A bush idyll
Australians have had an uneasy relationship with their natural bush environment.
From the first days of white settlement a devastating program of land clearing and inappropriate farming techniques imported from Europe has wreaked havoc on the environment.
The clearing of open forest and grasslands to make way for hard hoofed grazing animals has caused irreparable damage across huge tracts of ancient land, erosion and rising salt levels killing land that had sustained a diverse and unique environment that survived successfully for millions of years.
Thankfully a small number of visionary activists and politicians saw the need to act and to help save some of the remaining virgin bushlands.
As early as 1879 when a 15,000 hectare area south of Sydney was formally proclaimed the National Park and became the backyard playground of Sydney, Australians have begun to reclaim what they can of the native bush.
With the help of forward thinking government officials, volunteers and not for profit organisations Sydney now boasts some of the finest bushwalking tracks and national parks in the world, from the Great North Walk , a 250 kilometre trek between Sydney and the northern neighbour Newcastle, to smaller and more accessible inner harbour walks the love affair has blossomed.