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Upper Hunter Country

Not for profit organisation Devil Ark, an insurance population breeding program to help save the Tasmanian devil is celebrating with the announcement of the first Eastern quoll joeys born at the Barrington Tops breeding facility. In 2016 Devil Ark opened its doors to another endangered species, the Eastern quoll, with assistance by Australian Geographic to help the species come back from the brink of extinction. Today Devil Ark staff conducted pouch check on 2 of the female quolls and confirmed 12 joeys. This number is expected to climb to 30 with final pouch checks of the remaining females to be completed in the coming weeks.

Devil Ark’s plan is to secure the species with an insurance population, then return them to wild when the species is at stable numbers. Currently classified as endangered, the eastern quoll is a medium-sized carnivorous marsupial native to Australia. Once found throughout Australia, they have now been declared extinct on the mainland due to introduced feral predators and now only exist and thrive in Tasmania. The successful breeding at Devil Ark sees the species back in one of its initial habitats for the first time since the mainland extinction.

Devil Ark president, Tim Faulkner said about today’s events “The health check was great – the joeys are in perfect condition and all the mums are doing great as well. One can’t describe the feeling you get when you breed an animal in an area it is now extinct in. It really gives you hope for the future of the species.”

Commenting on the success of Devil Ark, Faulkner goes on to explain “As a registered charity, Devil Ark largely relies on external support from project partners like Australian Geographic and the general public to maintain the facility for both the Eastern quolls and Tasmanian devils. I am proud to say, in the quolls case, this significant milestone would not have been possible without Australian Geographic.”

“Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and we don’t want to see these species go the same way as the infamous Tasmanian tiger. Tasmanian devil populations have reduced by 90% due to disease, now scientists are seeing the same trend of population decline happening to Eastern quolls in their last remaining stronghold, Tasmania. This is because devils control the feral animals, and without the devils, feral animals are becoming more prominent. Our facilities are committed to Australian Wildlife and are well on the way to restabilising quoll numbers for reintroduction to the wild.”

The Eastern quoll plays an important role as an ecosystem engineer, scavenging on carrion on the forest floor. They are also a natural predator maintaining balance in the bush. Breeding occurs in early winter and after a gestation period of 21 days, females give birth to up to 30 young. However, the pouch contains only six teats, limiting survival to first young which can attach themselves to these teats.

Devil Ark’s Social handles Facebook: @TassieDevilArk / Twitter: @devil_ark / Instagram @devil_ark

For further information:

Amanda Woodbine

Marketing Manager Devil Ark & Australian Reptile Park

Phone: (02) 4340 8611

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News

Not for profit conservation organisation Devil Ark, a breeding facility to avert the extinction of the endangered Tasmanian devil, is reveling in the success of another record breaking season. Four month old Tasmanian devil joeys have had their first health check at Devil Ark this morning with the state-of-the-art conservation breeding facility confirming 51 joeys.

Each female devil gave birth to over 30 miniscule joeys, but only the first four that attach to a teat will endure, so it’s survival of the fittest from the minute they are born. The joeys are now four months old, but will stay in the pouch for another couple of months. They will then leave the pouch and venture out on mums back before dispersing around Christmas and joining the breeding population.

Devil Ark president, Tim Faulkner said about today’s events “The health check was great – the joeys are in perfect condition and all the mums are doing well as well. Last year we celebrated our 200th joey being born into the program so we couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come in the last 6 years. A boost to the species of another 51 joeys is exactly what they need’.

Tim says “Australia has the worst small mammal extinction rate on earth, almost as many as the rest of the world combined. Australia is unique and under attack from disease, feral predators and habitat destruction. Our organisations are committed to reversing this trend or at very least stalling”.

Commenting on the success of Devil Ark, Tim goes on to explain “As a registered charity, Devil Ark largely relies on external support from project partners and the general public to maintain the facility. We’re eternally thankful for all those who donate and are constantly putting a call out to protect the Tasmanian devil, so we don’t end up with another devastating Australian mammal extinction like we did with the Tasmanian tiger.”

Devil Ark is a part of a national breeding program to save the species from extinction. It remains the most successful captive breeding facility for the endangered Tasmanian devil on the mainland – starting out in 2011 with 44 founder animals, the facility now holds an impressive 52% of the mainland insurance population being 154 animals.

