostles never included twelve stacks, additional stacks—not considered part of the Apostles group—are located to the west within the national park.

The Twelve Apostles were formed by erosion. The harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually erode the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then become arches that eventually collapse, leaving rock stacks up to 50 m (160 ft) high. The stacks are susceptible to further erosion from waves. In July 2005, a 50-metre-tall (160 ft) stack collapsed, leaving seven standing at the Twelve Apostles viewpoint. Due to wave action eroding the cliffs, existing headlands are expected to become new limestone stacks in the future.

The stacks were originally known as the Pinnacles, and the Sow and Pigs (or Sow and Piglets, with Muttonbird Island being the Sow and the smaller rock stacks being the Piglets), as well as the Twelve Apostles. The formation's name was made official as the Twelve Apostles, despite only ever having had eight stacks.

In 2002, the Port Campbell Professional Fishermens Association attempted to block the creation of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park at the Twelve Apostles site. The association approved of a later decision by the Victorian government to prohibit seismic exploration at the site by Benaris Energy, believing such exploration would harm marine life.

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

  Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in United Republic of Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the hi...