The final episode of Ray’s new series Australian Wilderness was broadcast at 8:00PM on Friday 1st December on ITV1. To watch again, please click here.
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.
He starts out his journey by canoe and meets Gary Muir, a local guide and conservationist. Ray learns from Gary that the river was once used by loggers to transport jarrah wood, which is so hard it was used as cobbles for London streets in Victorian times.
Ray strikes away from the river to look for giant tingle trees, and meets some well-camouflaged geckos along the way. Some tingles can be 24 metres in girth, and they grow alongside karri trees, which are some of the world’s tallest!
In the forest, Ray lies in wait for the elusive quokka, a small and very shy marsupial. He’s in luck as one comes right up to his hide. Ray meets up with environmentalist, Prue Anderson, who shows him some of the other forest creatures that she’s captured on her hidden camera. He finds out about brush-tailed possums, bandicoots and the danger from feral cats, whose ancestors were introduced to Australia by the early settlers. Back on the trail, and deeper in the forest, Ray meets aboriginal tribesman Joey Williams, who shows him some of the uses of forest plants, and teaches him how to make a hunting spear from the spear wood bush.
Ray learns from Joey that aboriginal culture is the oldest in the world – and is still alive today. Leaving Joey, Ray climbs Mount Frankland, and looks out over the vast forest wilderness and the river where his adventure started.
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