Currently classified as endangered the Tasmanian devil is under threat from a transmissible called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). In Tasmania, the disease has reduced the wild population to less than 90% in some areas. DFTD continues to menace the endangered Tasmanian devil population. With no proven of effective cure or vaccine insurance programs like Devil Ark continue to be the species’ best hope of long term survival.

More information at www.devilark.org.au

Devil Ark’s Social handles Facebook: @TassieDevilArk / Twitter: @devil_ark / Instagram @devil_ark

Tim Faulkner’s Social handles Facebook: @timswildlife / Twitter: @Timswildlife / Instagram: @timswildlife

For further information: Amanda Woodbine Marketing Manager Devil Ark & Australian Reptile Park Phone: (02) 4340 8611 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News

Closed areas: Annual winter closure of 4WD trails on Barrington Tops

4WD trails on Barrington Tops will be closed to all vehicles from 1 June 2017 to 1 October 2017 for annual seasonal closure. The closed trails are:

  • Barrington trail (south and north)
  • Paddys Ridge trail
  • Butchers Swamp trail
  • Bullock Brush trail
  • Tugalow trail
  • Thunderbolts trail

Trail closures mean there is no vehicle access to the following campgrounds during this period:

  • Little Murray
  • Junction Pools
  • Gummi Falls

Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact the NPWS Gloucester area office on (02) 6538 5300 or the NPWS Scone area office on (02) 6545 1128 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page.

 Affects 9 locations in this park:

  • Aeroplane Hill walking track
  • Barrington trail
  • Black Swamp campground
  • Careys Peak lookout
  • Careys Peak walking track
  • Junction Pools campground
  • Little Murray campground
  • Mount Barrington picnic area
  • Wombat Creek campground

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/barrington-tops-national-park/local-alerts

Published in News
Monday, 19 September 2016 00:00

Escape up! to natural wilderness

Upper Hunter Country is surrounded by magnificent national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas and state forests and each features something unique.

The rainforests of Barrington Tops National Park are of international significance; forming part of the Gondwana rainforests of Australia's World Heritage Area.

Carved out of volcanic flows, the park rises from near sea level to over 1500m and protects on the largest temperate rainforests in mainland Australia, along with a host of diverse habitats and wide range of birds and animals.

Towarri is a diverse landscape of various vegetations types. Pockets of rainforest, stands of large grass trees and sections of snow gum coexist within the park.

There's also a wide range of birds, including the endangered speckled warbler.

Sandstone outcrops offer sweeping scenic views of the Upper Hunter and a lack of defined tracks in the park's mountainous terrain allow hikers the freedom to independently explore. After a vigorous walk you can always cool off in the Washpools water hole - a natural swimming spot.

Look out for the Caligula skink, which is only found here in the Liverpool Ranges and in the Barrington Tops.

 Camping opportunities don't come any more spectacular than the Goulburn River National Park.

The Park stretches along 90km of the river, and its wide, sandy banks and forest landscape offer easy walking and good swimming - particularly in summer - as well as some amazing bird watching.

When you're not bird watching, keep an eye out for eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies and wombats, which are also common in this area.

Wollemi National Park is NSW's largest wilderness area covering 492,220ha. A spectacular maze of deep canyons, rocky cliffs and undisturbed forest.

Wildlife abounds in this national park with a rich variety of diverse species including eastern grey kangaroos, brush tailed wallabies, wombats, echidnas, gliders, geckos, wedge-tailed eagles and a variety of snakes including the rare broad-headed snake. 

Other highlights include Burning Mountain in Wingen, Giant's Leap in Sandy Hollow and the Drip Gorge near Merriwa.

Published in Attractions
Monday, 19 September 2016 00:00

Come on up this October Long Weekend!

Only a short 90 minute drive from Newcastle CBD, the Upper Hunter Valley offers visitors a true country experience this October Long Weekend.

Most of the Upper Hunter’s generous 8000 square kilometres is devoted to national parks and nature reserves and rural uses like grazing, cropping, dairy farming, and horse studs.

Before you even leave the highway you will see cows, sheep and goats grazing and horses galloping in the fields.

