Press Centre

Wild Australia with Ray Mears

  • Episode: 

    5 of 6

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Mon 30 May 2016
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 8.30pm
  • Week: 

    Week 22 2016 : Sat 28 May - Fri 03 Jun
  • Channel: 

    ITV
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 24 May.
 
In Wild Australia, Ray Mears delves into the spectacularly diverse Australian landscape to look at some of the weird and wonderful life forms that are able to live and survive in the land Down Under.
 
From the expansive waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the vast wilderness of Arnhem Land, to the teeming Cooper Creek billabongs and the ancient heartland of the rainforest, each episode sees Mears explore the dramatic physical geography of the region, the extreme weather conditions that occur there and the wildlife species that have adapted to survive in those environments. 
 
Mears encounters rare and extraordinary creatures, such as the prehistoric cassowary bird, the weedy sea dragon, and the tree kangaroo, as well as witnessing a three-month-old humpback whale calf learning to swim in preparation for the long migration to Antarctica. Ray even ventures deep underwater himself as he gets up close with some giant manta rays and green sea turtles.
 
Travelling among the dense eucalyptus forests of the Bush, the scarlet sands of the Red Desert and the dramatic shoreline of the southern coast, Mears meets with local wildlife experts and guides, witnesses the ancient tradition of farming with fire, makes his way through a giant flock of magpie geese as he traverses some dried up mudflats, discovers a gallery of ancient aboriginal art and comes face-to-face with a giant saltwater crocodile.
 
Ray says: “I love Australia, it’s one of my favourite places. Sometimes it just feels amazing to be alive in a wild place like this.”
 
In episode five, Ray heads along the Great Ocean Road, which runs along the Antarctic-facing coast of Australia, the longest South-facing coastline in the world.
 
Starting his journey in Port Phillip Bay, Ray takes to the waters in the hope of spotting a creature he has only ever seen in photographs: the weedy sea-dragon.
 
It’s not long before Ray gets lucky and he says: “Amazing, that is an incredible creature. It just looks like a piece of dead seaweed until you get close and then you see these little beating fins, it’s fantastic. But it’s very well camouflaged.”  
 
As Ray braves the cold waters for a second glimpse, he is taken by surprise as another unique species of marine life appears out of nowhere: the burrunan dolphin.
 
With only 150 burrunan dolphins estimated to exist in the world, two are swimming by Ray’s side. He says: “That has to be one of the most amazing experiences on earth, to be that close to wild dolphins. I’m lost for words to be honest with you. It’s really a magical experience.”
 
Ray then visits a penguin colony on Middle Island, nicknamed the ‘penguin superhighway’ by the locals, where guard dogs protect the penguins from foxes, and he then takes to the seas to discover the creatures of the deep waters.
 
There, Ray witnesses albatross, balls of krill and a pod of fast-moving common dolphins - athletes built for the open ocean which are like bullets in the water.
 
Ray says: “These creatures are perfectly adapted for the harsh conditions of the open ocean. Now you see them…now you don’t. Amazing, they come and then they’re gone.”
 
Back on the road again, and Ray reaches the dramatic rocky outcrop of Cape Bridgewater, and it’s the caverns there that are the chosen home of the last of the rare marine creatures Ray is there to see: Australian fur seals.
 
The Australian fur seals are the largest of all fur seals, famous for their big eyes and pointed snouts, and their streamline shape and strong flippers make them skilful hunters. They may move like slugs on land, but underwater they are action heroes.
 
With his time in this particular part of Australia at an end, Ray says: “It is the most astonishing continent. The people, the wildlife, the nature itself is still raw and untamed. It’s a land of great power and incredible opportunity.”