Experience some of the most diverse environments in Australia from western grasslands to Alpine forests, subtropical zones and a wide variety of national parks and wilderness where you can truly ‘get lost’.

If you are after a weekend break to escape the hustle and bustle of city life but don’t want to venture too far then the Upper Hunter is the ideal location.

The Upper Hunter boasts one of the best fishing spots in NSW at Lake Glenbawn. There’s also space for water sports from swimming to water skiing, some great picnic spots and a range of accommodation options in Lake Glenbawn State Park.

Up in the Barrington Tops you can really escape with no mobile reception – guaranteeing you can switch off from the office for the weekend!

If wilderness isn’t your thing then you can go on a horse stud tour, enjoy a long lunch or a cheese platter for two at one of our wineries or visit some of our many art galleries the region has to offer.

While you're here why not check out one or more of the many events taking place over the long weekend such as;

  • Murrurundi Photography Art Prize 2016
  • Oktoberfest Scone at Airlie House Motor Inn
  • Merriwa Campdraft
  • Denman Farmers and Artisans Market
  • The Anglo American Glenbawn Fishing Classic
  • The Coolmore Denman Cup at Muswellbrook Race Club

Check out our events page for more details.

Whether you are travelling to somewhere else or looking for a short break, the region offers an enticing variety of activities for this October Long Weekend.

Unlock the secrets of the Upper Hunter through our website and sign up for our fortnightly newsletter ‘What’s up!” that lists all the events, sports and cultural activities held throughout the year.

Published in Attractions

Visit Devil Ark for a Devils in the wild tour!

The tour is fully escorted and runs for 2.5 hours and starts off with a tour of the Devil Centre and the informational displays. The tour will then take on same devil enrichment; a special form of feeding which encourages wild behaviour, interaction with joeys born at Devil Ark earlier on in the year and a rare chance to become immersed in the devil's natural habitat by entering huge free range enclosures to witness wild devils in truly wild conditions.

Devil Ark is a 2 hour drive from Scone, 4 hours from Newcastle and 6 hours from Sydney. There is plenty of accommodation options in Scone and surrounding towns for you to spend a night or two.

Tour costs are $150 for adults and $100 for children (8-15 years). Tours are capped at 12 people.

Tour Dates:

Saturday 1 August 2015 10am

Saturday 5 September 2015 10am

Saturday 3 October 2015 10am

Saturday 7 November 2015 10am

Saturday 5 December 2015 10am

Saturday 2 January 2016 10am

Saturday 5 March 2016 10am

Saturday 2 April 2016 10am

Saturday 7 May 2016 10am

Saturday 11 June 2016 10am

 

Visit the Devil Ark wwebsite for more details and booking: http://www.devilark.com.au/tours

Published in Attractions
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:00

Devil Ark Tours

Tours of Devil Ark are now available and run from September - May each year.  Devil Ark is two hours drive from Scone, four hours from Newcastle and six hours from Sydney.

The tour is fully escorted and runs for 2.5 hours and start with a tour of the Centre and the informational displays.  The tour will then take in some devil enrichment; a special form of feeding which encourages wild behaviour, interaction with joeys born at Devil Ark earlier this year and a rare chance to become immersed in the devil’s natural habitat by entering huge free range enclosures to witness wild devils in truly wild conditions. The tour ends back at the Devil Ark Centre where there’s the opportunity for Q&A with a Tassie devil expert. 

Tour groups are met in Moonan Flat at 9am on the day of the tour.  Follow the Devil Ark Supervisor up in your own car for a 10am tour start.  After the tour (12.30pm) the Devil Ark Supervisor will escort the group back to Moonan Flat.  Stop for a delicious lunch at the Victoria Hotel. 

There are loads of accommodation options in Scone, Muswellbrook, Aberdeen and Moonan Flat. 

Tour costs are $150 for adults and $100 for children (8-15).  Tours are capped at 12 people.  Please note that the road is dirt from Moonan Flat to Devil Ark and quite steep in places.  Once you have booked, you will receive an information kit with driving directions and advice on what to bring. 

Click here for dates and to book.

For more information on Devil Ark visit: http://www.devilark.com.au

 

Published in Attractions